Friends of Hakalau Forest National Wildlife Refuge

Fall 2022 Newsletter

Friends of Hakalau Forest NWR Sets Goal of $200,000 for

2022 Endowment Campaign!

Ku Kia‘i Manu * Ku Kia‘i La’au * Ku Kia‘i Hakalau

“Stand with the birds, stand with the forest, stand with Hakalau”

With your help, the Friends of Hakalau Forest NWR’s Endowment passed $800,000 at the end of 2021. Your gift NOW can help us reach this year’s goal of $200,000! We can ensure that our endangered birds have a future if we can build the resources to assist in the critical management that MUST be done to restore and maintain healthy habitat in the koa-'ōhi'a forests of Hakalau.  


The Friends of Hakalau Forest NWR is excited to announce a new fundraising campaign for our endowment fund. Our Board established the endowment fund in 2015 with an ultimate goal of raising $3.5 million. A stable and robust endowment, managed by the Hawai'i Community Foundation, is essential to provide a reliable source of funds for the foreseeable future to support the many necessary conservation activities on and around the Refuge. 

We are well on the way towards our goal! This new campaign, which launches in September, is aimed at pushing our fund past the $1 million mark. While ambitious, we all believe this is possible with the generous donations of our Friends membership and many other interested parties who see the value in building this fund. 

Habitat restoration work is expensive and laborious but must be continued until threats can be permanently eliminated. The many management needs, often occurring when least expected, have motivated us to provide a steady stream of funding to be able to be responsive when needed.  

We have identified four key projects to support once the endowment has reached a capacity to begin releasing funds to support vital work. 

  1. Feral pig control to reduce mosquito larval habitats thereby reducing the threat of avian malaria-bearing mosquitoes.  
  2. Forest restoration efforts in areas adjacent to and above the refuge to increase areas of high-quality forest bird habitat at higher, mosquito-free elevations. For these projects, we will work collaboratively with groups such as the Mauna Kea Watershed Alliance.
  3. Removal of all larval mosquito habitat identified by early warning detection system. Further development of the early warning system for malaria-carrying mosquitoes. 
  4. Control of rats, mongoose, and other predators to improve survival and increase reproduction of birds.

We have developed a new fund-raising brochure for this new campaign. This “pitch” will be posted on our website shortly and we also have hard copies to circulate. Please help spread the word and join us in working toward this vitally important component of the Friends efforts to support the conservation and restoration of Hakalau Forest. 

If you would like to donate, please click the DONATE button below

Donate Here

President's Perch Fall 2022

J.B. Friday

President, Friends of Hakalau Forest National Wildlife Refuge

In This Issue




Endowment Campaign

Walk for the Wild


Holoholo Challenge


Volunteer News

'Ōhi'a lehua

It is great to see volunteers back up on the Refuge after a long hiatus due to COVID and other problems. In July, a small group of Friends spent a day outplanting kawa‘u seedings under the shade of koa trees that had been planted about 15 years previously. A special treat was the discovery of a nest of ‘alawī in one of the outplanted koa with nestlings peeking over the edge. It was great to see how the endangered birds are using the restored forest.

In August, a larger crew brushed the nature trail from the nursery up to the front gate. The trail, a popular feature for volunteers working in the nursery, had become completely overgrown and was difficult to follow prior to the work day. Volunteers were rewarded with many sightings of ‘i‘iwi in the māmane flowers up by the front gate.

Many more people will be able to experience the Refuge on October 15th, when we are hosting the first annual Walk for the Wild, a 5 km (3.1 mile) organized walk from the Pua ‘Akala barn down to the quarry and back. Local natural history experts will be on hand to guide visitors and point out native birds, plants, and trees along the way. Visitors need to sign up on the Walk for the Wild website in order to participate: See the article below. 

Going forward, we plan to have four Friends trips each year and hope to have some two-day stays (the volunteer cabin looks great with a new wraparound porch). Hope to see many of you at the Refuge on October 15th. 

Friends Host Walk for the Wild on October 15th!

Celebrating National Wildlife Refuge Week

Join Friends of Hakalau Forest NWR’s 5K “Walk For The Wild” on October 15th.

After COVID essentially closed public access to Hakalau Forest National Wildlife Refuge, Friends of Hakalau Forest NWR is saying E Komo Mai back to the Refuge.

You may participate for FREE, by registering online using the link below. This Walk follows a 5K course through the Refuge’s Pua Akala track as part of a National celebration of our Nations 500+ Refuges.

We are betting that you have never been able to experience the wonders of Hakalau Forest like this! Friends have arranged for a dozen of the very best Hakalau Forest specialists, including two of the Refuge’s former biologists- Jack Jeffery and Steve Kendall, UH Hilo’s Biology honcho, Pat Hart, USFWS Jim Jacobi and Eben Paxton, DOFA’s Alex Wang and Bret Mossman, Malacologist Jamie Tanino, UH’s Forestry Extension specialist J.B. Friday and others, to be stationed along the route to share their unique Hakalau Forest mana’o with you.

USNWS’s Ric Lopez, Administrator of Pacific Islands Refuges and Monuments, and Tom Cady, Hakalau Forest’s own Refuge Manager, will be on hand to greet you and talk story.

Hawaiian Forest Natural History educational exhibits will be available to explore near the Walk start area.

Pua Akala’s gate at the Refuge will open at 9:00 am for registered participants. While the “Walk” officially ends at 2:00pm, you must be off the Refuge before its gate closes at 3:00pm.

See you all on October 15, 2022 to learn about and enjoy the wonders of Hakalau Forest NWR’s Pua Akala native rain forest!

Register for Walk for the Wild

Hawaiian Airlines Selects The Friends of Hakalau Forest NWR as its

2022 Holoholo Challenge Designation Charity!

Each time that you fly Hawaiian Airlines, check the name of your plane. Inter-Island, your plane will bear the name of a native Hawaiian bird, including the iconic sparkling red ’i‘iwi. On longer routes, the Hawaiian’s planes are named after our native plants.

At Hakalau Forest National Wildlife Refuge, 50% of the world’s ‘i‘iwi live, in harmony with the ‘akepa, ‘alawī, ‘elepio, ʻōmaʻo, and others for whom Hawaiian has named its planes.

Hakalau Forest’s unique habitat is also home to many of the plants for whom the longer run Hawaiian planes are named.

Simply put, Hakalau Forest is the only place where many of Hawai’i’s threatened and endangered bird populations appear to have stabilized- and some are even increasing- to say nothing about a couple of officially declared extinct species.

Aware of the synergies between it and the Hakalau Forest National Wildlife Refuge, Hawaiian Airlines has selected the Friends of Hakalau Forest NWR as its designated charity for its 2022 Holoholo Challenge. (See below for details on the Challenge and the Hawaiian Airlines Press release.)

And, if you use the HAKALAU20 promo code, you will receive 20% off the Holoholo registration fee—sort of like saying “The Friends of Hakalau sent me.” You will also have an opportunity to donate to the Friends of Hakalau Forest NWR as part of the Registration process. Mahalo if you do!

Let’s go holoholo!

October 1-31, 2022

The Hawaiian Airlines Holoholo Challenge launched in 2020 as an opportunity for friends to holoholo (go out) and stay connected. Inspired by the Hawaiian Islands, the virtual fitness challenge features courses that span the distance between some of our most treasured places. Now in its third year, the Holoholo Challenge celebrates the awe-inspiring landscapes of Hawaii for 2022. 


Event courses 

Saddle Road Run/Walk – 50 miles 

Set your speed for the length of Saddle Road, the high-elevation highway that stretches from Hilo to Waimea, passing between the Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa volcanoes.  

Hilo to Kaʻū to Kona Run/Walk – 125 miles  

Go the distance of Hawaii Belt Road’s stunning southern section, leaving the rainforests of Hilo for lava fields, reaching the southernmost point of the U.S. and sunny Kona Town. 

Hilo to Kaʻū to Kona Relay – 125 miles  

With a team of up to four people, take the scenic route around southern Hawaii Belt Road as a relay, each running or walking to combine your miles together. 

Upon registration, participants will have an opportunity to donate to Friends of Hakalau Forest National Wildlife Refuge. All participants will also receive a Hawaii Island race package with all new swag prizes. 

Registration period is Sept. 1-30, use promo code HAKALAU20 to receive 20% off registration. Learn more or register below.

Holoholo Challenge Site

Volunteer News

Friends led two volunteer day trips for members

On July 9, the Friends led the first volunteer trip since COVID. Seven of us planted kawa’u under koa planted by past volunteers. The big treat was seeing an 'alawī nest in a koa tree near where we were eating lunch.

On August 25, 17 of us (including 7 who flew in from O'ahu) weed whacked and cleared the nature trail near the volunteer cabin. We spotted nene, an ‘io, an 'amakihi and 3 ‘iwi’i dancing in the māmane blossoms.

Mahalo to Leah for assisting both projects!

'Ōhi'a Lehua

Marcia Stone

It is generally agreed that ‘ōhi’a lehua is the premier tree of the Hawaiian forest. Premier in its range of habitats and diversity of forms, and premier for its beauty and spiritual and cultural associations.

‘Ōhi’a lehua’s scientific name, Metrosideros polymorpha, tells the reason for its range and diversity. Polymorpha means “many forms.” The ability of ‘ōhi’a to shape-change allows it to live as a shrub on barren lava, as a huge tree in the rain forest and as an inches-high plant in a montane bog. Its bark can be shaggy or not; its leaves fuzzy or not; and its large beautiful flowers red, yellow, salmon, pink or orange. A friend recently pointed out a yellow ‘ōhi’a lehua, one of the lesser-seen colors in our area. If you would like to find it, it is hiding in plain sight, at the entrance to the Kīpukapuaulu Trail (aka Bird Park) in the National Park. It is on the left, just steps from the sign board. Good spotting, Lynne.

The world's most beautiful ‘ōhi’a lehua tree

photo John P. Hoover

Besides its high status in the Hawaiian plant community, ‘ōhi’a also enjoys a high place in the spiritual and cultural realm. Important uses include heiau images and leis for hulu dancers. And additionally, ‘ōhi’a is sacred to two goddesses, Pele and Laka.

As if this wasn’t enough, as a keystone species, ‘ōhi’a is of immense importance to the forest itself. ‘Ōhi’a filters rain for the understory and helps to hold moisture and soil, preventing runoff. As a pioneer plant on bare lava, it helps to establish the forest of the future. And in a mature rain forest, it serves as a food source and nesting site for honeycreepers and as a nursery for other plants, such as 'ōlapa, 'ōhelo, and pa’iniu. In short, if you want to scare a forester, an ornithologist, or a lover of Hawaiian culture, just mention a threat to this V.I.P. (very important plant).

To see a 1 minute youtube slideshow of the gorgeous 'ōhi'a, just click below:

'Ōhia slideshow

And to see a 10 minute youtube video by J.B. Friday of the varieties of o'hi'a, click below:

'Ōhi'a varieites

lf you haven't had enough, see The World's Most Beautiful 'Ohi'a Tree, by clicking below:

The world's most beautiful 'ōhi'a tree

The Friends of Hakalau is a membership organization. Membership dues and donations to the Friends are our only source of funds allowing us to cover our expenses (for example this newsletter) and to make grants.
Order new t-shirts by visiting our web store. 
Friends of Hakalau Forest logo t-shirts are available and orders can be mailed to you or to a gift recipient.
Remember to designate Friends of Hakalau Forest as your charity on Amazon Smile.
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Every Wednesday on HPR listen to Manu Minute created by Patrick Hart, member of the Friends since its inception and a board member for multiple terms. Click the button to hear the segments that have already been aired.
Friends of Hakalau Forest, National Wildlife Refuge is a 501 (C)(3) organization and is recognized as a tax exempt non-profit organization by the Federal government and the State of Hawaii. We appreciate and thank you for your membership and your donations.

   J.B. Friday
Vice President
   Debbie Anderson
   Bret Mossman
   Blaire Langston

Members at large
Charlene Akina
Ken Kupchak
Mike Scott  
Rob Shallenberger
Peter Stine
Marcia Stone 
Jaime Tanino
Gaylord Wilcox
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