Friends of Hakalau Forest
National Wildlife Refuge
Spring 2020 Newsletter
Presidents' Perch Spring 2020

J.B. Friday

President, Friends of Hakalau Forest National Wildlife Refuge
In This Issue



Research in the Refuge

Stories from the early history of the Refuge

Opportunity for members and volunteers

Malaria, as the name implies, was once thought to be caused by bad air. Which really is half-true, although we now know that the air is bad because it brings mosquitoes that carry the disease both to birds and to people. Here in Hawai‘i, as the climate warms, warm air carrying mosquitoes wafts further and further up the mountains. Soon O'ahu and Kaua'i will not have any mosquito-free forests and even Hakalau is threatened.

Earlier this month the Hakalau Forest National Wildlife Refuge hosted a two-day workshop on managing land in the face of climate change. Recognizing that the birds don't recognize ownership boundaries, the Refuge invited neighboring land management agencies such as the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands, the Division of Forestry and Wildlife, and the Maunakea Watershed Alliance. Participants brainstormed about how to manage lands that are expected to become warmer and drier. We debated where we could resist change by intensifying current management techniques with the goal of keeping the forest we know, versus where we might have to guide the ecosystem to a new state more adapted to future climate conditions.

One idea that I thought had a lot of promise was to start working to bring the māmane forest down slope. For years Hakalau has worked to bring the koa-'ōhi'a forest up slope from the forested areas through the pastures, and today plantings reach the upper boundary of the Refuge. Above the Refuge the land gets both colder and drier, limiting where koa can be planted. However, māmane does well in these montane climates and also provides habitat and a food source for native birds such as the 'i'iwi. Creating a linked habitats for birds from the koa-ohia forest to the upper slopes of the mountain will require coordination across agencies, each of which has their own agenda, but during the workshop I heard commitment to working together towards shared goals. Coming environmental changes are not going to be pretty but by working together we can protect and preserve what we value. 
Refuge Manager’s update – Fall 2019

Tom Cady

Big Island National Wildlife Refuge Complex Manager

Aloha Friends of Hakalau Forest
This quarter’s report focuses on personnel and administration. Steve Kendall and I have spent the last two months largely focused on recruiting staff and attending workshops. The former will bring some much needed additional ‘hands’ to the refuge. The latter will hopefully play into the development of several new management strategies and research projects to support management objectives.

The following is a list of new or upcoming recruits to our staff group and their work focus:
Sammie Buechner , UH Cooperative Agreement technician, will focus on conducting ROD surveys. She started her one year term with the refuge in January
Macela Rodriguez , KUPU intern, will focus on bird survey data entry and working on a variety of other refuge projects. Marcela started her 10 month term in February
  Donna Ball, Deputy Manager, will start with the refuge on March 16. She will work on everything under the sun.
  Ken Vanspronsen, temporary Pest Control Worker, will be working with our Pest Control Crew on maintaining fences and removing pigs. He will start his six month term on April 13.
  Leah Messer, term Visitor Services Manager, will be working on volunteer coordination, special use permitting, and outreach and education projects. She will start her one year term on April 13.
Pete Sepulveda , temporary Maintenance Worker, will be working closely with Bruce on mostly facility and equipment maintenance issues. Pete will start his six month term with the refuge in early May
The workshops and planning exercises will help the refuge better focus its limited resources to meet the most critical needs. The following bullets will briefly summarize the intent of these exercises and the role they play in refuge management.

·          Hakalau Forest NWR Inventory and Monitoring Plan – The ‘IMP’ focuses on the refuge’s biology program and provides a means to compare all of the different biological surveys we do and rank them in a priority order. This exercise is now complete, and following table lists the refuge’s surveys in priority order.
         Enhanced Research Collaboration – The refuge has been working with research colleagues at USGS to identify key informational needs associated with refuge resources and issues facing those resources to help better align management practices to meet resource objectives. Outcomes and products will align with items identified in the IMP. Some examples of products we are working towards include: development of a rapid assessment protocol and abatement plan to deal with further advance of avian malaria; refined out planting strategies to enhance reforestation; and predicting invasive plant distribution to enhance control approaches.

·         Feral Ungulate Management Plan (Revisited) – The refuge is working with Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) to reevaluate our feral ungulate (i.e., pigs) management program. We have asked APHIS to look at what we’ve done in the past and what we are doing now, in terms of pig eradication, and the methods we use to assess our effectiveness, and tell us if we are doing things in the best way possible to meet our intent. This project is just getting started and will have a target completion date of May 2021.

·         Invasive Plant Management Plan – The refuge completed an invasive plant prioritization workshop in February, whereby we worked with numerous refuge partners to identify and rank the most problematic invasive plants that threaten refuge resources. Many of these plants are already present on the refuge, but some pose a threat due to their aggressive nature but not yet found on the refuge. We hope to embark on a process in the coming months to identify the most detrimental of these plants and develop a strategy to either eradicate them from the refuge, slow their advance to a manageable level, and/or prepare for a possible infestation.

·         Climate Change Adaptation Plan – Refuge staff, in conjunction with local partners, are participating in the final phases of a collaborative workshop designed to identifiy predicted climate effects to Hakalau resources and provide suggestions of how to manage for those predicted effects. The results of these discussions will hopefully help refuge management better prepare for anticipated impacts.

·         Reforestation Strategy – The refuge has been extremely successful in reestablishing forest cover to former pasture lands, as well as, propagating common and endangered native understory plants to enhance Hakalau forest diversity. Because of limited resources, the refuge needs to be sure its approaches to reforestation and forest enhancement are well focused. This planning and analysis exercise will work with local research collaborators to assess how successful our efforts have been so far, and help determine how the refuge will continue to implement these measures into the future.

In other news… Everything is well at the refuge, and we are beginning to ‘ramp up’ on a number of large projects we anticipate starting later this year and continue through next year. I hope to have more updates on these efforts in future newsletters.

Research in the Refuge

Constraints to Restoring Diverse Forest Ecosystems at Hakalau

Stephanie Yelenik, Eli Rose, Eben Paxton, Evan Rehm, Carla DʻAntonio

US Geological Survey

In an effort to restore forest on over 2,000 ha of degraded non-native pasture, Hakalau Forest National Wildlife Refuge planted over 390,000 Acacia koa (koa herafter) trees between 1985 and 1988. Koa were planted in corridors going from intact forest, mauka into what was then non-native pasture grasses and some remnant trees. Since that time, koa trees have grown, canopies have closed, and suckering koa can be seen at the edges of the koa corridors. Looking at photographs between time periods, the growth is impressive.
The initial goal was to shade out non-native grasses and draw in birds that would bring seeds of other species of native plants that could grow in the understory of the koa corridors. It was hoped that the initial koa plantings would jumpstart forest recovery in the former pasture lands, providing additional habitat to Hakalau’s native forest birds.
However, 30 years later, many areas of the planted koa understory has a vibrant sea of non-native kikuyu grass as opposed to native trees and shrubs. On the other hand, under remnant ʻōhiʻa there is often a “halo” of native understory that has recruited and grown under the solitary tree. Presumably, this is from birds perching in the ʻōhiʻa canopy and depositing seeds of native understory species. So we started wondering: what is the hold up with recruitment under koa? Are fruit-eating birds not making use of koa corridors? Maybe the seed are arriving under koa, but there is too much grass? Understanding the most important constraints to native forest succession can help refuge staff decide the next steps to take to achieve their management goal of restoring forests at Hakalau. We (a group of researchers from US Geological Survey and University of California Santa Barbara) set out to answer these questions.
We first sampled plant communities underneath koa and ʻōhiʻa trees throughout the restoration areas at Hakalau. We found that native understory will sometimes come in under ʻōhiʻa trees that are otherwise surrounded by non-native grasses. This seemed more likely at lower elevation areas that were closer to Hakalauʻs intact forest. Koa trees on the other hand, did not show recruitment of native trees and shrubs underneath, just grass. We also sampled soils and grasses beneath both koa and ʻōhiʻa. We found that soil under koa is high in nitrogen, which is not that surprising because koa is a nitrogen-fixing species, meaning that it has symbiotic bacteria on its roots that can take atmospheric N 3 and convert it to forms of nitrogen that plants can take up. In addition, more light made its way through the koa canopy than ʻōhiʻa canopy. Grasses were also thicker under the koa, potentially because of the extra nitrogen in koa soil as compared to ʻōhiʻa soil, and extra light reaching the forest floor. Taken together, the data suggest that grasses grow extra dense under koa trees due to nutrient rich soils and high light conditions, and appear to inhibit successful seed germination, even if seeds do arrive.

We also noticed that most native trees and shrubs seem to recruit on mossy surfaces, whether on nurse logs or horizontal surfaces of tree branches and buttressed roots. We then surveyed koa and ʻōhiʻa trees for their bryophyte communities (a group that includes mosses, lichens, and liverworts) and native seedlings close to the tree (within 5 meters). We found that in general, bryophytes were less abundant in restored forests than in intact forest, and there was greater diversity of bryophytes, which covered greater surface area under ʻōhiʻa than under koa. In addition, seedlings strongly associated with bryophytes, meaning that they preferred these substrates to either grass or soil. This suggests that a lack of mossy substrates is further hindering the recruitment of native understory in koa corridors. 
We then used refuge-wide bird surveys conducted annually between 1987 and 2012 to ask whether forest birds had moved back into the former-pasture koa tree corridors. It turns out that many bird species were using these restoration areas; in particular, native ʻApapane, Iʻiwi, Hawaiʻi ʻElepaio and Hawaiʻi Amakihi had greatly increased their density in the koa corridors over the 30 years since planting. In terms of fruit dispersing birds, the native ʻOmaʻo and non-native Japanese White-eye and Red-billed Leiothrix occupied the koa corridors to differing degrees. Japanese White-eyes were early colonizers of the koa forest and occur at 12 to 45 times the densities of the other two species. In addition, according to diet studies, Japanese White-eyes have about half the number of seeds in their fecal material (yes, we mean poop) as the other species, probably because they are generalists that eat fruit and insects, rather than mostly fruit like the Omaʻo. So what does this mean for seed dispersal of native trees and shrubs?
To answer this, we set up aerial seed rain traps that were above the understory so that fruit would not accidentally fall in, and all of our seeds would be from birds. We collected the seedrain every two weeks for a year and discovered that, yes, birds were depositing seeds of native species in koa corridors. In fact, there was no difference in the amount of bird-deposited seedrain between koa and ʻōhiʻa, although seedrain was greater closer to intact forest. We noted that seeds of spring and summer fruiting species such as ʻōhelo and akala were only found during those months, where as pukeawe and ʻōlapa were found all year long, indicating a year-round food source for birds. 
Finally, we set up experiments where we removed grasses from, and/or added seeds to, plots.In this way, we could ask 1. if the current amount of bird-deposited seedrain is enough for native plant recruitment if we remove grasses and 2. if birds deposited more seeds, would there be recruitment of native forest species? This experiment told us that, unfortunately, bird-deposited seedrain is not enough to lead to native understory recruiting where there is a dense understory of grass. Either more seed would have to be added, or grasses removed to achieve that management goal. 
Put together, our work suggests that while koa corridors have been successful for increasing forest bird habitat, and have increased bird-mediated seedrain in these restoration areas, densely growing non-native grasses are stalling forest succession. This is in part due to the nutrient rich soil and light conditions created by koa trees, a lack of bryophytes, and the fact that bird-mediated seedrain is not quite high enough to lead to other species recruiting. If a more diverse forest is desired, then grasses could be removed to allow bird-deposited seedrain to successfully recruit, or native trees and shrubs could be supplementally planted. As many people already know, the refuge runs volunteer trips to plant a diversity of species in the koa corridors. In addition, our research group is currently testing the one-time use of herbicides in koa corridors to see if we can speed up the forest succession process – stay tuned for results!
Stephanie was to give a public presentation of her work at Mokupapapa. Unfortunately Mokupapapa has had to close due to coronavirus concerns. We will try to reschedule it in the future.
Stories from the early history of the Refuge
2020 is the 35th anniversary of the founding of Hakalau Forest NWR. As a way to celebrate, I am collecting stories to print in the newsletter. This issue covers stories of ranching before Hakalau Forest NWR was formed from people connected to Hakalau and stories of the bird survey that led to Hakalau Forest NWR's creation. If you have any stories and/or photos to share please send them to so I can include them in the future issues.

Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō, Paniolo, Pa‘auilo and Pua ‘Ākala Cabin by Pauline Kawamata

What do all of these have in common? They all have connections to my dad, Hideo Imoto! In 2000, I coordinated my first service trip to Hakalau Forest and my parents, Hideo and Seiko Imoto, were part of my volunteer crew. Dad was a man of few words and not much of a talker. To my surprise, I discovered that he actually stayed at Pua ‘Ākala Cabin when he was a paniolo with Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō Ranch. Although he was born at Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō, he went to school down the mountain in Pa‘auilo, which he considered his hometown.

Working for W.H. Shipman, Dad drove cattle between Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō and Kūka‘iau (‘Umikoa) Ranch. He had the opportunity to stay in the Cabin during the cattle drives. His dad and two brothers also worked on the ranch. His youngest brother, Toshio, made ranching his lifelong career choice while dad joined the Air Force. It was so interesting hearing about his cattle ranching days and how he and his fellow paniolo had to locate, chase down and lasso stray pipi (cows). He had very fond memories of making “swipe” from potato peels and crafting his own lasso with cow hide. Dad also recalled how beautiful Pua ‘Ākala Cabin was because it was constructed from koa wood. Amazing!

Mahalo to Seiko Imoto for use of the photos.

Grandfather's Stories from Leland Jardine
My grandfather's name is Manuel Elizares, he was from Honokaa and his dad was Manuel SR who was the care taker of what is now called the Maulua unit of Hakalau Refuge back in the 50's and 60's. My grandpa used to tell me stories about Maulua and cattle ranching days all the time but especially about the wild boar hunting. He used to say that the pigs back in those days where big and scary. They had to tie the dogs up inside of the saddle house at Maulua cabin because the boars would come around at night and beat up the dogs when they were tied up outside on chains.

He was very passionate about the beauty of the mountain and rain forests. He was a state champion cross country runner for Honokaa school and he says it was s because of his training regiment up at Maulua. After working on the mountain and hunting for sometimes weeks at a time his dad would make him run from Maulua all the way to their home in Kalopa mauka while following my grandpa from behind with his truck. My grandpa was given the nickname horse because he could keep up with the fellow paniolos on horse back by walking and he could carry a lot of weight on his back.

His knowledge of the landscape was unreal. In 2012 he asked me about the Nauhi cabin on the refuge and asked how was it doing, if it was still there. I told him yes it's still there. He went on about all the pigs he hunted down there and told me that there was watercress in the gulch next to the cabin. I knew about the gulch he was talking about and told him it's very steep and deep with no way to get down inside. He told me i had to walk up the road a ways and look for an apple tree, walk to the gulch there and there's a trail that i can walk down into the gulch. He hadn't been there in probably over 40 years so I didn't take it too seriously. Then one day I decided what the heck, I'll go look. I went to the cabin, walked up a ways and saw an apple tree, i walked to the gulch edge and i could see a little cut back trail leading to the bottom that was a little over grown but makeable. I was thinking to myself no ways this is true but when i reached the bottom of the gulch to my surprise the gulch was flooded with watercress! There was loads of it in the river bed and going up the walls of the gulch. I picked a trash bag full and took it home and told him about it and he just laughed and said "I told you so". 

My grandfather would tell me stories of his ranching and hunting days along with his cross country stories and some of it was hard to believe (like any grandparents' stories). But I would meet old timers and when they found out that Manuel Elizares was my grandpa, they would tell me the same stories!! So I thought, well, they must be true. 

One day while i was working up at Hakalau i saw an old man picking akala berries just inside of our Maulua gate. I confronted him nicely and started talking story, he told me his name was Ed Soares and he used to stay up here at the Maulua cabin with the paniolos and the care taker Manuel Elizares. When i told him that Manuel was my Grandfather he freaked out !! He couldn't believe it!! He then started telling me all these stories about my grandpa and it was pretty much the same crazy stories my grandpa told me himself that I had had a hard time believing. Ed even talked about my Grandpa running in front of the truck all the way home to Kalopa!! He also called him horse, so right there in my mind I thought, damn, my grandpa wasn't just making this stuff up!

I looked forward to listening to all my grandpa's stories about the old days and the hunting up at Hakalau, the knowledge and passion he had was amazing and part of the reason why I wanted to start my own career at Hakalau. I dedicated the past 11 years of my life living on the Refuge Monday through Thursday every week, not just because it's a job, but because I have family history there. I have come to love this place with the same passion that my grandfather had, and the longer I live on the Refuge the more I have come to appreciate its beauty and resources.

My grandpa passed away in August of 2016 along with his stories, but I will forever hold them dear to me and pass them down to my kids. Some cool late afternoons after work I would go walking on the refuge and sit on hill in the middle of nowhere and watch the sunset behind Maunakea in the silent shadow of the mountain with no noise but the wind through the trees and the calls of birds passing by. I like to think that this is where i communicate not just with my Grandpa but my other family members that passed away and I know they're with me as i walk through these forests.

Hakalau is truly a magical place and it might change your life. I know it did for me and I want to keep working here for as long as I can and keep that same passion that my Grandpa had for this place. 

The Hawaii Forest Bird Survey by Mike Scott, with stories from Carter Atkinson and Tim Burr
In the fall of 1974 a group of biologists began discussions about what information was needed to do a better job of protecting endangered forest birds in Hawaii. Those biologists were John Sincock and myself, Mike Scott, both of us research biologists with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Endangered Species Research Program and Gene Kridler, the first Fish and Wildlife Service biologist assigned to Hawaii. The information we sought was basic. We didn’t know if many of the native forest bird species still existed, how many there were, or where they might be found. We didn’t know their preferred habitats or their conservation status. The three of us designed a statewide survey of forest bird habitat to fill the gaps in our knowledge and obtain estimates of population sizes for all forest birds occupying native forests.  We later collaborated with folks at Hawaii Department of Fish and Game (known now as Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources) and Hawaii Volcanoes National Park in the implementation of the survey.

We knew it would not be easy. Permission from dozens of landowners/managers, public and private, to survey their lands for endangered species would be needed. We would need to train observers in methods and accurate identification of the birds. The terrain was steep with many gullies, lava, dense vegetation, and often intense rains. Funding was always a challenge. But we were able to overcome all of these issues. 
To test the possibility of obtaining a range wide estimate of a species population size in a brief period of time we assembled an interagency team to survey the entire range of the Palila in the dry upland mamane/naio forest on Mauna Kea. We completed the Palila survey in two weeks partly because Palila habitat did not have a dense canopy or understory. It was time to see if we could do the same for a large area of mesic /wet ohia /koa forest elsewhere on the Big Island of Hawaii. 
Because of its ecological isolation, intact forest lands and largely unknown plants and animals we chose the Ka’u Forest on the Island of Hawai`i to launch the beginning of the Hawaii Forest Bird Survey in the spring and summer of 1976. The area was small enough that it could be sampled in a single season by a small group of highly trained individuals. Leaders of that first field season were John Sincock from Kauai and Mike Scott from the Big Island, with administrative backing by Gene Kridler and his staff of three. Mike and John were joined by seven highly trained birders. We completed the survey that summer sampling birds and plants over 93 kilometers of transects and completed the Ka`u survey in one season.  
One year later in 1977, using the sampling design and methods employed in Kau, we surveyed in the koa/ohia forests above the Hamakua coast. . We counted birds during 5598 eight minute count periods in the forests of Hamakua. The results of the surveys in forested areas of Hamakua revealed large numbers of native birds including Apapane, Hawaii Amakihi and I’iwi as well as the endangered Hawaii Akepa, Hawaii Creeper and Akiapola’au. Most importantly the numbers and diversity of the endangered forest birds was higher there than in other areas around the island.
Following completion of the Hawaii Forest Bird Surveys on the big Island in 1979, researchers started island wide analysis of the information generated from the thousands of eight minute count periods conducted. On Hawaii Island there were five areas that stood out as having greatest numbers of endangered forest birds and numbers of species -  Ka’u Forest Reserve, Kilauea Forest Reserve and adjacent areas, two areas on the Kona side and on the eastern or Hamakua side the area now known as Hakalau Forest National Wildlife Refuge known by native Hawaiians as the “place of many perches”.  None of these areas were managed to conserve native species. This and similar information from all the major islands was shared with State conservation planners and decision makers. (The rest of the story of how Hakalau Forest NWR was established will be in the summer newsletter).
The vegetation traversed by members of the Forest Bird Survey team were extremely challenging to traverse with often heavy rains, and steep terrain  Three incidents suggest just how tough and dangerous it could be.
Carter Atkinson's story
On June 11, 1977 Carter Atkinson, Toni Casey and Avery Taylor were laying transect 20, the southernmost transect in the refuge. With nearly four miles of transect behind them they encountered some steep slopes leading into what Carter now calls “a sea of uluhe ferns.” Cutting through thick underbrush with a machete on slippery, uneven terrain while carrying all the food and equipment needed for up to two weeks of field work was quite a challenge as Carter remembers. In many locations, the uluhe was so dense that the machetes used to mark the line of the transect and make them wide enough to pass through with a pack often bounced back towards an individual. In places, the vegetation was so thick that they were walking on thick mats of ferns suspended on fallen tree trunks up to 6 – 10 ft. above the ground. More than once folks dropped, with their machetes, through the matted ferns to land among a tangle of fallen trees. Under those circumstances Carter was point man on the crew, climbing down a steep, slippery slope into a tangle of vegetation when he inadvertently slid his hand along the cutting edge of his machete as he jabbed it into the ground to maintain his balance. The cut was deep and the bleeding profuse as Toni, Avery and Carter struggled to field dress the wound as best they could. Fortunately, the accident happened at around 11:00 AM, shortly before the noon radio check and the team was able to let their outside contact know that Carter needed immediate medical help. A rescue helicopter was dispatched to their remote location. While they were waiting, Avery climbed as high as he could in an adjacent ohia tree to fix their rain tarp in the canopy so that the helicopter could spot them better in the dense vegetation. Within a couple of hours of the accident, Carter and the others could hear the chopper coming up the mountain, but low clouds and fog prevented it from reaching their elevation. As it turned and headed down the mountain, they realized that they were on their own. When they were not able to contact the outside at the 5 PM radio check, they decided to make camp for the night before trying to head back up the transect the following day.

Unbeknownst to the transect crew, a team of four medics from the County of Hawaii Rescue Squad was dispatched to their location. This required a 2-3 hour drive from Hilo, much of it on rough 4 wheel drive roads along the upper part of the refuge. It was dusk before they reached the beginning of the transect. They began the long 4 mile walk down the mountain in the dark, searching for flagging, not knowing if Carter was slowing bleeding to death or whether they were going to have to carry him out on a stretcher. Shortly before midnight, Carter, Avery and Toni were awakened by bright lights and loud thrashing in the vegetation as the medical crew arrived at their campsite. In retrospect, this was a remarkable feat itself, considering the terrain, darkness, and limited flagging that was never intended to be visible in the dark. After the rescue team cleaned and rebandaging the wound, finally controlling the intermittent bleeding that had been going on throughout the day, everyone bivouacked for the remainder of the night with the plan to try to arrange for an airlift out of the forest early in the morning.
At dawn, everyone quickly broke camp and headed up the mountain to try to find a location that was open enough to be accessible to a long line and basket from a helicopter. By this time it was clear that Carter’s condition was not critical and that he could walk, but the plan was to try to get him to a hospital as soon as possible and to also airlift out all of the heavy packs and supplies to make the long hike out easier for everyone. About 8:30 AM, the group found a reasonably good spot where the forest was not as dense. The rescue team was able to guide the helicopter to the location by radio and preparations were made to send a sling through the trees for Carter, but the aircraft could not hold a steady hover position. After 20 minutes of circling and repeated attempts, the helicopter rescue was abandoned – it was deemed too unsafe to even haul the equipment out.

There were plenty of long faces as everyone made preparations to hike out – all of the full IV bags that had been carried in were cut open and drained to save on weight – and the long hike up the mountain began. The group made it to the top of the transect by mid-afternoon and Carter remembers their last rest stop before reaching the vehicles because a paniolo or Hawaiian cowboy rode up on a horse, revolver tucked in his belt, and asked if he would like a ride the rest of the way. He decided that he wanted to finish the last stretch on his own, but regrets to this day that he didn’t take him up on the offer.
Later that same month and six miles to the north Toni Casey and Cam Kepler were surveying transect 17, the northernmost transect of the Hawaiian Forest Bird Survey that intersected what was to become Hakalau Refuge, for birds and Cam Kepler had to leave to attend a scientific meeting in Madison Wisconsin. Tim Burr, a biologist with Department of Fish and Wildlife, who was to replace him was dropped off at the top of the transect in late afternoon. Tim remembers that day as a tense night in the upper forest of transect 17. 
Tim Burr's story
"On 11 August 1977, after some arm-twisting, Dr. J. Michael “Mike” Scott persuaded me to hike down Hawaii Forest Bird Transect 17 to replace Dr. Cameron “Cam” Kepler as he had to come out for a meeting. Since it was already mid-afternoon when we left the Volcano National Park offices, we didn’t get to the top of TR 17 until late afternoon with little daylight left. Mike waved “Aloha” as I headed down the transect trying as best as I could to follow the flagging in the failing light. It was almost dark when my search for a campsite ended and I began to organize for the evening in a light rain. The rain soon turned heavier as I tried to set up the tent and rain fly on a somewhat-less-than-ideal, sloping open spot. By the time I got the tent set up and the rain fly up, my tent had collected 3-4 inches at the lower end. 

Using a small towel I had brought along, I was finally able to get all the water out, get my sleeping bag in and spread out, ready to hop in. After a cold snack or two for dinner, I quickly shed my rain gear and pants and jumped into my sleeping bag, looking forward to some shut-eye. At some point later that night, I had fallen asleep only to be suddenly awakened by a loud “crack” and then a ground-shaking “thump” not far away at all. “A widow-maker” I thought! A nervous, nearly sleepless night followed as I tried not to think of falling branches crushing me in my tent.

By morning, the rain had passed leaving a sunny day ahead. I packed up early and headed down the transect with only a vague idea of where I might find Cam and Toni Casey. I eventually ran into them around station 22 and was glad to finally catch up to them.”
There are other stories of folks on transects. On one occasion a team emerged after dark with no one to greet them. They called the team leader's house. Mike was on transect, Sharon, took charge as she often did to make radio checks and pickups. It was late in the evening and she asked a neighbor to take care of our two young children while she drove to the cane fields on the Hamakua coast below Hakalau  Sharon located the birding team, picked them up and they all had breakfast/dinner at Ken's House of Pancakes in Hilo and then drove home up the mountain to Volcano. Arriving in time to get the kids ready for school.
We cannot fully describe the difficulties that folks overcame to do the arduous work needed to obtain the information needed to support biologically defensible proposals for establishing and managing protected areas for the endangered plants and forest birds in Hawaii.

Opportunities for members and volunteers

Hi Everyone,

Many of our stations and programs rely on Friends and volunteers to perform work that helps us meet our goals. In order to support and train these folks, we are pleased to announce the opportunity to participate in the FY20 Friends and Volunteer Training Waiver Program.

This waiver program enables Friends members, Friends employees, and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service volunteers to take, at no cost, either in-class or online training courses offered through the National Conservation Training Center (NCTC). A great way to enhance their skills!

Once enrolled in the waiver program, the following expenses are covered for the participant:
  • Course tuition is waived for online and in-class courses through NCTC
  • Lodging and meals cost is waived for in-class courses at NCTC
  • Travel expenses are reimbursed for in-class courses at NCTC or off-site NCTC courses

The  NCTC Course Guide  provides a diverse listing of courses. Upcoming and scheduled courses can viewed  here . There are many options to choose from - below is a brief sampling of courses that may be beneficial to Friends and Volunteers.
  • Designing a Long Term Phenology Monitoring Program for Management and Outreach 
  • River Morphology and Applications
  • Integrating Education Standards in Your Education and Outreach Programs
  • Pesticides and Fish and Wildlife Resources 
  • Recruit, Retain, Reactivate (R3) 
  • Connecting People with Nature Through Birds 
  • Wetland Plant Identification
  • Implementing a Successful Citizen Science Effort 
  • Interpretive Foundations

If you are interested in pursuing this opportunity, please contact me to discuss additional details about enrollment and to receive additional information (application procedure, completing a DOI Talent Account Request, travel information, and more). I have attached a "Participant Job Aid" to get you started.
Thank you,

Chelsea McKinney
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
   Patrick Hart
   Cathy Lowder

  Members at large    
Denise Antonlini
   Creighton Litton
   Eben Paxton
   Patricia Richardson
   George Robertson
   Don Romero
   Mike Scott  
Rob Shallenberger