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

J.B. Friday

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



Research News

Stories from the early history of the Refuge

        As I write this, demonstrations are going on around the country because of the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis on May 25th. A less horrifying but revealing episode also occurred last week in New York City when an overly-entitled white woman made a call to the police to falsely accuse a black man, Christian Cooper, of threatening her. Mr. Cooper happened to be birding, and part of the sub-context of the story was the assumption that black people don't bird so he must have been up to something. Black people do bird, though, and after the incident with Mr. Cooper a number of black birders got together to create #blackbirdersweek to promote diversity in outdoor exploration and science and show the country that black people (and other minorities) do indeed bird. Since then the hashtags #blackbirding and #blackinnature have been trending and Audubon featured an article about black birders week.

               In my 30 years in Hawaii I've seen the conservation field grow much more diverse. Conservation events that decades ago were mostly attended by mainland haoles have grown much bigger and more diverse; the under-40 crowd is mostly local. However, stories published by black Americans about how easily they are regarded with suspicion by the powers that be even while they are out doing something as innocent and harmless as birding are making me wonder if we've come as far as I thought we had. Surely appreciation of nature should be common to all people, no matter what race. Do we need to do more to make it clear to people who show up on expeditions or tours that they are welcome? Are we ever surprised when a black person turns up with a pair of binoculars around her neck and a bird guide in her hand? And if we are surprised, how does that make the person feel? We all have unconscious biases, but maybe the events of the past week can make us re-examine them. And check out some of the posts about #blackbirdersweek on Instagram. 
Refuge Manager’s update – Summer 2020

Tom Cady

Big Island National Wildlife Refuge Complex Manager

Aloha Friends of Hakalau Forest
I hope you are all doing well and staying safe through this unpleasant health crisis. Like many of you, half of our staff have been calling home the office for the last 10-plus weeks. Fortunately, we have been able to maintain a ‘normal’ presence at the refuge with the rest of our staff and keep up with at least some station operations. The unfortunate part has entailed exaggerated delays with bringing on new staff, cancelling volunteer service trips, and postponing several critical projects and contracts. We all look forward to resuming ‘normal’ operations when we finally see the health crisis subside and our State and Federal governments give us the green light to get back to a regular work regime.

It's almost funny, but I’m beginning to think I’m either bad luck or ‘someone’ is trying to tell me something. I say this tongue in cheek, of course, but since I arrived at Hakalau, first on detail in May 2018, I and the refuge have experienced a volcanic eruption, massive flooding from a hurricane, a government shutdown, a large-scale and prolonged protest, and now a global pandemic. Yet Hakalau and her staff persevere and find opportunities and successes despite some pretty significant setbacks. I am truly impressed and encouraged by our staff, volunteers, partners, and Friends for the passion and willingness of the individuals to help Hakalau and its resources weather through any adversity. Mahalo. I am so fortunate to find myself in such good company.

So, here’s some good news.

One upside of a more ‘confined’ work situation is it has afforded Donna, Steve and I some much needed time to think, meet, and plan out a number of ‘big needs’ for the refuge.

We prepared, with considerable help from our engineering and contracting staff in Portland, three very large infrastructure contracts, one each for facility, fence and road improvements. These contracts will go out to bid as soon as interisland quarantine orders are lifted so prospective off-island bidders can come to the island and conduct site inspections without worry of trip delays. We may see action on these contracts as early as this fall.

We are deep into a sophisticated and collaborative approach to develop a comprehensive invasive plant management strategy for the refuge. My hope is the outcome will provide an element of precision to how we select and attack the many invasive plants that are a constant and growing threat to our at-risk resources and to get the most out of our very limited funds. I am super excited about this effort mostly for the level of engagement we are experiencing from our staff, our partners and especially our regional biology staff who have been pivotal in taking the lead on and facilitating this effort. A huge mahalo to those folks. I will also add that new video conferencing improvements have really made a huge, positive difference in making this effort productive and even fun. Who knew?
In addition to the aforementioned efforts, staff are also making a few really positive improvements to our existing facilities, like installing indoor bathroom facilities to the BRD Cabin. We are doing some additional organizing, too. We are even getting some trees planted to help keep us connected with ‘what it’s all about’. Here’s a photo of our staff during a recent outplanting day at the refuge. Note PPE and social distancing! We really need to get our volunteer program back on track to help with some of these things!
One more kinda fun note. I’ve been keeping an eye on a small, informal, pilot project that entails rehabilitating two sites where we extracted rock for last year’s road improvement project. The first photo is a ‘Day 0’ and the second photo is a six months later comparison of how ‘Pit 4’ is getting along. Even though this is not a professional-grade study, I would classify current results as a huge and unexpected success. I am seeing at least 90% survival in the variety of plants that we got in the ground last October, not to mention the impressive growth rate exhibited by some of the individuals! I will be happy to show it off the next time you are able to get to the refuge. I look at it as possibly the next generation of refuge forest restoration. Sorry for the low quality photos. It really is something you need to see in person.
That’s about all for now. Stay well and stay safe.

Research News

Landscape-level Mosquito Suppression to Protect Hawai'i's Rapidly Vanishing Avifauna

Katherine McClure, PhD

 Vector-borne infectious diseases pose substantial threats to human health and the conservation of wildlife. Avian malaria in Hawai‘i provides an example of the devastation caused by the emergence and spread of such diseases within susceptible host populations.
In Hawai‘i, avian malaria is caused by Plasmodium relictum and is transmitted by the invasive southern house mosquito , Culex quinquefasciatus. While the negative consequences of avian malaria in most introduced host species are subtle and difficult to detect, avian malaria causes high rates of mortality in susceptible Hawaiian honeycreeper species 1. A substantial body of experimental, observational, and modeling work focused on avian malaria dynamics and infection pathology in Hawai‘i  1,2 suggests that avian malaria is the primary driver of species extinctions and population extirpations of native birds in Hawai‘i. The grim problem has been well defined and effective management solutions are desperately needed . Fortunately, the recent development of novel mosquito control technologies to suppress mosquito populations and reduce mosquito-borne disease transmission of human diseases like dengue and malaria may hold the key to solve Hawai‘i ’s avian conservation crisis.
The question of how to conserve native birds in the face of avian malaria has vexed wildlife biologists and conservationists in Hawai‘i for more than 80 years. Important earlier avian conservation efforts focused on acquiring and maintaining disease-free high-elevation native forests, including the establishment of Hakalau Forest National Wildlife Refuge, where cooler temperatures inhibit both mosquito and parasite growth 3,4 . Yet climate change will undoubtedly reduce these thermal refugia, further straining susceptible native bird communities as suitable forest bird habitat is lost to climate-driven disease spread 5–7. Given that avian malaria risk to birds is driven primarily by exposure to a mosquito that depends on water for its immature development, localized avian malaria management efforts have sensibly focused on methods to reduce anthropogenic- or pig-created mosquito larval habitats or kill larvae or adults.Although a mainstay of human vector-borne disease control, these traditional mosquito control methods are difficult to employ across wet, topographically complex landscapes, where larval habitats are cryptic and patchily distributed over space and time. (See link below from the Kauai Forest Bird Recovery Project).
Other suggestions for disease management and bird conservation include approaches to increase survival and reproduction in birds to offset malaria-induced mortality, by reducing predation, for example. However, given the high rates of disease-induced mortality in Hawai‘i ’s threatened and endangered avifauna and the predicted timeline for the invasion of mosquitoes into ever higher reaches of native bird habitat, these efforts alone are likely to be insufficient. Disease management measures need to break the cycle of avian malaria transmission to prevent the imminent extinction of as many as 13 Hawaiian honeycreeper species endangered by avian malaria across the state.
Currently, a consortium of federal and state biologists, university faculty and researchers, and partners at the American Bird Conservancy (ABC) are spearheading efforts to put novel vector control techniques to work for vulnerable native bird populations in Hawai‘i. Based on consensus advice emerging from a meeting of biologists and public health and novel vector control experts in Hawai‘i in 2016, the group is working collaboratively to advance an incompatible insect technique (IIT) approach to locally suppress populations of Cx. quinquefasciatus. The objective is to achieve landscape-level mosquito suppression in forested habitats where vulnerable threatened and endangered native birds face increased risk of infection due to mosquitoes and, in some cases, the risk of species extinction. IIT harnesses the biological properties of Wolbachia, a naturally-occurring, non-genetically modified, endosymbiotic bacteria that acts as a birth control method for mosquitoes. When Wolbachia-infected male mosquitoes mate with a female that is infected with a different, incompatible strain of Wolbachia, the resulting embryos are not viable. Colonies of incompatible Wolbachia-infected mosquitoes are reared in the lab, and males are carefully separated from females. By repeatedly releasing large numbers of incompatible males into a wild mosquito population, IIT causes the wild population to crash. An important advancement in this field is the ability to mechanically transfer novel Wolbachia strains into mosquito hosts in the lab—called transinfection-- substantially increasing the incompatibility rate and thus the chances for success. An IIT approach has numerous benefits for use for conservation purposes. Releasing males pose no additional risk to birds because males do not bite or carry disease. The method is reversible in that if releases stop, the introduced Wolbachia strains will not persist in mosquito populations indefinitely. Field trial releases of Wolbachia-transinfected Aedes and Cx. quinquefasciatus in continental and oceanic island systems demonstrate the safety and effectiveness of these methods for human health 8,9. Implementing these methods for conservation purposes can also provide results and guidelines for future suppression of mosquitoes in Hawai‘i that pose human health concern, including Aedes albopictus, a known vector of at least 22 arboviruses that was implicated as the main vector in recent locally-transmitted dengue outbreaks in Hawai‘i.
Many diverse and equally important threads must come together for the successful implementation of landscape-level mosquito suppression for native bird conservation in Hawai‘i, including funding, permitting, complex planning and logistics, among others. One core principal of this work is that decisions are made using the best available science. Although an ITT approach has been successfully implemented in more urban areas, the urgent need for vector control for conservation application is in remote, natural, forested areas across the state where low densities of mosquitoes fuel seasonal outbreaks in mid- to upper elevation forests, introducing unique challenges to vector control. Modelling approaches have been used extensively to guide the implementation of other novel vector control programs, and are currently being developed to explore alternate implementation strategies.These models provide a way to optimize implementation scenarios and identify important gaps and uncertainties prior to actual interventions. The group is working together to identify and fill key knowledge gaps with field studies and a rigorous scientific review is expected during the permitting and registration process.
The implementation of landscape-level mosquito control represents an exciting and innovative approach to the conservation of native Hawaiian birds. There is an understanding for the inherent need and benefit for advancing these techniques in a transparent way that includes a strong element of community engagement and outreach. Native birds and the lands that they inhabit are inextricably tied to the Hawaiian culture and the wellbeing of the people of Hawaii. This approach offers hope that future generations can enjoy the sights and sounds of Hawaii’s beautiful and unique avifauna, as we do. We welcome questions, concerns, or thoughts about this issue and IIT efforts in Hawai‘i.
Help us spread the word.
To get your free sticker ( created by the Department of Forestry and Wildlife and Patrick Hart at UH Hilo ), send your name and address to

Katherine McClure is a disease ecologist with an interest in using quantitative methods to better understand and manage infectious wildlife disease. She is currently an Atkinson Center for Sustainability postdoctoral fellow at Cornell University, where she is developing models to support the effective implementation of landscape-level mosquito suppression in Hawaiian forests using Wolbachia-transinfected mosquitoes. Reach her for comment or questions at
1.          Van Riper, C. et al. The Epizootiology and Ecological Significance of Malaria in Hawaiian Land Birds. Ecol. Monogr. 56 , 327–344 (1986).
2.          LaPointe, D. A., Goff, M. L. & Atkinson, C. T. Thermal constraints to the sporogonic development and altitudinal distribution of avian malaria Plasmodium relictum in Hawai’i. J. Parasitol. 96 , 318–324 (2010).
3.          Scott, J. M., Mountainspring, S., Ramsey, F. L. & Kepler, C. B. Forest bird communities of the Hawaiian Islands: their dynamics, ecology, and conservation. Stud. Avian Biol. 1–431 (1986).
4.          Pratt, T., Atkinson, C., Banko, P., Jacobi, J. & Woodworth, B. Conservation Biology of Hawaiian Forest Birds . (Yale University Press, 2009).
5.          Paxton, E. H. et al. Collapsing avian community on a Hawaiian island. Sci. Adv. 2 , E1600029 (2016).
6.          Benning, T. L., LaPointe, D., Atkinson, C. T. & Vitousek, P. M. Interactions of climate change with biological invasions and land use in the Hawaiian Islands: Modeling the fate of endemic birds using a geographic information system. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. 99 , 14246–14249 (2002).
7.          Liao, W. et al. Mitigating Future Avian Malaria Threats to Hawaiian Forest Birds from Climate Change. PLoS One 12 , 1–25 (2017).
8.          Jiggins, F. M. The spread of Wolbachia through mosquito populations. PLoS Biol. 15 , 1–6 (2017).
9.          Atyame, C. M. et al. Wolbachia-based population control strategy targeting Culex quinquefasciatus mosquitoes proves efficient under semi-field conditions. PLoS One 10 , 1–15 (2015).
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 the establishment of Hakalau Forest NWR and the acquisition of its first properties. If you have any stories and/or photos to share please send them to so I can include them in the future issues.
Establishment of Hakalau Forest National Wildlife Refuge by Mike Scott
The process of identifying and securing a national wildlife refuge can be divided into six parts; specifying purpose, data gathering, analysis, identification of lands most important to achieving purpose, information sharing and securing properties. In Hawaii, the large area covered (five islands, 1400 square miles of forests), enormous data sets that tested the limits of our computational power and nearly 100 different land owners required partnerships at each step of the process. Earlier (spring newsletter 2020).we told the story of the Hawaii Forest Bird Survey which identified the distribution of endangered forest birds.Here we continue the story of how the most important bird areas were determined, information was shared, partnerships evolved, and key conservation areas were acquired.
Kimo Tabor, lead for The Nature Conservancy (TNC) conservation activities in Hawaii, visited Mike Scott on Hawaii in 1977 to discuss how information emerging from the Hawaii Forest Bird Survey (HFBS) could be used to inform TNC decisions about locations that deserved conservation. Kimo was particularly interested in the results for the higher elevation forest above the Hamakua coast, where he had first-hand knowledge of the plants and animals. Mike shared information from the first three years of the HFBS that documented five endangered forest bird species in and around that area. Kimo shared that information with Robby Robertson, a landowner of forest lands in the Maulua section of the forests above the Hamakua Coast (see article by Robby Robertson elsewhere in this newsletter).
The second phase of the FWS /TNC partnership came in early 1978 when Henry Little, who was on sabbatical from TNC in California, was looking for ways to expand TNC’s presence in Hawaii. Like Kimo, Henry sought ways to use information on vegetation maps, bird and plant distribution from the HFBS, and other sources to achieve that goal. He created a proposal for an Endangered Hawaiian Forest Bird Project to identify and select nature reserves to conserve the endangered forest birds of Hawaii. He noted that the decision to “focus on forest birds was dictated by the availability of information on birds and their marketability”. TNC felt that birds were more “marketable” to the public than were endangered plants, insects, or ecosystems. 
To reach out to folks in the Fish and Wildlife Service, The Nature Conservancy and Congress, the HFBS used crayons to create species distribution maps for each species, overlaying them with single sided sheets of mylar that had outlines of every area in the state that was managed to conserve endangered species: in essence, a very primitive Geographical Information System. The implication of these “gap maps” needed little explanation. They depicted a near absence of conservation management in areas with the greatest number of endangered forest birds. These endangered species-rich areas with no legal protection were obvious priorities for conservation. These maps were printed on postcard-sized heavy paper and shared widely with interested state and federal agencies and non-profit conservation groups. Chief among those groups were TNC and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
In the winter of 1979 Mike Scott flew, armed with a pocket full of Gap Maps, to Washington D.C. to present to TNC’s senior management team and their Board of Governors the results of the HFBS and the implications of those findings for conservation of Hawaii’s endangered forest birds. Following Mike’s presentation and after discussion with TNC leadership, TNC Hawaii received a green light to proceed with the Hawaii Endangered Forest Bird Project. Henry Little was given five years to make it happen.

Henry recognized that for the project to be successful he would need support from local communities and business leaders as well as a local professional staff. In 1980 he hired Kelvin Taketa as a field representative and Hardy Spoehr to help implement the plan, and quickly thereafter he formed a Project Steering Committee and a Science Advisory Committee to identify priority properties for conservation. Initially, TNC identified 14 potential reserves. Choices were then narrowed down to four priority projects, three of them Waikamoi on Maui, Kamakou on Molokai and Hakalau on the Big Island, all hot spots for endangered forest birds and conservation gaps. 
TNC developed the case for a conservation easement to conserve an endangered species hot spot on Molokai Ranch in 1981. That area became Kamakou Nature Reserve. An option to buy a second conservation easement was developed with Haleakala Ranch on Maui in 1982 and implemented in 1983 to become Waikamoi Reserve. Kelvin became state director of TNC that same year.

The third hotspot included a single parcel within the footprint of what would become Hakalau Forest National Wildlife Refuge, that had been purchased by TNC in 1979 from the Robertson family. If Hakalau was to become a National Wildlife Refuge, much work remained to be done.

By 1983 Kelvin was working to push the proposal to acquire an endangered forest bird refuge in the forests above the Hamakua Coast of Hawaii Island. While the refuge planning process was set in motion within the USFWS, Kelvin and others engaged the Hawaii congressional delegation. Senator Daniel Inouye, chair of Senate Appropriations Committee, and Senator Dan Akaka took steps to fund the acquisition effort. To keep the congressional focus on bringing Hakalau into the system, TNC prioritized Hakalau forest over a number of other federal areas in Hawaii and nationally. 
Kelvin and Pete Stine of the USFWS joined forces in 1984 to contact landowners and lessees that would be affected by the establishment of a National Wildlife Refuge (NWR). The notion of a NWR for endangered and threatened Hawaiian forest birds was not an easy sell. Despite compelling scientific evidence, the NWR approach had detractors when first considered. The Refuge system was managed by an old guard of professionals who saw their mission as protecting migratory birds and their dwindling habitat base. They had been very effective in developing and managing a NWR system to conserve migratory birds, primarily ducks and geese. With few exceptions (one being Hawaii, with five refuges established primarily for the conservation of endangered Hawaiian water birds and migratory shorebirds) almost no refuges existed in the country that were intended for endangered species. New refuges also meant further diluting the already limited management dollars to maintain refuges, threatening the ability to properly maintain millions of already established refuge acres. Refuge system officials were uninterested in a large new refuge in the remote areas of Hawaii.

Increasing the federal presence in Hawaii was also an issue. In the early 1980's, the plan faced lukewarm support within the Hawaii Division of Forestry and Wildlife and other sectors of Hawaii for establishing more federal facilities, including refuges. Some saw the idea of a new federal wildlife refuge as a threat to Hawaiian local authority. Other local interests worried about further restrictions on uses such as harvesting koa trees or pig hunting.
Even if these obstacles could be overcome, the harsh reality was that this would be expensive and land acquisition by the federal government was not popular under the senior administration of the Department of Interior. Initial inquiries did not yield encouraging results. But the idea was too compelling to give up. With innovative and relentless determination by the Hawaii office of TNC led by Kelvin, and the persistent efforts of the Hawaii Office of Ecological Services of the USFWS, hope transitioned into action.

TNC and FWS joined forces to identify a proposed refuge boundary that captured key patches of pristine koa/ohia forest and which land ownerships would be involved.

Once the idea of a Hawaiian forest bird refuge gained traction internally we moved forward with the acquisition phase. This required contact with landowners and lessors that would be affected by the establishment of a National Wildlife Refuge.
Acquisition of the properties

The process of land acquisition is never easy, and Hakalau Forest NWR was no exception, especially with multiple landowners within the footprint of the proposed refuge. Identifying and working with owners and lessees of those properties to sell their properties was difficult. The first to move forward was the Shipman Estate parcel at the upper end of the refuge owned by a local cattle company. Although some of their lands were converted to nearly all kikuyu grass, some of the grandest koa forest remained. All four of the principal endangered forest birds could be found there. Negotiations with the owners were cordial and relatively fast and they welcomed the opportunity to see their property preserved and managed for this purpose.
Next to the Shipman property was the Piha unit of the Hilo Forest Reserve, a popular public pig hunting area. As state land in a forest reserve, acquiring the land was never the intent but it was a challenge to establish a plan to cooperatively manage lands on both sides of the Shipman property.

Another property included within the proposed refuge boundaries, just north of the Piha unit, was owned principally by the Robertson family. Other family members were involved as well in the negotiations. Notably, Richard “Ike” Sutton, a known figure in Honolulu politics, participated in discussions about the proposed refuge. The cattle operation lessee on the property, opposed the plan for obvious reasons. Despite these challenges, the Robertson family as a whole was supportive and negotiations to buy the property succeeded.

Perhaps the most challenging of the acquisitions was property down slope from the Shipman’s, which was owned by the World Union Bank based in Hong Kong. It was a large property of more than 16,000 acres and in dense ohia forest. Difficult to access, it was nonetheless the owners’ goal to one day log the area to realize a return on their investment. World Union Bank apparently spread its capital investments across the globe with little foresight on their investments’ return. Negotiations with representatives of World Union revealed unrealistic expectations for financial return possibilities from this land. Despite initial strong objections to selling and the subsequent challenges of real estate transactions with a foreign entity, the fair market value was established and the sale proceeded.
The process of purchasing the parcels extended over a period of six years. TNC was the upfront purchaser for each parcel. They then held the parcels while folks in the Portland realty office were completing the paperwork needed to acquire Hakalau. In October of 1985 the process was completed following the purchase of the properties from TNC by the Fish and Wildlife Service. All those parcels were transferred to USFWS in October of 1985 and Hakalau Forest National Wildlife Refuges was established.

It is one of several positive examples where TNC accomplished land acquisition tasks when facing next to impossible obstacles including years-long negotiations for the direct acquisition by the Fish and Wildlife Service. That TNC/FWS partnership and the cooperation of private landowners has led us to where we are today.

With the transfer of properties from TNC to FWS the National Wildlife Refuge System assumed responsibility for the long-term challenge of managing the refuge. In meeting those challenges new partnerships have formed and old ones evolved. How those management challenges were met will be shared in the Fall newsletter.
References for additional information

Jacobi, J.D. 1989. Vegetation maps of the upland plant communities on the islands of Hawai'i, Maui, Moloka'i, and Lana'i. Honolulu (HI): Cooperative National Park Resources Studies Unit, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Department of Botany. PCSU Technical Report, 68.

Little , H.P. 1984. The Nature Conservancy of Hawaii’s Endangered Forest and Birds Project,. Pp 355-358. In J.A. McNeely and R. R. Miller eds. National Parks Conservation and Development Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, D.C.

Scott, J.M . , C.B. Kepler, P Stine, H. Little 1987. Protecting endangered forest birds in Hawaii : The development of a conservation strategy Transactions of the North American Wildlife and Natural Resources Conference:353.

 Scott, J.M., J.A. Wiens, B. van Horne, and D. Goble. 2020, Shepherding Nature: The Challenge of Conservation Reliance. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, England

Write-ups on these efforts and various renditions of TNCs Endangered Forest and Bird Programme are archived in the J. Michael Scott file at the Huntington Library in Pasadena, California. 
A Story from Robbie Robertson

Lynn Hamilton and I – and a number of Kimo’s friends attended Kimo’s Celebration of Life at St. James Episcopal Church in Waimea/Hawai’i Island in 2016. Afterwards, a group of us, including Lynn, decided to meet for drinks. While sharing memories about our incredibly bright and well educated, albeit somewhat eccentric friend including that he had earned dual degrees from Yale in Economics and Chinese language, I told them a story of how Kimo was key to establishing the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Hakalau Refuge on Hawai’i Island. In the early 70's I used to visit Kimo in his downtown Honolulu office to talk story. Somehow we got on the subject of my family land in North Hilo, called Maulua Nui , which is an ahupua'a of about 9,500 acres of sugar, forest and ranch property. Kimo wanted to know all about it. I didn't know much but told him I was moving to Hawai’i Island for work and planned to learn as much as I could about the land. A few years later, Kimo was hired by The Nature Conservancy (TNC), which was still in formative stages here in Hawai’i. TNC had been negotiating the purchase of a portion of the Kamehameha Schools/Bishop Estate land at Kilauea Forest Reserve. That deal fell through. TNC had received a large donation from a Rochester NY family which had helped to found the Eastman Kodak company; TNC needed to find alternative Hawai’i land that merited preserving to fulfill the wishes of their donor. By then, Kimo had hiked from the top of Maulua Nui to the bottom and noted the high concentration of native birds and a very rare Lobelia plant. He proposed that TNC apply the donor funds to purchase a portion of our land. My family agreed to sell 3,300 acres of native forest. Thus Kimo secured the first increment of the Hakalau Refuge, which is now owned and managed by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. Today, Hakalau Refuge encompasses over 32,000 acres and has become a priceless resource for re-establishing native forest habitat that is ensuring preservation of rare – and in some cases all but extinct - native birds and plants. It’s a sanctuary that, thanks to Kimo and his inquiring mind, persistence and vision, my ‘ohana was able to help create for all of us and future generations to learn from and enjoy.
Surveying the Properties by Mike Scott and Pete Stine
A final note of interest on the overall process of becoming a NWR: For a real estate transaction to be completed, it required a land survey to corroborate the property boundaries. This was not going to be easy given the remote and dense forest and steep terrain where survey personnel would have to go. However, Marius Fisher, a skilled land surveyor from Honolulu, was up to the task. The laws governing land tenure in Hawaii are different from the English traditions that led to land tenure on mainland United States. Hawaii land tenure is based on the ancient Hawaiian ahupua`a system that divided lands into pie-shaped strips of land running from the top of a mountain range down to the sea. The original boundaries of property were made by field surveyors using a compass and chain. Property corners were marked with stone heaps called ahu . Marius Fisher was experienced in working within the system and, undaunted, walked deep into the rain forest to find these three- to five-foot high and wide stone heaps that existed from the 19 th century. We were amazed that he was, after much work, able to find the corners. He re-marked them and completed the survey, which was critical to finalizing the purchases.
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