Apr 21, 2010

Students Restore Native Plants at Hawaiian Refuge

Hakalau Forest NWRThe Kapio Newspress recently reported on a group of 17 students who visited Hakalau Forest National Wildlife Refuge on the Big Island and learned about the refuge while also restoring native plants.

Blaine Shimabukuro, 22, went on the trip for the second time. He said that after last year’s trip in November, the ecology club was founded to raise money for this year’s trip.

“This is actually my second time going to Hakalau with Dr. Kuntz,” said Shimabukuro. “Because the first time was so great, a few people from last year decided to create an ecology club with the aim to raise funds for a return trip to Hakalau.”

Steward said that even though only 17 people went to the trip, they were able to do a variety of activities to help restore the forest.

“We actually planted more than 750 plants in that one day,” said Kuntz…

Shimabukuro said the service trip taught him to understand the effects of change in nature.

“We gained a lot of insight into how hard it is to be a park worker, how hard it is to undo change – in this case, many years of cattle ranching took its toll on the native forests – and how much we as people can change the environment positively and negatively,” he said.

Hakalau Forest NWR was established in 1985 to protect and manage endangered Hawaiian forest birds and their rain forest habitat. The 32,733-acre Hakalau Forest Unit supports a diversity of native birds and plants equaled by only one or two other areas in the State of Hawaii.

Eight of the 14 native bird species occurring at Hakalau are endangered. Twenty-nine rare plant species are known from the refuge and adjacent lands. Twelve are currently listed as endangered.

Fore more information, visit the FWS Hakalau Forest NWR website and also the Friends of Hakalau Forest.

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