Learn more about Hakalau Forest
Getting involved, our Board of Directors, our annual meeting and more!
The Friends of Hakalau Forest National Wildlife Refuge (FOHF) is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization established in 2006 and devoted to helping the Refuge achieve its mission of conserving the flora and fauna of Hawaii. We provide vital fundraising, volunteer and advocacy support to help make Hakalau Forest NWR one of the most significant refuges in the National Wildlife Refuge System.
FOHF has contributed directly to the quality of habitat at Hakalau Forest NWR by such efforts as providing volunteer labor to propagate and out-plant native trees and rare plants, conducting weed control efforts and by raising funds for the construction of much needed facilities including a 10,000 gallon tank to store water for the plant nursery and a new roof for the Volunteer Cabin.
FOHF is governed by a volunteer Board of Directors who work to support the Refuge. The Board has a wealth of experience in history, biology, refuge management, nonprofit organization, education, law and information technology. The Board meets once a month in Hilo to receive updates from Refuge staff and decide how best to support current needs. Members wishing to attend should email via our CONTACT US page to confirm the meeting time and date. Our Annual Meeting is held each January in Hilo. Anyone interested in supporting FOHF is eligible for membership and can be considered for a committee position or the Board of Directors.
FOHF bylaws can be found here. Our EIN number is 68-0634915.
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Read about Hakalau Forest
Hana Hou, the Hawaiian Airlines magazine, profiles Baron Horiuchi, the Refuge horticulturist, in an article entitled “The Green Baron.”
A Return to the Aina: Hakalau Forest National Wildlife Refuge in Ke Ola magazine by Brittany Anderson.
Dr. J. B. Friday (President) is a forester on the faculty of the University of Hawai‘i. His work includes promoting reforestation with koa and ‘ōhi‘a and combating forest health issues such as Rapid ‘Ōhi‘a Death. J. B. moved to Hawaii Island twenty-two years ago after eight years in Honolulu.
Debbie Anderson (Vice President) is an entomologist by training but spent her career in marketing and advertising after earning an MBA at the University of Hawaii. Debbie co-founded the annual Hawaii Island Festival of Birds in 2016 to help draw national and international attention to Hawaii’s endangered endemic birds. The Festival brought many visitors to Hakalau for educational field trips.
Brett Nainoa Mossman (Secretary) grew up in Heber City Utah where he first found a passion for nature and birds. At a young age he was exposed to Hawaiian birds through the Kamehameha Schools explorations program setting him on a path to the islands. He graduated from Utah State University with a degree in wildlife ecology and management in 2017. He subsequently moved to Hawai‘i Island, where he graduated with his Master‘s from the UH Hilo Tropical Conservation Biology and Environmental Science program December 2020. Bret currently works full time with the Hawaiʻi Island Natural Area Reserve Program as the ornithological technician with the program.
Blaire Langston (Treasurer) is a graduate of Richard Stockton University in New Jersey, where she studied Marine Biology. She has worked in New Jersey as an AmeriCorps volunteer as a Watershed Ambassador and with the Utah Conservation Corps, removing invasive species to enhance watershed health. She moved to Hawai‘i pursue a Master of Science in Natural Resource & Environmental Management from the University of Hawaiʻi. After graduation in 2018 she moved to Hawai‘i Island to become the Program Coordinator for Teaching Change. Blaire currently works as a Marine Program Coordinator for The Nature Conservancy – Hawai‘i.
Members at Large
Charlene Akina is a retired Professor from University of Hawai‘i, having served on the faculty of both Windward Community College and Leeward Community College where she created programs in Food Service and Health Care. Retirement has allowed her to pursue her interests in Native plants and the arts as she spends more time in Kona. She assists her daughter as a plant groomer for the Kamehameha Schools offices, sharing her knowledge of legends and history associated with the flora, fauna and avifauna of Hawai‘i.
Dr. Creighton Litton is a professor of forest ecology and management in the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Management at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa. For the past 15 years, Creighton has conducted research and co-led an island-wide youth conservation education program with roots at Hakalau.
Kenneth R. Kupchak is President of Damon Key Leong Kupchak Hastert, a law corporation, and a former practicing meteorologist, who, with his wife Patty, has been volunteer planting in the Refuge for several decades , while serving on Boards of many community, educational and non-profit organizations in Hawai’i and the Country.
Marcia Stone was brought up in New England and moved to Hawaii in 1990. In 2007 she and her husband retired to Hawai‘i Island where they are restoring a one-acre native forest around their house. Marcia volunteers with the Friends of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park, doing work in the nursery and restoring forests.
George (Robby) Robertson is the West Hawaii Field Rep for Senator Brian Schatz and former administrative assistant to Gov. John Waihee. He was educated at the Punahou School and UC Berkeley. After studying Mike Scott’s research on Mauna Kea, his Punahou classmate, Kimo Tabor, who worked for the Nature Conservancy, and Robby teamed up to settle on his family’s Maulua Nui forest land as a refuge for native birds. Later, lands mauka of Hakalau were added.
Dr. Mike Scott is a retired USFWS /USGS research Biologist. He spent his first ten years with USFWS in Hawaii conducting a statewide endangered forest bird survey to identify the most important areas to conserve habitat for both birds and plants. The area that is now Hakalau Forest National Wildlife Refuge was one of the hot spots. The information from the survey was used by the Nature Conservancy and others to establish Hakalau Refuge.
Dr. Robert Shallenberger is a conservation biologist whose 50+ year career includes assignments as the Chief of Refuges for the Fish and Wildlife Service and Hawaii Island Conservation Director for The Nature Conservancy. Rob was the first Midway Refuge Manager. He has been a member of the Legacy Land Commission, the West Hawaii Fishery Council and the Hawaii Wildlife Center. Rob is a widely published aerial and wildlife photographer.
Jamie Tanino is a Watershed Resource Specialist at the Honolulu Board of Water Supply. She previously worked at the Oahu Army Natural Resources Program for eleven years as a Field Technician, Rare Snail Specialist, and Field Supervisor. She first volunteered at Hakalau Forest with the Sierra Club, Oahu Chapter in May 2010 and immediately fell in love with the Forest and enjoyed working and learning from Baron Horiuchi. Since then, she has led or joined 40 volunteer weekend trips.