Hakalau Forest Reforestation Program | Hakalau Forest Conservation Plan

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.

Baron showing University of Idaho students the forest nursery at Hakalau NWR | Hakalau Forest Conservation Plan

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To help FOHF:

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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

Board Members

J.B. Friday (President) is a forester on the faculty of the University of Hawai‘i. His work includes promoting reforestation with koa and ohia and combating forest health issues such as Rapid Ohia 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.

Patrick Hart (Secretary) is a Professor of Biology at the University of Hawaii at Hilo. He has been conducting research on the forests and forest birds at Hakalau since the early 1990’s and is Director of the Hakalau Forest Biological Field Station.

Cathy Lowder (Treasurer) is a retired social worker with a long history of volunteering in environmental organizations in Hawaii. Cathy has been involved with service projects at Hakalau Forest since it’s establishment as a Refuge.

Members at Large

Denise Antolini is a Professor of Law at the University of Hawaii teaching classes in environment law, environmental litigation, domestic ocean and coastal law. She has been bringing law school students, alumni and friends to Hakalau annually for over 16 years.

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.

Eben Paxton is a Research Ecologist with the USGS Pacific Island Ecosystems Research Center based on Hawaii Island. Eben’s work focuses on the conservation biology of imperiled species, and he has been conducting research on survival, productivity, and movement of Hakalau’s forest bird community since 2012.

Patricia Richardson is a retired high school language teacher (French, Latin, English) with 36 years in public schools in Hilo.  She first visited Hakalau Refuge in the early 2000’s, as an Open House visitor, as a weekend participant with Wendy Kunz’s i’iwi project, and as a volunteer with the Friends, working with Baron Horiuchi in the greenhouse.

George (Robby) Robertson is the West Hawaii Field Rep for Senator Brian Schatz and former administrative assistant to Gov. John Waihee. Education: 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.

Don Kanakawaiwai Romero is a retired Middle/high school science/math teacher and Principal. He is a Volunteer at Imiloa Astronomy Center and experienced guide for their native plant garden. His interest in the Hakalau Forest Refuge is in the educational opportunities and native plants.

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.

Nene Goose. Photo by Dean Masutomi
Sunday Morning at Hakalau Forest. Photo by Dean Masutomi
Hawaii ‘Akepa. Photo by Jack Jeffery
‘Ōhi‘a (ohia), photo by J.B. Friday
Photo by Lauren Gutierrez
Ma‘ohi‘ohi (Stenogyne calaminthoides). Photo by Dean Masutomi