September 17, 2012
Kīlauea Point National Wildlife Refuge to Offer Free Admission September 29
Jennifer Waipa, 808-635-0925
In Honor of National Public Lands Day
Kīlauea Point NWR will honor National Public Lands Day and celebrate Nēnē Awareness Day on Saturday, September 29, from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Entrance fees will be waived.
National Public Lands Day is a celebration of the publicly owned 655 million acres of forests, parks, refuges, and open spaces that all of us own. To celebrate the day, people from across the mainland as well as Alaska and Hawaii will be getting out to hike in forests, fish in streams, and enjoy the wild places we all share.
Nēnē Awareness Day was officially declared by Governor Linda Lingle in 2003 for the purpose of educating residents and visitors alike about Hawaii's state bird. "The nēnē is an icon of Hawaii's past, holding their own on fragments of their original habitat," said Shannon Smith, Refuge Manager for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Kaua‘i National Wildlife Refuge Complex. "We're working with a cadre of committed partners to restore habitat and give this species a real chance to make a comeback."
Designated Hawaii's State Bird on May 7, 1957, the nēnē has endured a long struggle against extinction. Conservationists began breeding the birds in captivity in hopes of preserving a remnant of the declining population and, someday, successfully re-establishing them in their native habitat. Recent efforts have been successful. Today on Kaua'i, biologists from the Kaua'i National Wildlife Refuge Complex and the State Division of Forestry and Wildlife work together to preserve our rare and unique Hawaii State Bird. There are approximately 2,500 nēnē statewide with Kaua'i supporting nearly half of that population. On Kaua'i, nēnē thrive in lowland areas such as open pastures and farmlands. Wildlife agencies are cooperating with landowners for Safe Harbors Agreements and Habitat Conservation Plans to help further recover the species as well as other threatened and endangered species. The recent capture of two Indian mongooses in Līhu'e have prompted multiple agencies to work diligently to prevent its establishment on the island. The Indian mongoose, where established on neighbor islands, is responsible for the decline of several populations of ground nesting birds, including the nēnē.
Please join us as we honor our State Bird! Highlights will include exhibits and activities throughout the day. The State Division of Forestry and Wildlife will be on-site to provide valuable nēnē banding information. Also, in celebration of National Public Lands Day, Hampton Hotels' Save-A-Landmark program will present a donation of $25,000 to Kīlauea Point Natural History Association and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which will be used for Klauea Lighthouse Restoration. Hampton Hotels has been helping landmarks in local communities across the Americas for more than a decade. The Kīlauea Lighthouse is the 60th site to be preserved by the company and was selected for the award through a national voting campaign, in which Hawaii residents and lighthouse supporters from around the world cast more than 25,000 votes on its behalf.
To learn more about the Refuge, KPNHA, or Hampton Hotels' programs you can visit: www.fws.gov/kilaueapoint; www.kilaueapoint.org; or http://hamptoninn3.hilton.com/en/index.html. The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. We are both a leader and trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for our scientific excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated professionals, and commitment to public service. For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit www.fws.gov. Connect with our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/usfws, follow our tweets at www.twitter.com/usfwshq, watch our YouTube Channel at http://www.youtube.com/usfws and download photos from our Flickr page at http://www.flickr.com/photos/usfwshq