Donations to Friends of Hakalau Forest NWR to be matched

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The Friends of Hakalau Forest National Wildlife Refuge recently launched its fall Matching Endowment Gift Campaign to reach this year’s $150,000 goal.

Thanks to a generous offer by five donors, if Friends of Hakalau Forest National Wildlife Refuge can raise $75,000 by Dec. 31, the donors will match it with $75,000 to grow the endowment to $150,000.

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“We are incredibly encouraged by the ongoing support for the Hakalau Forest Refuge Management Endowment,” said J.B. Friday, a forester on the faculty of the University of Hawaii and president of the friends group. “Although our long-term goal for the Endowment is $3.5 million, we raised over $500,000 in the first six years of the Endowment’s existence. This year’s campaign has the potential to get us to almost $700,000 if we can find $75,000 in matching funds.”

A prime example of how the endowment can make vital contributions to managing the refuge is the work to address the threat of mosquitos and the diseases they carry.

Patrick Hart, a professor with the Department of Biology at the University of Hawaii at Hilo and his team started an early warning surveillance system at Hakalau Forest NWR in mid 2020 to monitor mosquito populations, fine-scale changes in temperature, outbreaks of avian malaria and bird responses. Fortunately, the team’s initial findings along two transects between 3,900 feet and 5,100 feet in elevation indicate low mosquito concentrations at present. Future plans call for monthly monitoring of mosquitoes and capturing birds at various elevations to obtain blood samples to detect incipient outbreaks of disease.

The 32,830-acre Hakalau Forest NWR is one of the most successfully managed sites for endangered species restoration to date. It was established in 1985 to conserve endangered plants and animals and the native ecosystems of which they are a part. The endowment was started in 2015 and has been managed since its inception by the Hawaii Community Foundation.

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In addition to supporting programs like that initiated Hart, the endowment’s funds will be used to maintain and expand existing fencing, to support native plant propagation and planting, provide volunteer assistance for important conservation projects and foster public understanding and enjoyment of the Refuge’s natural and cultural resources.

To donate online, visit https://www.hawaiicommunityfoundation.org/hakalau-forest-refuge-management-endowment-fund. Those who would like to contribute by check, can make the check out to “Hawaii Community Foundation: Hakalau Forest Endowment” and mail it to the Hawaii Community Foundation, 827 Fort Street Mall, Honolulu, HI, 96813.