Thursday, April 08, 2010

Progress at Maui bird sanctuary

Following up on last week's post about Kealia Pond National Wildlife Refuge on the Hawaiian island of Maui, news arrives that officials broke ground this week for the new refuge headquarters and visitor center.

After a traditional Hawaiian blessing of the land, Senator Daniel K.
Inouye, Maui Mayor Charmaine Tavares and other officials turned the first shovels of earth to initiate construction of a new headquarters and visitor center at Keālia Pond National Wildlife Refuge on Maui. The 7,500-square-foot building will replace a small 672-square-foot trailer the refuge staff currently occupies.

“This has been a long time coming, but through everyone’s cooperation and influence, especially Senator Inouye’s, this building is coming into fruition,” said Mayor Tavares. “As a teacher, I know when children learn about nature, they grow up with a new consciousness of the environment. The refuge will truly be an outdoor classroom.”

The event included a Hawaiian blessing by Kimokeo Kapahulehua and the hula halau Maui Nui o Kama. Approximately 50 invitees participated in the groundbreaking at the building site off the entrance road to Keālia Pond.

The facility, which is expected to be completed in June 2011, will include a 1,358-square-foot lobby and exhibit hall, 1,043-square-foot multipurpose room, eight offices, a small conference room, and other workrooms. The energy-efficient building is expected to meet Silver LEED standards, one of only a few such projects in Hawai‘i.

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Blogger Radd Icenoggle said...

While the headquarters may be wanted and it will help inform and educate the public (especially children), I wonder if the funds would be better spent on direct, immediate conservation efforts. The avian species diversity crisis in Hawaii is happening now, and it is a paradigm that has to change within the near future. The building can wait, the bird species in peril cannot afford the time.

April 09, 2010 9:28 AM  
Blogger Amy said...

It's entirely possible that the educational programs conducted inside the building after its scheduled completion in June 2011 will increase local and visitor awareness of the diversity crisis, leading to more action now and in the future.

The funds for the construction come from American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009; that money likely wouldn't go directly toward bird conservation, but now it indirectly might.

April 09, 2010 12:32 PM  
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