One of the most important qualities of any successful conservation program is making that key connection between the program and the community. The Hawaii Endangered Bird Conservation Program works hard to keep the local population involved and informed. In some cases, the local community can actually participate in our program’s agenda.
On November 6, we held our annual Open House for the community of Volcano that surrounds our Keauhou Bird Conservation Center on the Big Island of Hawaii. As an added bonus, we invited eight local wildlife artists to display their crafts. Represented were photography, silk screen, leaded glass, painting on various media, ceramics, and metal sculpture. The day was a huge success, with over 80 people taking the 4 guided tours of the facility, enjoying the baked goods provided by our program staff and the artists, and buying up wonderful handicrafts, artwork, and our newly fabricated T-shirts with a design by Emily Herb and Leayne Patch (see above). The tours began at 10 a.m. and ended at 5 p.m. Although scheduled to last two hours, there was so much to see and so many good questions, none of the tours ended on time. That’s a good sign!
Our Volcano neighbors are keenly aware of the environmental issues facing this island, Hawaii state, and the world, and are very proactive in community affairs and the programs aimed at improving the quality of life in our area. By opening our doors and showing our neighbors what we are doing and how well we are doing it, we are creating goodwill and a conservation optimism that will help us all reach our goals for endangered species recovery.
Thank you, Volcano Community, for your support and understanding!
Alan Lieberman is the program director for the San Diego Zoo’s Hawaii Endangered Bird Conservation Program.
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