Kealia Pond National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) is one of only two refuges in Hawaii that is open to the public, and maintains a free Visitor Center, off of Maui Veterans Highway, Milepost Six in Kihei, which is also open to the public. The Friends of Kealia Pond 501c3 help staff the visitor center and maintain the gift shop as well as volunteer around the refuge conducting service projects. The public is welcome to walk on the Coastal Boardwalk off of North Kihei Road during daylight hours seven days a week year-round. Anyone interested in the supporting Friends of Kealia Pond and the FWS shall be eligible for membership and can be considered for election to the Board of Directors

Read About Kealia Pond

Take a walk through Maui’s Kealia Pond National Wildlife Refuge

Hawai‘i Magazine – by Chatten Hayes

Thanks to Maui County and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Bernadette Perreira and other visitors can easily enter the wetlands on the Kealia Coastal Boardwalk.

From the boardwalk, visitors can spot not only the aeo, but also the black-crowned night herons called aukuu, migratory shorebirds called sanderlings (hunakai in Hawaiian), and between August and April, a bird with a colorful name, ulili (wandering tattler).  It’s a birdwatcher’s paradise. Read the entire article >>


A walk near the pond

The Maui News

Kealia Pond National Wildlife Refuge biological science technician Suzanne Conlon leads tours of the wetlands Tuesday mornings from October thru March for guests from as far away as Zurich, Switzerland. Read the entire article >>

A close look at pond life

The Maui News

Tipper Simmons and son Skyler Simmons of Makawao use a microscope inside the Kealia Pond National Wildlife Refuge’s Visitor Center in Kihei to learn about some of the smaller creatures that inhabit the wetland. Read the entire article >>


Kealia Pond National Wildlife Refuge


Kealia Pond supports one of the largest concentrations of wetland birds in Hawai`i. It is an important breeding, feeding, and resting area for endangered Hawaiian Stilts and Hawaiian Coots, and the refuge was created to protect these two species in particular. During spring and summer when water levels recede, the refuge may harbor almost half the entire population of Hawaiian Stilts, with a maximum of 1079 individuals observed in July 2003. Read the entire article >>


Board Members

Warren “Skip” Snyder, President

He is retired as a Regional Technical Engineer from US West Communication and has lived on Maui since 1999. He believes in giving back to the community and has served on several boards, including the Maui Canoe Club (as president) and Friends of Hawaiian Island Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary (co-founder with his wife, Gloria).

Joseph Dratz, Vice President

Joe is a Program Manager and Maui Site Lead at L3Harris Technologies and holds a BS in Physics from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

John Starmer, Treasurer

He is the Director of Education at Kumulus Technologies and serves part-time as the Maui Nui Marine Resource Council’s Chief Scientist. He co-founded and served as president and board member of the Pacific Marine Resource Institute on Saipan. He has studied biology at St. Mary’s College of Maryland, the University of Guam and the University of Florida.

Bruce Butler, Secretary

He served as professor of Human Anatomy and Physiology at UHMC for 25 years, and has been a Maui resident since 1986. He’s an amateur photographer who enjoys windsurfing and other water sports.

Gloria Snyder, Member at Large

Gloria was a founding member of Friends of Kealia Pond in 2012 and is currently manager of the Nature Store at the Visitor Center. She retired as a tactical planner from US West Communication and has lived on Maui since 1999. She founded and was president of Friends of the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary from 2002–2012 and was a founding member of Mana‘olana Pink Paddlers, and president of their board of directors from 2010–2013.


Website Photos by Bruce Butler and Lourdes Venard