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
Read About Kealia Pond
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 >>
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 >>
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 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 >>
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.
Yolanda Solorio, Director
Since retiring as a Labor Relations Consultant, Yolanda Solorio has turned into an avid bird enthusiast, and is a volunteer tour guide for the Hawaii Audubon Society. She does most of her birdwatching from her home in Wailuku, and at the Kealia Ponds Boardwalk, where she is a frequent visitor. In her other spare time, she is a free-lance writer, amateur photographer, and family historian.
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