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

Warren “Skip” Snyder is president of the Friends of Keālia Pond National Wildlife Refuge. 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 A. Dratz

Joseph A. Dratz is vice president of the Friends of Keālia Pond. Joe is a Project Manager at the Maui High School Performance Computing Center and holds a BS in Physics from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Barry D. Solomon

Barry D. Solomon is treasurer of the Friends of Keālia Pond. He has lived on Maui since 2015, following a 20-year career as professor of Geography and Environmental Policy at Michigan Technological University. While living in Michigan, he served on the board of directors of the Copper County Audubon Society from 1996-2015.

Bruce Butler

Bruce Butler is secretary of the Friends of Keālia Pond. 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.

Lourdes Venard

Lourdes Venard, a member at large, is also a docent on the Keālia Pond boardwalk. A former journalist for 30 years, she now is a freelance editor and online instructor at the University of California, San Diego. She has served on the boards of several journalism and writers’ organizations.

Gloria Snyder

Gloria Snyder, a member at large, 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