80 Years of Hawaii
Audubon Society

1939 – First meeting of the Honolulu Audubon Society. Established motto: “For the Better Protection of Wildlife in Hawaii”. First published, “Elepaio.” First Christmas Bird Count.

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1943 – Conservation issue priority: introduced birds and bird diseases.

1945 – First Legislative Committee formed. Priorities: cat, rat, mynah, mongoose problems; forest loss.

1946 – Name changed to the “Hawaii Audubon Society” (HAS).

1948 – Conservation issue priority: stop the introduction of exotic bird species.

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1950 – Helped establish and organize the Conservation Council for Hawaii.

1952 – Priority issue: native coastal and dry land plant conservation.

1954 – Published first Field Check Card of Hawaii Birds (Green Card), dedicated to Grenville Hatch.

1955 – Priorities: marine life preservation, conservation education program for Hawaii.

1957 – Conservation issue priorities: wetland losses, exotic plant and animal importations.


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1960 – Priorities: conservation easements, Kanaha Pond, airport expansion, Natural Area Reserves.

1961 – Priorities: establish Natural Area Reserves at Ka’ala, Eke, Olokui, Wailau, Alaka’i.

1962 – Conservation issue priority: feral pig & wild goat control.

1965 – Priorities: Nene captive propagation project, non-game wildlife position for State, exotic plants.

1966 – Priorities: bulldozing native forests, multiple land use impacts, restrictions on imported birds.

1967 – Published first edition of Hawaii’s Birds.

1969 – Priorities: natural resource curriculum for University of Hawaii, environmental education, avian diseases.

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1970 – Priorities: Natural Area Reserves System, Animal Species Advisory Commission, Kawainui Marsh bird sanctuary.

1971 – Priorities; seabirds, wetlands, feral animals, reforestation, endemic species, H-3 freeway prevention.

1972 – Supported passage of the Hawaii Endangered Species Act, protection of Kanaha Pond. Opposed rezoning of conservation land at Salt Lake on Oahu to urban use.

1973 – Supported establishment of the Cape Kinau & Ahihi Bay areas as part of NARS, Hawaiian Islands Wilderness Proposal.

1974 – Opposed Kaneohe-Kailua Flood Control Dam Project (Keapuka Lake), replacement of native forests in Waiakea, Ola`a Reserves with alien hardwoods for lumber industry, proposed shopping center in Kawainui Marsh.

1975 – Changed Society motto to “For the Protection of Hawaii’s Native Wildlife.

1976 – First bird count report to National Audubon Society (NAS); publication in American Birds.

1976 – New logo designed by Ron Walker, first appears in ‘Elepaio Journal issue 37.5

1977 – Became chapter of NAS; established Hawaii Rare Bird Documentary Photograph File at Bishop Museum.

1978 – Palila, Sierra Club, HAS, NAS, & A. Ziegler filed suit in federal district court to protect palila habitat on Mauna Kea from feral sheep & goats.

1979 – Court determines “harm” under ESA includes habitat destruction & orders State to remove feral animals from Palila critical habitat. (Palila I)

1980 – Concern about barn owls, introduced in 1958 from zoo stock, preying on shearwaters; mongooses climbing trees.

1981 – State appeals Palila I to 9th Circuit Court. Ninth Circuit affirms district court order. (Palila II)

1982 – Priorities: Hawaiian Humpback Whale Sanctuary, critical habitats at Pohakaloa area, geothermal project in Kahauale`a Forest, Kilauea Forest Reserve proposed for logging.

1983 – BLNR signs agreement with HAS, Bot. Soc. to stop proposed logging road thru native forest above Lapahoehoe.

1984 – Palila et al. adds mouflon sheep to orig. complaint.

1985 – Urges BLNR to expand the size of the Puu Waawaa Natural Area Reserve from 3,000 to 12,000 acres.

1986 – Federal district court finds permitting mouflon in Palila critical habitat constitutes a “taking” under the ESA; orders State to remove mouflon from Palila habitat.(Palila III)

1987 – Pratt, H.D., Bruner, P.L., & Berrett D.G. The Birds of Hawaii and the Tropical Pacific. Princeton Univ. Press.

1988 – State appeals Palila III to 9th Circuit. Ninth Cir. finds habitat degradation leading to extinction constitutes “harm”.

1989 – HAS & NAS open joint office, Honolulu.

1990 – HAS & NAS file intent to sue U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS) over failure to protect Hawaiian crow (‘Alala).

1991 – HAS & NAS file complaint against the FWS, McCandless Ranch for failure to implement ‘Alala recovery plan.

1992 – Creation and coordination of “Paradise Pursuits”, environmental TV quiz program for high school students.

1993 – NAS leaves office shared with HAS.

1994 – Independent contractor hired to monitor conservation issues at the State legislature.

1995 – First office staff hired; formulation of a “Birders Network”.

1996 – Teachers workshop held; cassette tapes entitled “Voices of Hawaii’s Birds” produced.

1997 – HAS Mission Statement drafted & adopted; matching State funds for waterbird habitat in Kawainui Marsh supported.

1998 – Birdwatching/hiking map, “Hidden Treasures of Hawaii” published. Court orders aerial hunting of sheep in Palila habitat. Western Pacific Fisheries Coalition project funded.

1999 – Pacfish begins NWHI protection initiative; shark fining ban legislative effort in State legislature (Bill signed in 2000).

2000 – First receipt of Combined Federal Campaign funds; helped block sanctioned feral cat colonies. NWHI Coral Reef Ecosystem Reserve established by Pres. Clinton.

2001 – Pacfish holds first of six Hawaii Aquatics Conferences.

2002 – Pacfish publishes The Importance of Refuges for Reef Fish Replenishment in Hawai’i. HAS website created.

2003 – Helped establish Kolea Research Fund & “Adopt a Plover” program with Hawaii Nature Center. Founding member of Ho`olaulima network to protect Kawainui Marsh.

2004 – HAS on NAS Waimea Audubon Center Stewardship Advisory Committee. Exec. Dir. for Aquatics elected Vice Chair of the NWHICRER Advisory Committee. Pacfish publishes Marine Aquarium Trade report, DVD, PSAs on NWHI, posters.

2005 – 6th edition of Hawaii’s Birds published; attended NAS annual meeting in Park City, Utah.

2006 – Ex. Dir. for Aquatics receives Volunteer of the Year award from National Marine Sanctuary Foundation.

2007 – Buck Freeman gives HAS one-acre coastal property on Black Point for a preserve to protect Wedge-tail shearwaters.

2008 – Produced Kawainui Marsh program for Olelo Community TV; surveys indicate rapid decline of Palila pop on Mauna Kea

2009 – Produced 2 disc CD set of Voices of Hawaii’s Birds as a companion to Hawaii’s Birds.

2010 – Published The Global Shark Fin Trade report for CITES Conference of the Parties held in Doha, Qatar.

2011 – Shearwater Soiree held to benefit Freeman Preserve.

2012 – State suspends aerial hunting in Palila habitat. Record breeding shearwater count at Freeman Seabird Preserve.

2013 – Court orders State to resume aerial hunting in Palila habitat.

2014 – Submitted comments on draft master plan for Kawainui- Hamakua Marsh complex; adopted waterbird pond #10.

2015- New signage, native plant guide, research & lesson plans for the Freeman Seabird Preserve were completed. Over 24 native plants have been established in the Preserve.

2016 – HAS co-sponsored the Manu-o-Ku (white tern) festival at ʻIolani Palace. Sent letter to President Obama in support of expanding NWHI ecosystem protection.

2017 – Sent 60-day notice letter to USFWS pursuant to federal ESA for failing to protect nesting habitat of the endangered Hawaiian Black-necked Stilt on Rim Island 2, Oahu.

2018 – Reviewed & submitted comments about the Draft EIS for the Kawainui-Hāmākua Master Plan Project that failed to meet the requirements of Hawaii’s Environmental Policy Act.

2019 – Six endangered Palia were released into a restored native forest on Mauna Kea. HAS efforts to protect the Palila’s critical habitat began in 1978 when it filed an ESA lawsuit.

2020 – Covid-19 strikes. Dedicated workers continue habitat restoration at Freeman Seabird Preserve. Launched a citizen science statewide count of Pacific Golden Plovers. Published 7th edition of Hawaii’s Birds.

2021 – Hawaii Audubon begins transition period to update website, adopt White Tern project and reorganize committees.

2022 – HAS continues transitioning and focuses on the Kōlea Count project, White Tern monitoring, as well as restoring and maintaining its Freeman Seabird Preserve (Wedge-tailed Shearwater monitoring). The Society also expands its outreach to neighbor islands (ambassadors Hawaii Audubon, Big Island Hui) and provides education to scouting troops, students, and the general public.