Remembering Ron

In November 1976, Hawaiʻi Audubon Society started printing a new logo at the top of the ‘Elepaio journal, issue 37.5. It was added without comment, befitting the humble nature of Ron Walker, the wildlife biologist and illustrator who created the newly designed logo.

There was no room for fanfare in any case, as that issue of the ‘Elepaio journal was already full of important topics, many of which remain relevant today: concerns about management of both Mauna Kea and Paiko Lagoon, bird fossil discoveries, new editorial policies for standardizing bird names, and the new (at the time) concept of expanding conservation to consider entire ecosystems.

“When it comes to a problem in wildlife management, don’t go off the deep end in some esoteric, idealistic approach to solving the problem. Practice the art of the possible. I never forgot that…that’s what kind of guided me throughout my career.” -Ron Walker

Whether the issue was wallabies in Kalihi valley, nene propagation, feral sheep management, waterbird recovery, habitat restoration, or the simple question from a local resident about a bird identification, Ron brought a calm, pragmatic perspective, one balanced with a humor and an abiding kindness to both people and animals.

“The real thrill’s always been actual contact with the animals; viewing them, tagging them, even writing reports about them. I enjoy doing that and passing on what I learned.” -Ron Walker

Ron always preferred field to desk work but was unafraid of the tedious yet necessary administrative and organizational tasks. Ron worked for 37 years with the Hawaiʻi Department of Land and Natural Resources and 8 with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, both in the field and as manager and administrator. After retirement, he expanded his volunteer work, serving on the board of many different nonprofits, including Hawaiʻi Audubon Society. During his long career, Ron encouraged countless students, interns, and wildlife professionals, and each of them carries on his legacy.

Ron Walker’s steadfast dedication to caring for Hawaiʻi’s wildlife and ecosystems is an example of a committed life that we can all learn from, to continue the work despite the challenges, and to do it all with love.

Ronald L. Walker

Ron Walker passed away on September 30, 2012, and he is sorely missed. Ron was a life member of the Hawaiʻi Audubon Society, past president, long-time volunteer, and member of the board of directors. Ron’s contributions to the Society and its mission were extraordinary, ranging from chain-saw operations to research, writing and drawing.

Read more about Ron in this 2013 special issue of the ‘Elepaio dedicated to his life:

*See the original logo design for Hawai’i Audubon and find out why the ‘elepaio has been our emblem since 1939: