The plight of the palila will be the focus on Friday night at ‘Imiloa Astronomy Center in Hilo. Long gone are the days when the Palila’s whistle-like call echoed repeatedly through the forest. Islanders believed it to be a sign of impending rain. Today, this distinctive call is heard only in the restricted range the palila now inhabit on Mauna Kea.
Join Jackson Bauer of the Mauna Kea Forest Restoration Project in ‘Imiloa Astronomy Center’s planetarium for his presentation, “The Palila’s Future: Restoring a Mamane forest on Mauna Kea,” on Friday, June 28, 2013 at 7 p.m. He will talk about the restoration of this rarely visited forest and its feathery inhabitants.
High above the clouds, the dry forest harbors the critically endangered Hawaiian finch, the palila. Because of more than 200 years of damage by grazing animals, this mamane and naio forest has been severely degraded and so, too, has the palila’s population. The palila feeds mostly on the pods of the mamane tree. The bean pods are highly toxic, but the palila are the only birds immune to its effects. Today, the MKFRP is actively restoring this special forest through volunteer out planting and seed scatter projects.
Bauer is the volunteer coordinator for the Mauna Kea Forest Restoration Project. He received his communications degree from Hawaii Pacific University and produced an award-winning documentary, Kaho‘olawe: the breath of our ancestors, featured at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C.
After seven years facilitating the film and television industry while working at the Hawaii Film Office in Honolulu, he moved to Maui, where he spent the next four years as volunteer coordinator for the Kaho‘olawe Island Reserve Commission. He has also been an active leader in the Hawaii Service Trip Program, leading volunteers to assist environmental conservation agencies across the state.
The Friday evening presentations at ‘Imiloa showcase a variety of planetarium programs from pure science to entertaining music shows. For the upcoming month’s schedule, visit www.imiloahawaii.org. Admission is $10, with member discounts.