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Wilderness Volunteers

Hakalau Forest National Wildlife Refuge, HI (Mar 15th - Mar 21st 2020)

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In 1985 the Hakalau Forest National Wildlife Refuge was established to protect native Hawaiian forest birds and their rain forest habitat. Located on the eastern slope of Mauna Kea, the 33,000-acre refuge supports a diverse array of native plants and birds. Many species are rare and endangered, including several colorful Hawaiian honeycreepers: the akiapolaau, Hawaii akepa and Hawaii creeper. Other common and brilliantly-colored forest birds include the 'i'wi, apapane and amakihi. The upper reaches of the refuge contain some of the finest stands of koa and 'o'hia lehua forest in the world.

Hakalau Forest National Wildlife Refuge lies on the cool, moist east flank of Mauna Kea mountain. The refuge is closed to public use, and entry is by special use permit or in conjunction with refuge projects or educational programs. Most volunteer work will occur at elevations between 5-6,000 feet above sea level. The Fish and Wildlife Service will shuttle us from Hilo to this semi-remote refuge where we will spend the week living at Hakalau Station in dormitory accommodations, planting native trees to reforest the refuge, removing invasive plants in the rainforest, working in the greenhouse, and assisting with brush clearing along roads and fences. The work is strenuous; we'll be hiking over uneven ground with plants/tools and working in highly variable weather conditions. Generally, nights are clear and cold but days can go from warm and dry to cool and wet at any time. As part of our work project, we will have the privilege of a day off in this unique wild place where we can head to the rainforest for a chance to see some of Hawai’i’s most endangered birds and habitats.

This project is rated as a strenuous project.

Join us for our 18th project at the beautiful Hakalau Forest National Wildlife Refuge!

**Note: Participants on Hawaii trips must have paid for their airfare at least two months before the trip and furnish this information to the leaders. We have discovered that folks who do not have firm travel plans by this time often cancel from the trip, and these trips are hard to fill at the last minute.

Check out more photos of last year's Hakalau Forest NWR project in our gallery.


Mar 15th - Mar 21st 2020

Service Project

Planting native trees & plants, removing invasive vines & fencing, working in greenhouse

Agency logo

Free Days

Visit a historic koa cabin & head to the rainforest for a chance to see endangered hawaiian birds


Dormitory rooms in volunteer cabin

Project Difficulty

Strenuous : Humid working conditions, hiking over uneven ground, bending, lifting


Christopher Riccardo
Bill Goolsby

Equipment List