Colorful mosaic mural depicting different native waterbirds, waterfowl, and migratory shorebirds.
New mosaic mural at Keālia Pond National Wildlife Refuge. Photo credit: USFWS

Keālia Pond National Wildlife Refuge Blesses New Mural at the Education Pavilion

Keālia Pond National Wildlife Refuge announced the addition of a mosaic mural to the refuge’s education pavilion. The mural was made possible through a robust partnership with The Friends of Keālia Pond National Wildlife Refuge and refuge visitor services staff.

Created and installed by Oʻahu based artist, Leah K. Riggs, the mural depicts Keālia Pond’s ahupuaʻa, Waikapū, from the mountains to the sea and highlights the seasonality of the wetlands and its’ native animal and plant species. The mural is intended to provide a tactile and aesthetic learning experience inviting visitors to look closer and realize how much there is to discover at the refuge.

Refuge staff and The Friends of Keālia Pond National Wildlife Refuge gathered for a blessing with Native Hawaiian cultural practitioner, Kimokeo Kapahulehua. Kapahulehua called upon the ancestors of air, land and sea to entrust those who will care for and pass on the knowledge and value the mural holds to visitors and especially keiki.

ʻAlae keʻokeʻo chick in a nest sitting next to an unhatched egg.
ʻAlae keʻokeʻo chick hatched at Keālia Pond National Wildlife Refuge. Photo credit: Adrian Dougherty.

Established in 1992, the refuge protects over 700 acres between Kīhei and Māʻalaea. The refuge has walking trails and a coastal boardwalk located across part of Maui’s largest lowland wetland. Keālia Pond is home to over 30 species of birds, including migratory waterfowl, and provides nesting, feeding, and resting habitat to Hawaiian waterbirds including the endangered ʻalae keʻokeʻo.

ʻAlae, in general, are all culturally significant. They are the children of Hina, the moon goddess, and are in a number of traditional stories and legends. Most famously, ʻalae are known to have held the secret of fire, as told in the legends of Maui. Stop inside the Keālia Pond National Wildlife Refuge visitor center and learn more about these stories from friendly docents or staff before heading out to see the new mural and the ponds.

ʻAlae keʻokeʻo on the water next to green vegetation
ʻAlae keʻokeʻo at Keālia Pond National Wildlife Refuge. Photo credit: Warren Johnson.

“Keālia Pond National Wildlife Refuge welcomes the community to visit, enjoy the mural, discover more of what the refuge has to offer and connect with this important Maui wetland,” said refuge manger Bret Wolfe.

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U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service: Pacific Islands

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service: Pacific Islands

Conserving fish, wildlife, and plants from the Marianas Trench to Maunakea.