Birder's Guide

AUG 2018

Birder's Guide is the American Birding Association's newest publication. Each issue focuses on a key subject, providing tips from experienced birders on a wide variety of topics like Travel, Listing & Taxonomy, Gear, and Conservation & Community.

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17 August 2018 | Birder's Guide to Conservation & Community He often emphasizes the cultural im- portance of the native forest birds, and the fact that humans are ultimately re - sponsible for throwing things out of bal- ance. "The real root of the problem isn't animal versus animal," he said. "It's not the sheep's fault. It's not the goats' fault. It's not the Palila's fault. It's our fault." He also puts the plight of the Palila into the broader context of what's happening to the Big Island's ecosystems. Asing be - longs to the native Hawaiian community and hails from Waimea, near Mauna Kea. The mountain used to have many springs and streams. Now there are no streams, he said, and only a few springs left. "You don't know what you've got 'til it's gone," Asing said. That makes the forest- restoration work even more urgent. "The mountain needs to be reforested." People come from all over to pitch in and help the Mauna Kea Forest Restoration Project. Some make it an an - nual trip. The Sierra Club sends a group regularly, for instance, and a teacher from Idaho brings a group of science students every year, according to Asing. But help also comes from closer to home. "We have some diehard volunteers from different communities on the island that come out and help us," Asing said. Among those stalwarts is Keomailani Case, the fifth-grade teacher whose stu- dents study Palila and its forest habitat. "We talk about how the Palila and the ma - mane evolved on the slopes together, and how if you take one component out of that system it can impact the systems around it," she said. Steeped in the lore of the land, she brings that sensibility and experience to her work as a teacher at the Kanu o ka 'A - ina ("Natives of the Land") school in Waimea. "My class is actually named Papa ma - mane, which is after the ma - mane tree of the Palila," she said. "Mauna Kea and the forest are very dear to me." n TOP: Kala - Asing, MKFRP Coordinator, briefing the annual Palila counters on Mauna Kea. Photo © Chris Farmer/ABC n BOTTOM: MKFRP staff planting a ma - mane seedling in the northern Mauna Kea forest restoration area. Photo © Rob Stephens/MKFRP

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