About Us

Who We Are

There is a love for the lands, air, sunshine, and waters of Hawai’i 

With this love comes the kuleana, or responsibility
To care for and support this place that gives us life

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Which is why Ka’ahahui ‘o Ka Nāhelehele (Nāhelehele for short) was founded as a non-profit 501(c)(3) affiliate of the volunteer Dryland Forest Working Group (DFWG) to support the precious few remaining remnant dryland forest habitats. The active working Board believes that where there is responsibility and stewardship, there is hope.

The Mission of Nāhelehele

Our mission at Nāhelehele is to facilitate and advocate for:

  • Balanced scientific, cultural and economic uses of Hawaiian ecosystems that promote traditional ahupua`a-based management
  • Creation and support of cultural and educational programs for youth and adults about the history and importance of dry forests communities and their rich history
  • Perpetuation of native dry forest plants, insects and birds, many of which are endangered
  • Environmental restoration, protection, and conservation of dry forest habitats
  • Perpetuation and support of cultural uses and activities
  • Research on native dryland plants and ecosystems

Board of Directors
Mary Metcalf, President  –  Kathy Frost, Vice President  –  Lisa Hadway Spain, Treasurer  –  Peter Van Dyke, Secretary
Susan Cordell  –  Jen Lawson  –  Elliott Parsons  –  Sally Rice  –  Peter Simmons  –  Ron Terry  –  Jill Wagner

Mailing Address
PO Box 2933
Kamuela, HI 96743

Website concept, content and art design support:  TryLookInside.com (Yvonne Yarber Carter)

Who is the Dryland Forest Working Group that helped form Nāhelehele?

The Dryland Forest Working Group (DFWG) is an informal collective of passionate individuals from many walks of life who care deeply about native dry forests. They began as a handful in the early 1990s laboriously caring for a stand of neglected native trees in North Kona. The story is told of a small group who watched as one of the finest remaining stands of rare endangered Uhiuhi burned in a fire at Oweowe. Some say the despair of watching these ancient trees go up in flames is what moved them to band together with determination to do even more.  A site was chosen to research and demonstrate with a variety of strategies, that dry forest could be restored—and with time might inspire other efforts. Science partners and government agencies were vital to the efforts. In 1994 under the guidance of the DFWG, a demonstration project was designed and initiated with a signed;  “Cooperative Agreement Between the Hawaii Forest Industry Association and the US Fish and Wildlife Service for the Conservation of the Native Dryland Forest, North Kona, Hawaii.” The DFWG began their work, often on hands and knees, at Ka`ūpūlehu in the Kekaha lands of North Kona, which today is a thriving dry forest and proof that this ecosystem is restorable.

This website is a tribute to those early efforts and individuals. Without their positive thinking, hard work and tenacity, it is doubtful we would have the increased awareness, engagement and growing number of restoration projects that exist today in Hawai`i. The Dryland Forest Working Group began as a then uncommon collaboration between private landowners, lineal descendents, scientists, developers, botanists, ecologists, educators, neighbors, and agencies. Since those days, the early members are busy with a growing number of projects, sites and programs.  Many are presenters at the annual Nāhelehele Dryland Forest Symposium—sharing information and networking.

Some of the early DFWG partners: Hannah Kihalani Springer • Michael Tomich • Heather Cole & Family • Robert Cabin • Judy Hancock • Roger Harris • Marie Bruegmann • Peter Simmons • Lisa Hadway • Susan Cordell • Don Goo • Basil Hansen • Andrea Gill • Myra Ikeda • Sally Rice • Peter Van Dyke • Jill Wagner  • Brian Kiyabu •  Keoki Carter & Yvonne Yarber Carter • USFWS • National Tropical Botanical Garden • Hualalai Ranch • PIA • USDA Forest Service • Kamehameha Schools Bishop Estate • Bishop Museum’s Amy Greenwell Botanical Garden • US Army Pohakuloa Training Area • Hawai`i Forest Industry Association (HFIA) • State of Hawai`i DLNR and DOFAW

You are invited to learn more about the dry forest in this website and how you can also join in to help restore this native ecosystem.

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