Celebrate conservation

KILAUEA — Areas that are normally off-limits to the public within the Kauai National Wildlife Refuge Complex will be open for tours starting today, in celebration of National Wildlife Refuge Week.

An annual event that celebrates wildlife refuges nationwide, the week is full of lighthouse tours, talk story sessions, and a free day on Saturday.

And activities are stacking up all week at Kilauea Point, according to a press release from Jennifer Waipa, visitor services manager at KNWRC.

“Refuges conserve wildlife and wild spaces, protect sensitive areas and species, aid against erosion and flooding and purify water and air,” Waipa said. “They also enrich human lives.”

Nationwide, refuges put $2.4 billion annually into the economy and are home to more than 35,000 jobs.

On Kauai, the event kicks off today with artist and former park ranger Patrick Ching, who will be signing prints and talking story about his recent projects.

Ching will be signing books and painting bird feet, which he’ll also be doing Friday.

“Come out to Kilauea point and hang out with the rest of us animals,” he said.

Lighthouse tours, with tickets required, are scheduled for Wednesday and Saturday, and block print demonstrations with Caren Loebel-Fried are set for Thursday and Saturday.

Wednesday, Pacific Rim Conservation project manager Lindsay Young will offer a hiking tour of Nihoku, known as Crater Hill, where a predator-proof area has been created for Kauai’s endangered seabirds.

Completed in September of 2014, the $3,000 predator-proof fence encloses seven acres in total and has now been the site of two successful seabird relocations.

A third group of Newell’s shearwater chicks are currently nestled in Nihoku’s manmade burrows, gaining weight and getting ready to fledge.

Thursday, Outfitters Kauai will be leading a morning kayak paddle along the Hule’ia River, with a short hike to Kipu included.

After, Waipa will be at the Hule’ia National Wildlife Refuge with information about wetland management.

Reservations and tickets are required for some events.

More info: fws.gov/kilaueapoint or 635-0925

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