Haleakalā Celebrates Nēnē Awareness Day, Logo Contest Winners
By Wendy Osher
Haleakalā National Park observes Nēnē Awareness Day today, Sept. 26, in celebration of the endangered species and the officials bird of the State of Hawaiʻi.
As part of the celebration, the park selected winning entrants in a student art contest, in which kids in grades 6 to 8 were invited to create a logo depicting why nēnē are special, or what can be done to protect them.
Three student artists from Maui Waena Intermediate School and a student from Kīhei Charter School were selected as winners.
The first place award went to Heather Angel Jane Ramos from Maui Waena for her entry, “Don’t Destroy the Nēnē’s Home.”
Park officials note that approximately 500 birds were released at the park through a captive propagation program, which began in 1962 and ended in the late 1970s.
According to the latest estimates released by the NPS in 2013, there were less than 300 nēnē left in the park. Park officials attributed the endangered status to “habitat loss and non-native predators, such as cats and mongoose, that eat eggs and prey on birds.”
At Haleakalā, the nēnē are known to frequent areas between the 5,500 and 8,000 foot elevation.
Other winners included:
- Second Place: Brissa Mae Natividad, of Maui Waena, for her work entitled “Clean Up Your Mess to Save the Nēnē’s Nest.”
- Third Place tie: Cherish Ramento of Maui Waena for her entry, “Watch Out and Let Them Cross”; and Hina Claerbout of Kīhei Charter School, for artwork entitled, “Let the Population of the Nēnē Take Flight.”
Park staff say each winning entry will receive prizes provided by Hawaiʻi Pacific Parks Association, a non-profit partner of Haleakalā National Park.
All artwork that was submitted will be displayed at the Haleakalā Visitor Center starting today. The entries will move to the Maui County Fair next weekend, for viewing at the arts and crafts tent.