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April 16, 2003


Mayor Jeremy Harris today announced the selection of the National Audubon Society to operate Waimea Falls Park under a 30-year lease agreement with the City.  The Society will begin operating the park on June 26th of this year.  The 1,800-acre park includes 35 distinct gardens that are home to rare and endangered plants from throughout the world.  It also includes Hawaiian historic sites and a bird sanctuary.

“We are very pleased to announce this long-term partnership with the National Audubon Society,” said Mayor Jeremy Harris.  “They have the experience, the vision and the resources to care for this natural treasure.  The Society has nearly seven decades of experience in connecting people with nature.  Waimea Falls Park will be the first Audubon Center in Hawaii and will be an addition to the 78 community-based Audubon Centers already in operation or under development across the country. Under their stewardship, Waimea Falls Park will be able to achieve its full potential as a place of learning, conservation and recreation.”

 The Society was one of two qualified applicants that applied to the City’s request for proposals in March 2002.  They have already secured $1 million from the David and Lucile Packard Foundation as an initial operating endowment for the park, and anticipate raising another $250,000 in private funds during the first year of operation.  They are also committed to pursuing other public funding.  Revenue will also be generated from admission fees that could range from $2 for school groups to $8 for non-resident adults.

 Audubon program highlights:

     Institute of Cultural Learning – to offer single-day workshops to weekly series to semester-long courses covering traditional and modern Hawaiian topics taught by instructions from such institutions, as:

            -  University of Hawaii's Center for Hawaiian Studies

            -  Alu Like

            -  Na Pua Noeau

            -  Kamehameha Schools

            -  Maka'ainana Foundation

Cultural Steering Committee - to determine a strategic plan to address the protection, enhancement and interpretation of the cultural resources of the vally.  Members could include:

             -  Office of Hawaiian Affairs

             -  Alu Like

             -  Hawaiian scholars

             -  Others with expertise in traditional practices

Botanical Steering - Committeeto guide the management of park's botanical collection with an emphasis on Hawaiian ecosystems and island ecology.  Members could represent:

              - Waimea Arboretum Foundation

              - Other botanical gardens

              - Other interested parties 

Conservation Steering Committee - to protect existing biological resources and the ongoing term ecological restoration of the uncultivated portions of the valley.


Monday, April 21, 2003

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