Kealia Pond National Wildlife Refuge

Exhibits, Experiential Environments, Parks & Recreation

Location: United States Fish and Wildlife Service, Department of the Interior, Kealia and Maui, Hawaii

Designer: The Alchemy of Design, Portland, Oregon

Fabricator: ACME Scenic and Display, Portland, Oregon

Kealia Pond National Wildlife Refuge supports two endangered native birds – the Hawaiian stilt and the Hawaiian Coot, which depend on the Refuge’s 691-acre wetland located at the base of five rivers and two watersheds.

In 2010, the Refuge was mandated to develop a visitor center to educate the public about the endangered birds, the wetland that supports them, and the larger ecosystem that makes the wetland possible. US Fish and Wildlife Region 1 selected Alchemy of Design for this complex project.

Alchemy used native Hawaiian objects, textures, and graphic styles featuring quotes of what the land and animals mean to native Hawaiians, presenting several ways to interpret this unique habitat.

Oversized, graphically enhanced Hawaiian poi bowls told the story of the birds’ diet. A map with oversized picture postcards introduced visiting migratory birds and the long distances they travel, and large format photos displayed the view of the watershed and land use.