The Amazing Women Who Work In Resources Management

The Amazing Women Who Work In Resources Management

National park resource managers, who are biologists, ecologists, and botanists, act as stewards for some of the rarest plants and animals on earth. The national parks sites in Hawaiʻi, justly famous for their lava flows, ocean views, stargazing and coastal trails, are also entrusted with the cultural legacy of the Native Hawaiian people.

In our nearly-86-year history of partnering with national parks, HPPA has funded programs and projects that support treasured and important natural and cultural resources. National parks resource managers are stewards of very precious, often irreplaceable, animals, plants, and places, and we would like to introduce you to two of them in the following paragraphs.

Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park is home to “about 60 species listed as endangered or threatened,” says botanist Sierra McDaniel, “so we protect large areas for all species.” Hawaiian forest birds are supported by using fences to protect native forests, but there are a few plants and other animals that need extra help. This park has a long history of working with partners, even across and outside of park boundaries, to manage and protect key habitat for Hawaiian petrels, Hawaiian geese (called nēnē), and hawksbill sea turtles that nest on remote beaches in the park’s vast backcountry and on beaches owned by park neighbors.

Supervisory Wildlife Biologist Cathleen Bailey came to Haleakalā National Park 31 years ago, she says, “To ensure that all park activities, either by staff or by visitors, don’t impact wildlife.” The work she spearheads as head of the park's Endangered Wildlife Program is mandated by the Endangered Species Act. Her team puts a lot of investment into closely monitoring Hawaiian petrel nests, eggs, chicks, and newly fledged youngsters, and they do the same for the nēnē. When an egg makes the journey to a fully flying adult, they celebrate. Bailey says, “There are many programs managing different aspects of the park’s ecosystems,” but she concentrates on the birds. Hawaiian petrels, or ʻuaʻu, nest in the spring and summer in the highest cliffs in the park at 7,000 to 10,000ft above sea level, and can be heard calling—ooooooo ah ooooo—from their burrows in the rocks and cinder. 

It wasn’t that long ago that nēnē were extinct on Maui. Rangers and biologists reintroduced them in 1962 by carrying birds down into the park’s Summit Wilderness in boxes, with the help of the Maui Boy Scouts. Bailey’s team keeps a careful eye on their descendants in the park. The best moments she has, she says, “are when I share this experience with students working as interns in the park. I was here at the beginning of this work…it seems like we only just recently started counting petrels and nēnē, both of which were being impacted at the time. And suddenly it’s 31 years later.”

When asked to envision their parks 100 years from now, these scientists and managers readily supply their hopes: Bailey hopes for “management and interpretation based on Hawaiian culture.” As for McDaniel: “The best hope that I have is that I am setting the stage for the next generation, because I have this special gratitude for all of the scientists and managers that came before me. And that these organisms won't need us as much, because we helped them through these critical periods.”

To learn more about the wild birds in these national parks:

Hawaiʻi Volcanoes:


To support park programs by shopping nēnē and petrel plush:

Hawaiian petrels:

Nēnē: (restocking soon)



Hawaii Pacific Parks Association Location Map

Hawaiʻi Pacific Parks Association. P.O. Box 74 Hawaii National Park, 96718 HI