Pond facilities open Saturday

The Kealia Pond National Wildlife Refuge visitor center and Kanuimanu Ponds public viewing area will be open on Saturday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.

“This will be the last Saturday we will be open until later in the year,” said Glynnis Nakai, refuge manager, “Although the refuge is open during weekdays, we want to give an opportunity for those that work during the week to get outdoors and visit their neighborhood refuge.”

She said that the migratory birds are still at the pond but will be departing to their breeding grounds in North America within the next month. Those attending also may see the endangered Hawaiian stilt, or ae’o, and the Hawaiian coot alaekeokeo.

There will be special activities throughout the day, including wetland bingo, presentations and opportunities to see nature up close at the Discovery Table.

Although there will be no formal guided tours, refuge staff and volunteers will be available to provide information and answer questions.

After checking in at the visitor center upon arrival to the refuge, visitors may tour the interpretive exhibit hall in the visitor center and view native birds in a wetland environment. Visitors are encouraged to bring binoculars and wear appropriate sun protection clothing.

Refuge volunteers will be sharing their expertise and talents with hands-on learning sessions:

* Visitors may bring their pads and pencils and join artist Paula Sandefur in “An Art Experience” and learn how to draw wetland birds from 9 to 11 a.m.

* Sonny Gamponia will give a presentation titled “Wetland Wonders” from 11 a.m. to noon in the visitor center with a follow-up bird-watching walk at the ponds from noon to 12:45 p.m.

* “America’s National Wildlife Refuge System: Where Wildlife Comes First,” an 11-minute movie about the National Wildlife Refuges in the U.S, will be shown throughout the day.

The refuge is located at Milepost 6 on Mokulele Highway.