(LĪHUʻE, KAUA‘I) – A display in the Līhuʻe Airport is showcasing the unique wildlife found on Kaua‘i and the threats it faces from invasive species.

The Garden Island Arts Council teamed up with Hallux Ecosystem Restoration, LLC, to create the large window display. As part of the ‘Year of the Forest Birds’ (ka Makahiki o Nā Manu Nahele), models and photos of Kaua‘i’s endemic birds and plants illustrate information about the uniqueness of these species, and the many local groups working to save them.

“I feel the connection to the birds in the forest is really an important part that everybody that lives here and visits here should really understand. They are like our messengers to tell us the health of the forest and to just be the indicator of things that are changing.  They’re the ones that seem to be the most impacted,” said Kat Ho of the Garden Island Arts Council.

The exhibit also educates viewers about invasive species putting the birds at risk. “In this display we highlight feral goats, feral pigs, feral cats, along with the variety of invasive plant species like strawberry guava, banana poka, blackberry and Himalayan ginger, the list goes on and on,” said Aliana Ho of Hallux Ecosystem Restoration. “A lot of folks are saying that they didn’t know that these species were not native to Hawai‘i, a lot of folks are saying that they’re really grateful for this information and they wish it was in more places, or that it was in every airport.”

A scannable QR code encourages people to interact and provide feedback about what they learned. The responses reflect a high level of engagement so far.

“Each of our islands has endemic species, bird species, that are only found on this specific island. And one of the things that I really would like visitors and residents that come here looking at this display to learn is how special this is, and how unique this is,” said Dr. Julia Diegmann planner at Kaua‘i Forest Bird Recovery Project. “They are important for the forest. They have ecosystem functions. They are important for the culture here in Hawai‘i. To me this is really, really important because it shows us how important and special they are and how much they are a part of the essence that makes Hawaiʻi, Hawaiʻi.”