Two long-term employees of Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park recently announced their retirement after many years of service:
Clarence “Aku” Hauanio retired May 30, 2014 after 29 years of service to Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park.
NPS Photo of Aku Hauanio
Aku worked for the Natural Resources Management division as a pest control worker, and was devoted to protecting the endangered species within the park, including the nēnē (endemic Hawaiian goose), and the ‘u‘au (Hawaiian petrel).
Residents of Kalapana, Aku and his ‘ohana (family) created a legacy at the park by serving the NPS for four generations. His grandfather, John Pa‘i Hauanio, Sr., worked here, as did Aku’s father, John Pa‘i Hauanio Jr., who built the rock wall and park sign that welcome visitors entering from the south. The much-photographed grove of coconut palms trees on the makai (ocean) side of the end of Chain of Craters Road was planted by John Jr., and marks the ancient Hawaiian village of Panau. Aku’s sons, Kainoa and Ikua, have both worked and volunteered at the park.
Aku’s influence on the park community is extraordinary. He worked in several program areas, including Protection, Maintenance, and Natural Resources Management. He worked on backcountry trails, built miles and miles of fence, and removed invasive, non-native weeds to protect native plant and animal communities in the park. According to his field supervisor, Nēnē Recovery Project Manager Kathleen Misajon, Aku’s hard work and dedication to the program over the past 10 years has greatly contributed to an increase in the park’s population from 152 to 250 wild birds.
“Aku contributed his skills to many aspects of our program, from fencing projects and feral animal control to monitoring nests and helping band the endangered geese,” Misajon said.
Aku is also a canoe builder, and inspired a community of outrigger canoe paddlers, dedicating countless hours to coaching teams that paddled together competitively, and for fun. An avid fisherman who uses traditional Hawaiian as well as modern techniques, Aku is looking forward to spending more time on the ocean during his retirement. He will continue to live in and care for Kalapana with family.
Gail Minami-Judd retired from Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park on May 31, 2014, following 31 years of dedication to the National Park Service (NPS). She served as the Supervisory Park Ranger and Kīlauea District Ranger for the Protection Division since 1990.
NPS Photo of Gail Minami-Judd by David Boyle.
Gail began her career at the USS Arizona Memorial on O‘ahu in 1983, graduated from the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center in 1986, then transferred to Hawai‘i Volcanoes in 1987 as a Visitor and Resource Protection Ranger. Her supervisor, Chief Ranger Talmadge Magno, describes her career as “exemplary.”
“We recognize and applaud Gail for her dedication to the mission of the NPS in protecting the natural and cultural features of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park, and providing the leadership to maintain the safety of staff and visitors in this dynamic environment,” Magno said.
Gail’s support for the Pacific Island Network, Pacific West Region, and national programs are also noted, and she achieved numerous accolades and certifications, including achieving and maintaining a Level 1 law enforcement commission for 28 years; obtaining the level of short-haul spotter in aviation; emergency medical technician; park scuba diver; and wildland firefighter and structural firefighter.
“Gail’s service as Operations Chief and Incident Commander as well as Acting Chief Ranger during numerous periods and serious incidents and natural disasters were key to the success of each operation and a testament to her high level of expertise and dedication,” Magno said.
Some of these noted operations included:
- The Department of the Interior (DOI) Special Commendation for HAVO Drug Law Enforcement Program, 1989
- DOI Excellence of Service for Park Ranger Rescue Team, 1990
- Excellence of Service Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō Rescue, 1993
- Excellence of Service Emergency Response Big Island Air Crash, 1999
Gail also earned the Julie Cross Women in Law Enforcement Memorial in 1988. More recently, Gail’s leadership with eruption operations led to the Andrew Clark Hecht Memorial Public Safety Achievement Award in 2009 for the mitigation of hazards and high levels of SO2 associated with the current eruptions.
Gail will remain in Volcano with her husband, former park criminal investigator Jeff Judd, and their three children.
Filed under: aloha, Announcements, Big Island, Environment, Hawaii, Hawaiian | Tagged: Clarence “Aku” Hauanio, Gail Minami-Judd, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park | Leave a comment »