Case Study from Hawaii – Purpose, Vision and Values in Forest Bird Conservation

Case Study

Hanna Mounce is a colleague who leads the Maui Forest Bird Recovery Project. A very good summary article of the challenges which her team face is described in an Audubon article on their efforts to restore high altitude ecosystems in Maui, Hawaii. As a leader Hanna  has to ensure that her team are purposeful, buy into a meaningful vision which steers the direction and planning of work and have a common value system which makes sense to the team and can be recognisable to outsiders.

The purpose of the team is to protect and recover the island’s endangered species and ecosystems (particularly the forest bird species).

The vision is to restore high altitude ecosystems which will provide malaria free habitats protected against the effects of climate change. This vision is not so much about restoring lost landscapes (a ‘nice to have’ option) but is linked to and justified by the fundamental purpose of the project – these new landscapes will become the last wild refuge for endemic species as malaria encroaches lower altitude habitats.

The values of the team include a persistent belief that conservation of Maui’s endemic species is feasible and worthwhile. The species are not a lost cause, the work is not an excuse for a career in field conservation. The team members believe that the work is valuable, meaningful and will make a difference.


Jarvis B. (2015) How Scientists are Racing to Save a Rare Bird From Extinction. Audubon, Sept-October.

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