Careers in Conservation

This page contains information on our Careers in Conservation resources for Maui County high school and college students. Below you will find recording of past presentations and events, as well as links to outside resources. You will also find information on upcoming events in the 2022-23 school year.

Career Exploration Days

As part of our Careers in Conservation series, Maui Huliau Foundation and our program partners are again inviting Maui high school and college students to participate in two in-person events where students can learn hands-on career skills from professionals working to protect Maui’s natural resources and ecosystems from mauka to makai. The Makai event in Maʻalaea on November 6th will focus on careers in marine science fields, and the Mauka event in ʻĪao Valley on November 13th will focus on careers in freshwater, watershed, and native forest protection. Both events are free and will feature activity stations run by local professionals working in these fields, as well as information tables featuring volunteer, internship, and employment opportunities.

Watch this video to see highlights from last year’s events!

 Youth ages 13-21 (grades 8-12 or college-age youth) are welcome to apply using the button here and we will contact you with more details. Spots are limited.

Sunday November 6th 8:30am-2pm

Makai Event Overview:

  • 8:30- Registration
  • 8:45- Intro activity in groups
  • 9:00- First two activity rotations (see below)
  • 10:45- Lunch and info tables:
  • 12:00- Second two activity rotations (see below)
  • 1:45- Closing activity and mahalo
  • 2:00- Event ends

Students will be in four groups of 8-12 rotating between all four activity stations. Two groups will eat lunch at a time, while the other two visit the information tables.

    Makai Activity Stations 

    Join Maui Ocean Center’s team of ocean experts for an immersive experience in animal husbandry & public education. Journey behind-the-scenes to learn about exhibit care with our curatorial team and experience first-hand the skills used for animal husbandry.. Engage with guests alongside our marine naturalists at the popular Tide Pool exhibit, where you’ll apply vital public speaking skills firsthand to impart conservation tips to our curious guests.

    Presented by:

    Maui Ocean Center

    MOC Marine Institute’s team of biologists work to inspire lifelong environmental stewardship and ensure the survival of coral reefs and sea turtles in Hawaiʻi through science-based conservation efforts, education, and outreach. In this station, students will learn about sea turtles and corals in Hawaiʻi during educational sessions and have the opportunity to learn about the medical care and attention needed to rehabilitate an injured sea turtle. They will also learn about the importance of reefs and the process of propagation to establish a coral plate.

    Presented by:

    Maui Ocean Center Marine Institute

    The Maui Nui Seabird Recovery Project (MNSRP) works to protect and restore seabirds and their habitats in Maui Nui. To accomplish their mission, the team monitors seabirds in the field, tracks predators, collects and processes data, and recovers downed seabirds. The success of the project is dependent on community support, so education and outreach is fundamental to everything they do. Everyone can be a seabird guardian by learning how to identify seabirds and how to protect them from threats. At the seabird station, students will learn how to identify seabirds and take standard morphometric measurements. They will help with processing camera trap data from the field, and assess seabird and predator behavior. Finally, they will learn the proper steps to take if they find a downed seabird.

    A second station activity focused on the various types of marine debris that are commonly found washed ashore, and how these items threaten the survival of our native wildlife (and how to help), will be run by SHARKastics. 

    Presented by:

    Maui Nui Seabird Recovery Project

    Sharkastics

    Hui O Ka Wai Ola is a community-based coastal water quality monitoring program. Learn how residents voluntarily test water at 29 sites across leeward Maui through hands-on activities to infer the health of our ocean water and coral reefs. We also emphasize the importance of understanding changes in water quality over time through highlighting and demonstrating the effects of ocean acidification on coral reefs and other marine organisms. Staff from Maui Nui Marine Resource Council’s Hui o Ka Wai Ola water quality monitoring program will also lead students in testing water samples from Maʻalaea and learning about the factors that affect nearshore water quality.

    Presented by:

    MNMRC’s  Hui o Ka Wai Ola program

    Sunday November 13th 8:30am-12pm

    Mauka Event Overview:

    • 8:30- Registration
    • 8:45- Opening protocol by Ke Kula o Piʻilani
    • 9:00- First two activity rotations (see below)
    • 10:35- Snack break and outreach tables
    • 11:10- Third activity rotation
    • 11:55- Closing Protocol: Oli Mahalo
    • 12:00- Event ends

    Students will be in three groups of 8-12 rotating between all four activity stations.

    *Please note we’ve had a change of schedule and the event is now ending at 12:00 pm.

      Mauka Activity Stations

      Two of Maui’s watershed partnerships are collaborating to engage students in interactive, hands-on activities that will introduce them to the technologies and methodologies that are used in backcountry fieldwork to protect and perpetuate Maui’s native forests.

      Presented by:

      Mauna Kahālāwai Watershed Partnership

      East Maui Watershed Partnership

      Maui Forest Bird Recovery Project will provide a short introduction to the work we do at MFBRP, give background information on some of Mauiʻs native bird species, provide examples of how to identify native bird species, and complete a hands-on activity showcasing tools and techniques used in the field to help monitor native bird populations.

      Presented by:

      Maui Forest Bird Recovery Project

      This two part station will highlight careers at two branches of the Department of Land and Natural Resources.

      Activity 1: Uncle Skippy Hau, who recently retired after 36 years working for the Department of Aquatic Resources will teach students about native stream life and their habitat. Students will get to see native stream life up close, learn to measure hihiwai, and even release ‘oʻopu, ʻopae and hihiwai into Wailuku stream (weather permitting).

      Activity 2: Where in the wild? Where does your water come from? Where are the native species on Maui and who helps take care of them? Map-out the answers with Jeff Bagshaw from the State’s Division of Forestry and Wildlife.

      Presented by:

      Department of Land & Natural Resources (State of Hawai’i)

      Conservation Career Resources

      Below are internships, jobs, scholarships, career exploration resources, and volunteer opportunities for youth interested in environmental career fields. Resources will be added and updated periodically.

      College & University Programs

      The University of Hawaiʻi Maui College is a public accredited college in Kahului, Maui. It is one of ten branches of the University of Hawaiʻi system offering a variety of bachelor and associate degrees. 

      The UH System includes 10 campuses including 3 universities and 7 community colleges throughout the state of Hawaiʻi. Visit the UH System website to learn more about the different campuses and programs offered. Below is a list of resources for different campuses. 

      Here is a list of private colleges in Hawaiʻi and resources to explore. 

       

       

       

      Upcoming Opportunities

      Below are upcoming internship, volunteer, and job opportunities. Visit the link under each opportunity to learn more.

      Join Mauna Kahālāwai Watershed Partnership

      Multiple field crew positions are open at Mauna Kahālāwai Watershed Partnership.

      Duties include:

      • backcountry fieldwork
      • invasive weed control
      • fence construction and maintenance
      • ungulate control
      • watershed monitoring
      • public outreach and education

      Must have:

      • high school diploma
      • ability to hike several miles over rough terrain
      • knowledge of Hawaiian ecosystems
      • positive, can-do attitude
      • desire to learn new things

      Employment is for a 20-week term. Hours are Monday through Thursday, 7:00am to 5:30pm.

      To apply, simply email your resume and cover letter through the MKWP contact form linked below.

      Little Fire Any Crew Member with MISC

      Little Fire Ant Crew Member (Temporary): 

      Protect Maui from invasive pests! The Maui Invasive Species Committee is hiring temporary field crew members to join the little fire ant crew. Positions can be part-time or full-time and will last for five months.

      • Employment type: Accepting resumes for full–time, temporary (no benefits) positions. Resumes must include three professional references and can be sent to Brooke Mahnken, mahnken@hawaii.edu.
      • Crew–specific responsibilities: As part of the little fire ant crew, your primary job duties will be surveying for and controlling little fire ants in varied terrain from residential backyards to uninhabited jungle. Work involves keeping detailed track of survey and treatment efforts using handheld GPS units, maintaining a positive relationship with landowners, and preparing and mixing pesticides. Some work will occur around helicopters.
      • Basic Qualifications: Must have a current driver’s license and high school diploma or GED equivalent.

      Coqui Field Crew Member with MISC

      Coqui Field Crew Member (temporary): 

      Protect Maui from invasive pests! The Maui Invasive Species Committee is hiring temporary field crew members to join the coqui crew. Positions can be part-time or full-time and will last for five months.

      • Employment type: Accepting resumes for part-time or full–time, temporary (no benefits) positions. Resumes must include a cover letter and three professional references.
      • Experience: Introductory level. Training will be provided, no experience is necessary.
      • Crew-specific responsibilities: Work involves mixing 50 lb. bags of citric acid into a 14% solution, hiking in rough terrain while carrying heavy fire hose to spray coqui frog infested areas, installing PVC pipelines, weed eating and mowing to remove coqui habitat, interacting with community members, and maintaining detailed records including GPS.
      • Basic Qualifications: Must have a current driver’s license, reliable personal transportation, and high school diploma or GED equivalent.

      Job Training, Internships & Fellowships

      Kupu Hawaiʻi

      Kupu Hawaiʻi offers a variety of hands-on opportunities for those interested in establishing a career within Conservation. Applications are open for the Conservation Leadership Development Program. Visit Kupu Hawaiʻi to learn more about this program and other opportunities.

      Nā Hua Hoʻohuli i Ka Pono

      Nā Hua Hoʻohuli i Ka Pono is an internship program based on the island of Maui to develop high-quality candidates for exiting conservation jobs and cultivate the leaders of tomorrow. Check the Conservation Connections site for upcoming opportunities for this program. 

      Conservation Compass Internships and Fellowships

      Conservation Career Compass lists internships, fellowships, and volunteer opportunities in the different environmental science fields in Hawaiʻi.

       

      Pai Ka Mana site shares a list of local scholarships for college-level students.

      The Conservation Compass site provides a list of scholarships available to students.

      The Office of Hawaiian Affairs lists scholarships available for Native Hawaiian students at any of the University of Hawaiʻi’s 10 campuses.

      The Hawaiʻi Community Foundation provides a wealth of financial support to qualified students. Visit HCF’s website to learn more about scholarship opportunities.

      Maui Huliau Foundation is offering (2) $2,500 scholarships. The scholarship is open to high school seniors graduating in the 2021-2022 academic year, including those who have not participated in any Huliau programs.

      Careers in Conservation Series

      These professionals participated in this year’s Careers in Conservation events: Marine Science, Watershed & Ecosystem Protection, and Environmental Educators & ʻĀina Stewards. In each presentation, they share about their career path, relevant past positions and experiences, formal/informal education, and advice for students interested in this field. You can also watch these presentations on our Careers in Conservation YouTube playlist.

       

      Conservation Career Profiles

      Below are the bios of the conservation professionals who have participated in past events.

      Mahalo to all our amazing partners for making our Careers in Conservation events possible!

      Kimberly Thayer

      Kimberly Thayer

      Program Associate, Mauna Kāhālawai Watershed Partnership

      Read Kim's bio

      Kim loves trees.  Raised in rural Haʻikū, she developed a deep love for Maui’s native forests and natural resources.  She attended James Cook University in Australia to earn an Honors degree in Anthropology. After returning home in 2007, she worked in land use planning before joining MKWP in 2012.  She loves her work here, helping to protect Mauna Kahālāwai’s forests and watersheds through public outreach and education, office management, and backcountry fieldwork. Kim also serves on the board of Ke Kula ʻo Piʻilani, leads hikes for The Nature Conservancy, and enjoys dancing hula and playing outdoors with her husband and two young keiki.
      Mark Deakos

      Mark Deakos

      Chief Sustainability Officer, 3-P Consulting

      Read Mark's bio

      In addition to 3-P Consulting, Mark has also been the Executive Director of the Hawaii Association for Marine Education and Research (HAMER) since 2004. He moved to Hawaiʻi in 1996 where he completed his master’s degree at UH studying humpback whale behavior and then completed his doctoral degree with a focus on manta ray ecology. He has since worked alongside top researchers worldwide, gaining familiarity with over 20 species of marine mammals. Mark is an Ambassador for the International Living Future Institute (ILFI) and recently founded 3-P Consulting, which applies successful, regenerative-design solutions to meet our needs here in Hawaiʻi and create a Living Future for everyone.

      Gerry Ross

      Gerry Ross

      Co-owner, Kupaʻa Farms

      Read Gerry's bio

      Gerry is co-owner and operator of Kupa’a Farms in Kula, which is dedicated to growing great food for our community in a sustainable manner that improves soil quality, reduces erosion, and diverts waste towards fertility. He has taught classes in sustainable agriculture for over 10 years on Maui. The farm currently grows vegetables, coffee, cacao, and tropical fruit on 4 acres in lower Kula.
      Sam Aruch

      Sam Aruch

      Founder, Natural Resource Data Solutions Inc

      Read Sam's bio

      Sam is the founder of Natural Resource Data Solutions Inc a place based project management software platform. The mobile and web apps are currently used to help manage over 2 million acres. Sam has a BS in Biology and Master of Geographic Information Systems  (MGIS). He has over 20 years of experience as a field biologist and Natural Resource Manager. He started NRDS over 10 years ago to help farmers, communities, resource managers and scientists collect, manage, and share their data.

      Larissa Treese

      Larissa Treese

      Maui Program Coordinator, Coral Reef Alliance

      Read Larissa's bio

      Larissa has nearly 20 years of animal husbandry and conservation experience. Larissa previously worked with Whale Trust as their Communications and Outreach Coordinator and also worked at Maui Ocean Center for more than 12 years. Larissa was born on Kauaʻi and has called Maui home for over 15 years after moving from Southern California. She appreciates the culture, diversity, and aloha spirit the island of Maui offers to those who live and visit here.
      Cheryl King

      Cheryl King

      Sharkastics

      Read Cherly's bio

      Cheryl is a marine biologist who has specialized in Hawaiian endangered species research, rescue and management for the last 21 years. Under the Hawai‘i Association for Marine Education and Research she runs the statewide photo-ID catalog for Hawaiian hawksbill sea turtles and her SHARKastics marine debris research and cleanup projects. She also works part time for the Maui Nui Seabird Recovery Project and the Sustainable Tourism Association of Hawai‘i . With Ocean Associates, she provides emergency support for NOAA Fisheries’ Marine Mammal Health and Stranding Response Program and volunteers for NOAA’s Large Whale Entanglement Response Network.
      Jill Wirt

      Jill Wirt

      Maui Nui Marine Resource Council

      Jill Wirt's bio

      Jill is the newest member of the Maui Nui Marine Resource Council team where she fills the role of Project and Research Coordinator. Originally from California, she moved to Maui after completing her BS in Environmental Sciences, where she spent three and a half years working in eco-tourism leading snorkeling and whale watching tours, managing social media accounts, volunteering at beach cleanups, and advocating for marine conservation. From 2018 to 2020, Jill completed her Master’s degree in Environmental Science and Management with a specialization in coastal and marine resource management. Jill recently completed a year-long internship with The Nature Conservancy and their marine program on Maui, where she utilized her skills in science communication, social media outreach, and project management. As she begins her career with MNMRC, she will be leading the Pesticide Education Project to reduce harmful pollutants from entering the marine environment. In her free time, she enjoys surfing, snorkeling, running, and paddling. Watch Jill’s presentations from our Marine Science Careers in Conservation event in October.

      Jen Vander Veur

      Jen Vander Veur

      Senior Program Manager, CORAL

      Read Jen's Bio

      Jennifer has enjoyed a passion for nature and the ocean her entire life. Jennifer followed her dream and attended the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo, receiving two Bachelor’s degrees in Marine Science and Conservation Biology. Upon graduation, she gained a position with the state of Hawaiʻi to establish the Aquatic Invasive Species Program on the island of Hawaiʻi.  Jennifer later completed a Master’s of Science in Marine Biology from Victoria University in Wellington, New Zealand. For the past 10 years she worked for the Kahoʻolawe Island Reserve Commission (KIRC) managing the marine resources around the island of Kahoʻolawe. Her work included fisheries management, protected species management, integrating traditional cultural resource management with modern scientific methods and community engagement. She believes that encouraging others to participate in ocean conservation is what will change the tide in restoring our world, and believes in practicing a holistic approach to conservation to ensure the future of communities and marine ecosystems. Watch Jen’s presentation from our Marine Science Careers in Conservation event in October.

      Chanel Browne

      Chanel Browne

      Sea Turtle Program Coordinator, MOC Marine Institute

      Read Chanel's Bio

      Chanel was born and raised on the island of Maui and has always had a passion for marine life. After graduating from Kamehameha Schools Maui in 2015, she spent the next 4 years in Northern California working towards her Bachelor’s in Biology. After obtaining a degree, she moved home with hopes of inspiring and educating others on the importance of marine conservation. As the Sea Turtle Program Coordinator at MOCMI, she is finally able to give back to the place that she loves most. Watch Chanel’s presentation from the marine Sceince event in October.  

      Allison Cleghorn

      Office of Climate Change, Resiliency, and Sustainability for the County of Maui

       

      Read Allison's Bio

      Allison is the newest member of the Office of Climate Change, Resiliency, and Sustainability for the County of Maui where she manages grants for Environmental Protection serves as a county environmental representative, and helps develop critical action plans to strengthen Maui County in the face of Climate Change. Born and raised in Kula, Maui, Allison graduated from Seabury Hall in 2011 and received her Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Colorado with a focus in energy in 2015. Prior to joining the county, Allison worked in local agriculture, forestry, energy efficiency, utility management, solar power, invasive species control, and marine conservation. In her free time, she enjoys free-diving, spending time on Haleakala Ranch, spending time in family orchards, and traveling. Watch Allison’s presentation here from the Sustainable Infrastruture, Policy and Planning virtual event on March 22nd, 2022. 

      Jessica Colla

      Jessica Colla

      Education Director, Maui Ocean Center

      Read Jessica's bio

      Jessica directs a team of professional Marine Naturalists, who provide guests with educational opportunities meant to inspire wonder, understanding, and respect for Hawai’i’s marine life. Jessica has a Bachelor’s degree in both Environmental Sciences and Ecotourism from Ferrum College in Virginia and a Master’s degree in Marine Sciences and Management from the University of Sydney in Australia. Prior to working at Maui Ocean Center, she worked for several snorkeling and whale watching excursions in Maui, Australia, and Fiji. Jessica is also a scuba diving instructor and divemaster who loves to advocate for ocean conservation!

       

      Patty Miller

      Patty Miller

      Education Coordinator, NOAA's HIHWNMS

      Read Patty's bio

       Patty Miller is the education coordinator for NOAA’s Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary.  The sanctuary is located in Kihei, Maui and features a visitor center and provides programs for adults and students.  Patty oversees the programs and large group of volunteers that work there.  The sanctuary also conducts research on the humpback whales and serves as the lead for disentangling whales stranded in the Hawaiian waters.

      Denby Freeland

      Denby Freeland

      Waiheʻe Educator, Hawaiʻi Land Trust

      Read Denby's bio

      Denby grew up stomping through mud puddles and hiking valley trails on Oʻahu and Maui.  She has worked in the Environmental Education field for over 20 years.  Denby earned a Bachelor’s degree in Anthropology and a Master’s of Education. Designing new lesson plans and spending time outside with others is what makes it all worthwhile.
      Rachel Kingsley

      Rachel Kingsley

      ʻAlalā Restoration, Education, and Outreach Associate

      Read Rachel's bio

      Rachel grew up in the northern part of Minnesota and earned her BS in Wildlife Ecology at the University of Wisconsin Stevens Point. After graduating, she worked at the Keauhou Bird Conservation Center in Volcano for 10 years, while also earning her masterʻs in Zoology from Miami University. In 2017 she joined The ʻAlalā Project and this year she will be joining the Maui Forest Bird Restoration Project team to help share the message of Maui forest birds.
      Kaimana Bingham

      Kaimana Bingham

      Aloha + Dashboard and Partnerships Manager, Hawai’i Green Growth

      Read Kaimana's bio

      Before joining Hawai’i Green Growth, Kaimana worked for the State of Hawai’i Enterprise Technology Services branch where she implemented the first State Executive Branch IT Roadmap and Dashboard. Kaimana also participated as a stakeholder for the State of Hawai’i IT Strategic Plan. She recently served as a panelist for the Hawai’i Virtual Digital Government Summit and as a sponsor for the ETS 2020 HACC program.

      Margaret Pulver

      Margaret Pulver

      Public Information Specialist, Kahoʻolawe Island Reserve Commission

      Read Maggie's bio

      Maggie has lived, learned, and taught in Hawaiʻi for the last 16 years. She first became involved with Kaho’olawe in 2012 as a volunteer and is excited to have landed her dream job. Prior to being the KIRC Public Information Specialist, Maggie spent more than 10 years as a teacher and community educator, developing an adaptable and integrated service learning curriculum rooted in Hawaiian culture and place, and interwoven with community.

      Scott Crawford

      Scott Crawford

      Executive Director, Kīpahulu ʻOhana

      Read Scott's bio

      Scott has worked with Kīpahulu ʻOhana for the last 20 years, supporting traditional Hawaiian agriculture, shoreline, and forest management. He is the Chair for Ke Ao Haliʻi since 2018, and the Secretary for Nā Mamo O Mūʻolea since 2005, helping to manage precious conservation lands in East Maui for traditional subsistence lifestyle, from mauka to makai. He has been a part of the Maui Nui Makai Network, serving as poʻo/chair in 2015, helping connect communities across Maui Nui to care for and restore healthy ecosystems on which Hawaiʻi’s people depend.
      Jay Penniman

      Jay Penniman

      Maui Nui Seabird Recovery Project

       

      Read Jay's Bio

      Jay Penniman earned a B.S. at Portland State University (Oregon) in 1977. He has worked as an independent contractor doing forestry, wildlife and vegetation surveys, management and assessment. At the Point Reyes Bird Observatory, he was employed as a biologist on South East Farallon Island, 26 miles west of San Francisco. There he was a member of the team of biologists who ran the remote research station monitoring 13 breeding bird species and 4 marine mammal species. He also performed at-sea surveys for seabirds and marine mammals in the near and offshore waters of the northwest coast of North America. Since 2006 he has worked for the Pacific Cooperative Studies Unit of the University of Hawaii managing the Maui Nui Seabird Recovery Project. When not recovering and rescuing seabirds Jay enjoys bird watching, reading, gardening, cooking and walking. Watch Jay’s presentation from the Watershed and Ecosystem Protection event in December. 

      Taylor Fujimoto

      Taylor Fujimoto

      Hawaiʻi Nature Center

      Read Taylor's Bio

      Taylor Fujimoto is the Education Program Manager for the Hawaii Nature Center. Taylor’s job involves creating environmental lesson plans for students grades pre k through 5th. These lessons are designed to increase awareness, appreciation, and understanding of Hawai‘i’s natural habitats. In addition to developing science-based lessons, Taylor gets to take students directly into Hawai‘i’s nature, where he provides hands-on learning experiences from the mesic forests to our beaches!

      Taylor received a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Studies from the University of San Francisco and has been working in the education and non-profit sector for the past eight years. If you can’t find him out hiking and camping, he is probably out surfing with friends and family! Watch Taylor’s presentation from the Environmental Educators & ʻĀina Stewards event.

      Laʻakea Low

      Laʻakea Low

      Recycling Specialist, County of Maui

       

      Read Laʻakea's Bio

      Laʻakea is a Recycling Specialist with the County of Maui Department of Environmental Management, Environmental Protection & Sustainability Division. Born on Maui and raised in the moku of Hamakuapoko – ahupuaʻa of Makawao – Laʻakea graduated from King Kekaulike H.S., earned a Bachelor of Sustainable Science Management degree with a Forestry focus from University of Hawaiʻi Maui College, and attained a Master of Natural Resources degree with an Urban Forestry emphasis from Oregon State University. His current work with the EP&S Division related to sustainable infrastructure, policy, and planning includes the implementation of Ordinance No. 5084, regulating and limiting the use of plastic disposable foodware. Interests include mālama ʻāina initiatives, empowering Maui Nui communities, and amplifying the voices of Lāhui Hawaiʻi.​

      Dav Yuan

      Dav Yuan

      Education Coordinator, Alakaʻina Maui Digital Bus

      Read Dav's bio

       Dav was born in Maryland, raised in Belgium, and has lived in Hawai’i since 2010. He is the Education Coordinator for the Alakaʻina Maui Digital Bus, whose goal is to engage students in hands on science and cultural projects throughout Maui Nui. He has a BA in tropical biology and an MS in biology (with a focus on conservation education). As much as he loves the research and hands on work in the field of conservation, he found his passion is sharing his fascination and knowledge with students. Throughout his career, he has been a research scientist, high school science teacher, boat crew, and rock climbing guide. 

      Tara Owens

      Tara Owens

      Extension Faculty, University of Hawaiʻi Sea Grant College Program

      Read Tara's bio

      Tara Owens specializes in coastal processes and coastal hazards.Partnered with the County of Maui Planning Department, Tara’s role is to “bridge the gap” between science and planning for improved conservation of coastal resources and community resilience. Tara earned aBachelor of Science degree in marine science from Coastal Carolina University, and a Master of Science degree in coastal geology from the University of Hawaii. While coastal issues are more challenging than ever in the face of sea level rise, Tara loves working on real-world, community issues that are always interesting and keep her “on her toes”. Watch Tara’s presentation here from the Sustainable Infrastruture, Policy and Planning virtual event on March 22nd, 2022.
      Don Shearer

      Don Shearer

      President of Windward Aviation

      Read Don's bio

      Don started flying as a senior in high school. He later became a flight instructor in both airplanes & helicopters & worked as an FAA production test pilot. After working for various operators, Don started Windward Aviation, Inc in 1990. He has since had the opportunity to work on extraordinary projects, including searching for ordinances, movie productions, & saving lives through his work with police & fire departments. Don has been instrumental in the creation of Herbicide Ballistic Technology, which targets alien plant species that harm Hawaiʻi’s native ecosystem. Passionate about environmental conservation, Don has worked with local & national agencies in some of the most remote areas to assist in the eradication of invasive species.  
      Tamara Farnsworth

      Tamara Farnsworth

      Manager, County of Maui Environmental Protection & Sustainability Division

      Read Tamara's bio

      Tamara oversees waste reduction and recycling programs in Maui County. She began her Zero Waste career with the City & County of Honolulu in 2009, moving to Maui County in 2013, becoming certified in Zero Waste Principles and Practices in 2019. She is passionate about working with the community to shift mindsets and behaviors while working with the county to implement and enforce sustainability policies.
      Tamara Sherrill

      Tamara Sherrill

      Executive Director, Maui Nui Botanical Gardens

      Read Tamara's bio

      Tamara was the MNBG’s Nursery Manager and Curator from 2002-2005 and helped collect and establish the Gardens’ current collection of plants. She was active with the Native Plant Society during this time, the organization that assisted Rene Sylva in the creation of the Garden in the late 1980’s. Since 2009, she has prioritized building and verifying the Gardens’ collection of pre-European contact Hawaiian varieties of kō, kalo, mai‘a, ‘uala, and ‘awa. In 2015, she began working to improve MNBG’s seed storage capacity to assist natural area managers in Maui County.
      Eden Zang

      Eden Zang

      Research Specialist, Lynker LLC

      Read Eden's bio

      Eden has worked in Hawaiʻi for over ten years with private, state and federal organizations. Her professional experience includes expertise in passive acoustic monitoring, marine mammal research, scientific diving, animal husbandry, logistics coordination, and protected species management. In her current role as Research Specialist at the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary (contractor), she leads many field operations, including vessel transect efforts to estimate humpback whale densities.
      Adam Wong

      Adam Wong

      DLNR Department of Aquatics

      Read Adam's Bio

      Adam K. Wong, was born and raised in Kula, Maui.  He was raised in a Paniolo lifestyle learning the importance of caring for all of our resources. A proud honors graduate from the Hawaii public school system, he then went away to Oregon State University in Corvallis to study his passion in natural resource management.  Adam finished his NREM degree infusing Hawaiian Studies and Ahupuaʻa management at the University of Hawaii at Manoa in 2004.  Adam has been a very active member in the Maui community.  He was formerly the Director of Campus Outreach for Kamehameha Schools Maui, and is now employed with the State of Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources, Aquatic Resources Division.   He is a part-time rancher, fisherman, and in his free time he enjoys teaching his children sustainability through the traditions of mauka to makai living.  Watch Adam’s presentation from the Marine Science Careers in Conservation event in October. 

      Alana Yurkanin

      Alana Yurkanin

      Maui Marine Project Manager, The Nature Conservancy

      Read Alana's bio

      Born and raised in Waikapū, Maui, Alana graduated from Baldwin High School in 2005, received her bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science from Colorado College in 2009, and her master’s degree in Environmental Science and Management from UC Santa Barbara’s Bren School in 2014. She now works as The Nature Conservancy’s Maui Marine Project Manager where she collaborates with community and agency partners to advance initiatives such as marine area planning and designations, community-based learning networks, and monitoring of ‘opihi, fish, and coral. She lives in Kula with her family and a multitude of adorable farm animals. Watch Alana’s presentation from our Marine Science Careers in Conservation event.

      Lance D Collins, PhD

      Lance D Collins, PhD

      Law Office of Lance D Collins

       

      Read Lance's Bio

      Lance D. Collins is an attorney in private practice focusing on good government law and Hawaiian and environmental rights. He also has a Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa. His research interests focus on the comparative legal histories of Hawai’i and the Philippines before and during the American colonial period. He serves on the Board of Directors of Kāhuli Leo Leʻa, the Board of Trustees of the international Philippine Studies Association, the Executive Board of the Kamehameha V Judiciary History Center, and the State Advisory Board for Common Cause Hawai’i. Watch Lance’s presentation here from the Sustainable Infrastruture, Policy and Planning virtual event on March 22nd, 2022.

      Olena Alec

      Olena Alec

      Executive Director, Haleakalā Conservancy

      Read Olena's bio

      Olena oversees the philanthropic efforts to provide funding for projects of critical importance to Haleakalā National Park and its unique and endangered resourcesOlena comes to the Conservancy most recently from The Climate Reality Project, where she served as the director of engagement, guiding the support, engagement, and strategy of tens of thousands of climate activists for seven years. She served in the Peace Corps in Nicaragua and holds an MPA in Environmental Science and Policy from Columbia University and a Bachelor of Environmental Studies from USC. Olena is born and raised here in Maui and lives in Iao Valley with her husband and daughter.

       

      Kapua Chang

      Kapua Chang

      Maui Program Manager, Hawaiʻi Nature Center.

      Read Kapua's bio

      Kapua has been working in the education field for 15 years and has a deep passion for environmental and conservation education specifically. Mālama ‘Āina is a value she was raised with, and with that comes the kuleana of protecting Hawaii’s unique ecosystems and natural resources.

      Hōkūao Pellegrino

      Hōkūao Pellegrino

      Kamehameha Schools, Maui & Nohoʻana Farm

      Read Hōkūao's bio

      Hōkūao is the ‘Āina & Sustainability Learning Designer & Facilitator at Kamehameha Schools Maui Campus where he teaches ‘āina-based sustainability programs and works to implement campus sustainability measures. He also leads ‘āina-based community education programs at Noho’ana Farm, his ‘ohana’s taro farm in Waikapū, and is actively involved in multiple community groups.

      Kailie Aina

      Kailie Aina

      Outreach Coordinator and Cultural Programs Liaison, Leeward Haleakalā Watershed Restoration Partnership

      Read Kailie's bio

       Kailie was born and raised in Maui and has been working in conservation since completing her senior project with Auwahi Forest Restoration Project in 2014. Her interest in protecting our native ecosystems led her to pursue an education focusing on Hawaiian language, culture, and anthropology to deepen her understanding of, and relationship with, the ʻāina. Her current work involves educating others about the importance of our watersheds, and the connection between culture and conservation.
      Serena Fukushima

      Serena Fukushima

      Public Relations and Education Specialist, Maui Invasive Species Committee

      Read Serena's bio

      Serena is from Kāneʻohe and has lived in Kula for the last nine years. She holds a Bachelors Degree in Environmental Studies and a Masters Degree in Education. Before working at MISC, her former positions were as Program Manager for the Nā Hua Hoʻohuli i ka Pono Conservation Leadership Program, and Program Assistant for the Kū No Ka Pono O Haleakalā Internship Programs at Haleakalā National Park. Serena believes that to protect Hawaiʻi’s unique environment, we must cultivate the next generation of conservation leaders through direct mentorship, professional development, field experiences, and community outreach.

      Jeff Bagshaw

      Jeff Bagshaw

      Communications & Outreach Specialist (Maui Nui), Hawai'i Division of Forestry & Wildlife.

      Read Jeff's bio

      Jeff came to Hawai’i for a field studies program with The Evergreen State College in 1988 where he fell in love with the forests, reefs, and culture. He decided to stay as a volunteer at Haleakalā National Park monitoring seabirds and building fences and also worked at the Hawaiʻi Nature Center. He then became the park’s environmental education coordinator, lead interpreter and equal opportunity counselor where he worked with over 9,000 students during field trips, developed an interpretive citizen science program, and worked with Maui kupuna in developing the first bilingual brochure for a National Park. Since 2014, he’s enjoyed working with DOFAW’s diverse divisions and partners, helping educate about protecting rainforests to reefs.
      Keahi Bustamente

      Keahi Bustamente

      DLNR's Hawaiʻi Invertebrate Program and the Snail Extinction Prevention Program

      Read Keahi's Bio

      Keahi Bustamente is a native of Maui Nui. Originally from the ahupua’a of Nāiwa, Moloka’i, near its North shore cliffs, he then moved to the ahupua’a of Waikapū on Maui when he was eight years old. As a child he spent much of his time exploring the steep slopes Waikapū valley and venturing to places where no others would go. Little did he know that he was preparing for a career in searching for rare native species and protecting them from extinction. In 2005, after service in the US Air Force he returned to Maui and shifted into a career in native forest restoration. Currently, Keahi manages DLNR’s, Hawai’i Invertebrate Program and the Snail Extinction Prevention Program for the islands of Maui Nui. He has been instrumental in the rediscovery and protection of numerous species of rare Hawaiian land snails, insects, as well as plants on Maui Nui with the goal of preventing extinction. Watch Keahi’s presentation as part of the Watershed and Native Species Protection session of Maui Huliau Foundation’s Careers in Conservation series hosted via Zoom on December. 

      Joylynn Paman

      Joylynn Paman

      Executive Director of 'Ao’ao O Nā Loko I’a O Maui

      Read Joylynn's Bio

      Born and raised in Maui, Joylynn Paman has a Bachelor in Marine Science with an emphasis in Hawaiian Language and Hawaiian Studies. Since 2008, she’s served as the Executive Director of ‘Ao’ao O Nā Loko I’a O Maui, a non-profit organization that is revitalizing a Native Hawaiian Fishpond in South Maui. She has also served in environmental education leadership roles at Maui Nui Botanical Gardens, Maui Invasive Species Committee, and NOAA’s Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary. Throughout her work and volunteerism, she offers a well-rounded cultural perspective to the Kimokeo Foundation and has a Hawaiian family history on Maui that lasts for generations. For over 25 years, she has been fluent in the Hawaiian language and she and her husband are currently raising their three children in Hawaiian immersion schools.  Watch Joylynn’s presentation as part of the Marine Science event in October.

      Austin Van Heusen

      Austin Van Heusen

      Energy Efficiency Specialist, Green Building Hawaiʻi

       

      Read Austin's Bio

      Austin is the Energy Efficiency Specialist for Green Building Hawaii, a division of EnergyLogic, and a graduate of the University of Hawaiʻi-Maui College (UHMC) Liberal Arts program. He is one of two Certified Building Commissioning Professionals (CBCP) in the state and a RESNET® certified HERS Rater. Both certifications are through the well-respected Association of Energy Engineers (AEE). Austin has LEED AP accreditation and is the only Certified Energy Auditor (CEA) in the County of Maui.

      When attending UHMC, Austin also had the opportunity to work with the HTDC/Innovate Program via SLIM as an instructor and coordinator for the manufacturing energy auditing internship program. He taught students to audit manufacturing companies and develop recommendations to reduce energy and resource use in the local manufacturing business.