Our island communities are at the frontline of risk. With limited resources, growing populations, natural disasters, sea-level rise, and other factors, we will be some of the first communities exposed to the stresses and challenges of our changing world. However, by drawing on the richness of our cultures, our history of exploration and innovation, and the promise of our young leaders, island communities are also poised to lead the way forward and provide hope and solutions for the future.
Hawaiʻi has served as a hub for this movement—convening the 2016 World Conservation Congress and serving as the cultural foundation for Hōkūleʻa, the traditional Hawaiian sailing canoe, to circumnavigate the globe sharing the mission of Mālama Honua, to care for our Island Earth. Hawaiʻi also has a tremendous storehouse of natural resource data and research capacity, and Hawaiʻi’s communities are highly invested and actively engaged in the management of their local resources.
Kupu has spent the last decade providing hands-on training programs to thousands of young adults in Hawaiʻi—helping them to become stewards of our culture and environment, and to develop a strong connection to the place in which we live through service.
The Pacific Resiliency Fellowship program capitalizes on the experience of Kupu and the resources of Hawaiʻi to better equip this generation of change-makers; to create a network of Pacific Island leaders; and to collectively learn and grow from our shared, as well as divergent, experiences.
Pacific Resiliency Fellows (PRF) is an international fellowship program that brings together rising local professionals well-positioned to affect change who work on conservation or sustainability initiatives throughout the Pacific region. The goal of the program is to support the development of resilient communities by building local capacity and supporting the development of empowered social entrepreneurs. The program will also provide a space for sharing of best practices and lessons learned, and create a working network of individuals addressing issues of resiliency within their communities. In cohort one we will connect Fellows across the Pacific, including American Samoa, Guam, Hawaiʻi, Northern Mariana Islands, Palau, and Rapa Nui.
Fellows will convene in Hawaiʻi two times, and engage throughout the program with Kupu staff, mentors, and each other on calls, blogs, and through intersession assignments. The curriculum will include:
ASSOCIATE, INVESTMENTS, ULUPONO INITIATIVE
John Cowen joined Ulupono Initiative as a senior analyst in 2016 and was recently promoted to associate at the Hawai‘i-focused impact investing firm. In his role, he is responsible for developing financial models, performing due diligence and conducting evaluations for its food, energy, waste, and fresh water investments. John is a graduate of Punahou School in Honolulu and Boston College, where he received his Bachelor of Science in management. Prior to joining Ulupono, he served as manager of energy economics at Hawaii-based Energy Industries Corporation and participated in Kupu’s Sustainability Initiatives program (formerly known as RISE).
ELECTED REPRESENTATIVE, COMMISSION FOR THE DEVELOPMENT OF RAPA NUI (CODEIPA)
Poky Tane Haoa Hey’s traditional upbringing and experiences helped him establish Rapa Nui’s first locally based marine conservation non-profit organization called Tapu Conservacion Marina. As a result of his experience as an environmental and cultural advocate, Poky was elected to serve as one of five commissioners of the Commission for the Development of Rapa Nui (CODEIPA) in 2015. While at CODEIPA, he has helped to successfully passed historic legislation promoting economic development, environmental and cultural conservation, and more local opportunities for the island’s indigenous community. His efforts have also helped to establish a large marine protected area, in which Poky has secured leadership opportunities for Rapa Nui’s indigenous communities, allowing them to integrate local values and practices into the management and administration of major environmental and cultural sites like the marine protected area and Rapa Nui National Park.
ARCHITECT, KEHO STUDIO
With an architecture and urban planning background, Hetereki Huke Ainsa co-founded KEHO Studio in Rapa Nui in 2014. The territorial planning office focuses on development in small island communities, advocating for and implementing innovative projects to address community issues and needs. The company has lead both public and private initiatives in conservation, culture, politics, and education, including the preservation of a geological area called Lavas of Hiva Hiva in Rapa Nui National Park, and an ancient coastal settlement and ceremonial site named Ahu Tepeu.
WATERSHED COORDINATOR, BUREAU OF STATISTICS AND PLANS – CORAL REEF CONSERVATION PROGRAM
After graduating from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas with a degree in environmental studies, Patrick Keeler returned home to Guam to pursue a career in environmental stewardship. Through his role as a watershed coordinator for the Guam Bureau of Statistics and Plans’ Coral Reef Conservation Program, he has conducted a range of conservation work, from bamboo removal and native tree planting to coral bleaching surveys and human use studies. Patrick also helps develop educational programming for local schools, while coordinating his organization’s efforts with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Habitat Blueprint Manell-Geus Habitat Focus Area, as well as the Piti-Asan and Tumon watersheds.
ENGINEERING TECHNICIAN, AMERICAN SAMOA POWER AUTHORITY (ASPA)
Seneuefa Muliagatele hails from the island of American Samoa, where she currently works as an engineering technician for the American Samoa Power Authority (ASPA) Water Division. She operates and maintains the Vaipito Microfiltration Plant by, monitoring municipal water supply quality and the efficiency of operational wells. Seneuefa is a graduate of the University of Arizona in Tucson and received her diploma of civil engineering from Manukau Institute of Technology. In her free time, she enjoys playing sports (softball, cricket and basketball) and hanging out with friends and family.
COMMUNICATIONS SPECIALIST, BUREAU OF ENVIRONMENTAL AND COASTAL QUALITY – DIVISION OF COASTAL RESOURCES MANAGEMENT
After studying sustainability and environmental communications at Arizona State University, Mallory Muña started working for the CNMI Bureau of Environmental and Coastal Quality Division of Coastal Resources Management (DCRM) as a communications specialist. She currently helps to promote the Division’s efforts and initiatives, and coordinates DCRM’s Coral Summer Internship and Watershed Warriors program, the latter of which develops Saipan-specific environmental curriculum for a local elementary school. As a native Chamorro, she is passionate about building local capacity and empowering younger generations to become environmental stewards through early education and outreach. When not working, she is paddling for the Marianas Pacific Paddlers Outrigger Canoe team.
NATURAL RESOURCE MANAGER, LILIʻUOKALANI TRUST
Born and raised in Waimea on Hawai‘i Island, Mana Purdy graduated from Hawaiʻi Preparatory Academy and attended Northern Arizona University (NAU). As a collegiate scholar-athlete, he earned a bachelor’s degree in environmental studies with an emphasis in sustainability, community, and bio-cultural diversity, while playing football for NAU. Mana worked for The Kohala Center and Environet prior to joining Liliʻuokalani Trust, where he now oversees ʻāīna-based education and conservation projects, like Keahuolūʻs dryland area and anchialine pools in north Kona. Mana is also leading the design and development of a Mauka Agricultural Station, which will include a 48-person amphitheater to showcase and promote traditional agricultural practices. Mana competes in rodeo and team roping, plays in a reggae band, and enjoys surfing, fishing, and time with ʻohana.
KAYANGEL PROTECTED AREAS NETWORK (KPAN) PROGRAM COORDINATOR, PALAU PROTECTED AREAS NETWORK
Blodak Quichocho serves as the Kayangel Protected Areas Network (KPAN) program coordinator for Palau Protected Areas Network, where he manages the organization’s day-to-day operations and financial reports. He also works in the field on KPAN initiatives that include coral transplanting, clam farming and community clean-ups, as well as rat-eradication projects with Island Conservation. Blodak’s upcoming focus will be monitoring and surveillance of Palau’s Marine Protected Areas. Prior to returning home to Kayangel, Blodak served seven years as an infantryman, completing two tours to Afghanistan with the Guam Army National Guard, and graduated from the University of Guam with a degree in business administration concentrating on international tourism and hospitality management.
NATIVE HAWAIIAN PROGRAM SPECIALIST, NOAA PAPAHĀNAUMOKUĀKEA MARINE NATIONAL MONUMENT / LYNKER TECHNOLOGIES LLC
A native of Hilo, Kalani Quiocho currently serves as the Native Hawaiian program specialist for the NOAA Office of National Marine Sanctuaries (ONMS) Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument (Monument). He is responsible for increasing awareness and integration of Hawaiian values and practices in daily management, strategies, and activities at the Monument. In addition, Kalani is currently working to create a Native Hawaiian Plan to formalize, update, and expand the Monument’s efforts to recognize and promote Native Hawaiian interests while strengthening overall management of the area. Through his Native Hawaiian heritage, Kalani feels a deep-rooted sense of responsibility to elevate the knowledge systems and environmental ethics of indigenous peoples. He finds new meaning to everything that he does through his two sons.
PROJECT COORDINATOR, THE NATURE CONSERVANCY
Farron Taijeron is a born and raised son of Guam and applies his experiences working abroad in the diving industry to his current role with The Nature Conservancy, where he serves as a project coordinator for NOAA’s Habitat Blueprint Manell-Geus Habitat Focus Area. In his role, he serves as a liaison to engage the community with partnering government agencies through outreach events and activities like kayak tours, snorkeling experiences, hikes, and marine debris clean-ups. He has also supported tree-planting and coral reef-monitoring projects, as well as introduced a virtual reality tour of the watershed to showcase at local festivals and conferences. Farron is also working with NOAA to implement plans that will address issues related to climate change like rising sea level and coral bleaching.
SCIENCE TECHNICIAN, AMERICAN SAMOA COMMUNITY COLLEGE
Ruby Tapuai works as a science technician for American Samoa Community College. She assists science faculty, monitors and calibrates lab equipment, and conducts presentations on behalf of the department to high schools throughout American Samoa. Ruby also serves as a Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation Program (LSAMP) assistant coordinator and is actively involved in the annual American Samoa STEM Summit. While studying at University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo, Ruby connected with the ʻāina, spending time deeply involved in activities and institutions focused on marine science. She feels that science is the evidence that proves something is wrong, and passion is the drive to do something about it.
COASTAL FISHERIES COORDINATOR, THE NATURE CONSERVANCY
As coastal fisheries coordinator for The Nature Conservancy (TNC), Masubed “Mas” Tkel supports the organization’s Northern Reefs Fisheries Programs to promote sustainable fisheries management and address issues facing local communities and marine areas including Babeldaob Island. Prior to joining TNC, Mas served as a state legislator for two consecutive terms, during which he authored, supported, and promoted bills and initiatives designed to strengthen conservation programs. Through his interest in boating, snorkeling, and kayaking, Mas continues to promote environmental awareness and engage others in local lifestyles and values that help preserve and maintain the islands’ natural resources.
CNMI CORAL REEF INITIATIVE EDUCATION AND OUTREACH COORDINATOR, BUREAU OF ENVIRONMENTAL AND COASTAL QUALITY – DIVISION OF COASTAL RESOURCES MANAGEMENT
Saipan native Jihan Younis works as CNMI Bureau of Environmental and Coastal Quality Division of Coastal Resources Management’s (DCRM) Coral Reef Initiative education and outreach coordinator. Working closely with communities to communicate the importance of CNMI’s coral reef ecosystems, she has coordinated internships, eco-camps, youth snorkel events, coastal clean-ups, and managed social marketing campaigns. After participating in an intensive behavioral change training course on conservation, she successfully implemented and ran the Laolao Bay Pride Campaign that inspired local residents to take pride in their natural resources and reduce land-based pollution through personal action and community collaboration. Jihan received a master’s degree in communications, with an emphasis in environmental conservation and social change from the University of Texas at El Paso.
SUSTAINABLE FISHERIES PROGRAM COORDINATOR, CONSERVATION INTERNATIONAL HAWAIʻI, CENTER FOR OCEANS
From an early age, Jhana has been inspired by the ocean, from surfing and canoe paddling to fishing and swimming in beaches throughout O‘ahu. Born and raised in Honolulu, she grew up believing that personal health is dependent on the health of our ʻāina, and that one of the best ways to bring people together is over a shared meal. As Conservation International Hawai‘i’s Sustainable Fisheries program coordinator, Jhana supports and strengthens local and responsible seafood initiatives, with a mission to hoʻi i ke kai momona (“return to an abundant ocean”). Jhana is a graduate of Punahou School and the University of Portland’s Pamplin School of Business with a degree in marketing & sustainability. She is a lifelong surfer, youth mentor, yogi, and home cook.
If you have any questions about the Pacific Resiliency Fellows Program, are interested in applying for Cohort 2, or would like more information, please feel free to contact us either by phone, e-mail, or using the form below.
Elia Herman, Senior Program Manager
677 Ala Moana Blvd., Suite 1200, Honolulu, HI 96813
W: 808-735-1221 x 1020
Emily Ishikawa, Sustainability Initiatives Program Coordinator
677 Ala Moana Blvd., Suite 1200, Honolulu, HI 96813
W: 808-735-1221 x 1021
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