Supporting Environmental Champions

University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa (UHM) and University of Hawai‘i at Hilo (UHH) graduate students have been selected as Conservation Fellows, funded by Hau‘oli Mau Loa Foundation. These students were chosen because of their strong academic records as undergraduates, their connections to and integration with the local conservation community, their passion for the ʻāina and keen interest in preserving and protecting our shared and limited natural resources, and their commitment to career and future efforts to preserve and sustain their local environment.

The two-year fellowships for Hawaiʻi high school graduates, which include tuition exemption, regular stipend and funds for professional development, will help increase the number of qualified Hawaiʻi students and professionals pursuing environmental resource management careers.

Janis Reischmann, executive director of Hau‘oli Mau Loa Foundation commented, "Our support of graduate assistantships at the University stems from our belief that the future of Hawai‘i’s environment depends upon a new generation of natural resource managers who have strong ties to the communities in which conservation work is occurring or needed. We are excited by the chosen careers of past Fellows and look forward to the contributions which will be made by current and future Hau‘oli Mau Loa Fellows.”

Anela Akiona, Hawaiian fisheries management

Anela Akiona, one of this year’s fellows, is pursuing a Marine Biology Master of Science degree in Dr. Erik Franklin’s lab at the UHM Hawaiʻi Institute of Marine Biology within the School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST). She has a passion for science that leads to sustainable management of Hawaiian marine resources. Akiona is a graduate of Kamehameha Schools Kapālama and received a B.A. in Marine Science with a minor in Mathematics from the University of San Diego. The support provided by the Hauʻoli Mau Loa Foundation Fellowship has enabled Anela to return home to Oʻahu to study the dynamics and management of Hawaiian fisheries.

In accepting the Fellowship, she said, “I am very humbled and grateful to be receiving support from the Hauʻoli Mau Loa Foundation.  Not only has this scholarship lifted the huge burden of paying for school, but it has also provided funds for professional development, such as scientific dive training and travel to national conferences. The learning experiences I have and connections I make with support from the HML Fellowship will certainly become invaluable as I move forward in my career.  It is so important for local students to have access to these sorts of scholarships, and I am honored to be a recipient.”

The Hauʻoli Mau Loa Foundation Fellowship will be a key component of her journey to become a respected and successful caretaker of Hawai‘i’s marine resources.

Aka Beebe, fishpond food web dynamics

Aka Beebe, another fellow in this year’s cohort, earned a B.S. in Global Environmental Science in SOEST this past May. Also a graduate of Kamehameha Schools Kapālama, he is deeply committed to maintaining traditional cultural practices and utilizing more contemporary methods to understand how systems developed by our kūpuna (ancestors) function and should continue to function in the context of urbanization of Hawaiian watersheds.

This kuleana (responsibility) to care for and steward the ‘āina is inspired by his two young children.

The fellowship will enable Aka to investigate how restoration at He’eia Fishpond on O‘ahu affects nutrient cycling and productivity of the food web from microbes to fish within the master’s program in Oceanography.

“I'm excited about continuing my research and academics with Alegado Lab and Oceanography. It is an honor to receive the HML Fellowship and I hope that this is something that is extended to the people of Hawai‘i in the future,” said Beebe.

2016 Conservation Fellows Cohort

In addition to Akiona and Beebe, Timothy Kroessig (UHM College of Natural Science); Stacey Torigoe, Natalie Andreyka, Kelly-Rose Lariosa, Casey Ching, Jared Char (all at UHM College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources); and Christopher Kluzak, Kaikea Nakachi, Kailey Pascoe (all at UHH Tropical Conservation Biology and Environmental Science) are in this year’s cohort of HML Fellows.

Hau’oli Mau Loa Foundation

Hauʻoli Mau Loa Foundation’s investment in these Fellows to build Hawai‘i’s pipeline of a new generation of environmental resource managers is part of their comprehensive strategy in their environment program in promoting stewardship, preservation and protection of the natural environment in Hawai‘i.

Hauʻoli Mau Loa Foundation is a private grantmaking foundation established by Helga Glaesel-Hollenback. Established in 1990 Hauʻoli Mau Loa Foundation supports five program areas: youth, environment, affordable housing, humanitarian relief and "first generation partners." In 2010 the Foundation completed a research and planning process that led to two new areas of focus within its environmental program: invasive species prevention and Environmental Leadership Pathways — Developing the Next Generation of Environmental Resource Professionals in Hawaiʻi. This partnership with the University of Hawaiʻi will support the Environmental Leadership Pathways focus.

For Our University, Our Hawai‘i, Our Future