The Mālama Learning Center is run by a small staff that is guided by an active Board of Directors, and fueled by a lot of kōkua. We could not be half as successful without the support of dedicated interns and volunteers.
Pauline Sato, Executive & Program Director Pauline has dedicated the past 25+ years to environmental preservation, working for organizations such as The Nature Conservancy, Bishop Museum, and Moanalua Gardens Foundation. Her skill-set has enabled her to assume various positions, from environmental educator and teacher trainer to volunteer coordinator, natural resources program manager, and public awareness coordinator. A strong believer in working with partners to accomplish shared goals, Pauline has also served on several boards and councils, including the Hawai‘i Environmental Education Association, North American Association for Environmental Education, Mālama Hawai‘i, Hawai‘i Academy of Science, and the State of Hawai‘i Environmental Council. Pauline’s extensive career in conservation in Hawai‘i has helped her build a broad network among people working to protect natural and cultural resources throughout the state. Her work with the Agricultural Leadership Foundation of Hawaiʻi has also given her direct contact with people working in and committed to strengthening agriculture throughout Hawaiʻi.
Chelsey Jay, Education and Community Partnerships Coordinator Chelsey Jay joined the staff after completing her fellowship with the Hawaiʻi Environmental Education Alliance based at the Hawaiʻi Department of Land and Natural Resources. She also worked at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources. Chelsey completed her Bachelors of Science degree in Environmental Science and Resource Management at the University of Washington. She recently completed her Master's degree in Educational Foundations at the University of Hawaiʻi. She says, "As a life-long resident of West O'ahu, I feel extremely blessed to be a part of an organization that plays an integral role in sustaining the health and well-being of my community. I'm excited for the opportunity to support MLC's mission, which aligns nicely with my interests and goals in life. I look forward to this new journey that is sure to be filled with continued learning and growth."
Jeremy Soriano, Science Specialist Jeremy is no stranger to Kapolei High as he is a proud graduate. He has already given back by being a long-term substitute and part-time teacher covering subjects as diverse as biology, chemistry, political science, Spanish, and calculus. Jeremy received a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology at the University of Oregon and is completing his certification as a secondary education teacher at the University of Hawai'i. He says, "As a waterman, I often find myself in complete awe when I watch the warm clouds and the dark silhouettes of trees during sunset. To me, nature is beautiful: from the intricacies of the smallest cells to the mating songs of humpbacks, nature is art. As a member of the MLC team, I’m incredibly lucky and grateful to be able to work with individuals who share a similar appreciation and respect towards nature. It is with great honor and privilege to be able to promote the MLC vision and mission so that our community can make conscious decisions regarding their health and the health of the environment.
Sayo Costantino, Education Specialist Sayo first joined the Mālama Learning Center as an Americorps Member with KUPU, and soon after took on several roles with MLC. A graduate from the University of California Santa Barbara, she is a multi-talented and educator, craftsperson, and cook. Anything that needs to be done, Sayo can do! Sayo also works at Mālama Loko Ea in Haleiwa, directing education programs centered around the historic Hawaiian fishpond.
Jamison Domingsil, Community Stewardship Coordinator Jamison is a recent graduate of the University of Hawaii at Hilo with a degree in Environmental Science. He is also a graduate of Kapolei High School. After graduating from college, he spent several months volunteering to monitoring turtles in Costa Rica as well as worked with the Big Island Invasive Species Committee. Jamison has a deep interest in conservation and in restoring native ecosystems. He says, "I joined MLC because it is an opportunity for me to give back to the community which I grew up in for a large portion of my life. The vision of mālama ʻāina and promoting sustainable living in communities are core values that I familiarize myself with, and so, I believe that joining MLC is a great step for me to continue my career in conservation."
Yvonne Yoro, Education Specialist - Nānākuli Projects Yvonne is a recent graduate of the University of British Columbia and a graduate of Leilehua High School. I joined Mālama Learning Center because I truly believe in its vision and goals of empowering the youth of Hawaiʻi through place-based learning and exposing science and culture in a way that everyone, not just the students, can relate. I'm excited to work with MLC because I get to work with students and watch epiphanies happen during crucial stages of their lives and I get to learn more about the place I love--Hawaiʻi.
Sandy Mitani - Operations Manager Sandy joined Mālama Learning Center in early 2016 to handle back-office operations after our long-time Administrative Coordinator, Paula Nagao, left for a well-deserved break. Sandy is no stranger to environmental education and conservation programs. She worked at the Hawai'i Nature Center for many years, the Oahu Resource Conservation and Development Council, and now the Hawai'i Agriculture Research Center.
Stone San Nicolas, Marine Debris Intern
Bernice Ching, Invasive Species Outreach Intern
Bernice Ching was born and raised in Hawai‘i and grew up in Kapolei. She is a graduate from Kapolei High School and is currently taking courses at UH West O'ahu. She plans to attend UH Mānoa in fall 2017. One of the things she's interested in is natural resources and environmental management, anything dealing with our aina (land) and her native Hawaiian culture. She states, "I'm truly excited to learn more ways of helping my moku and also to pass on the knowledge I have to the next generation".
Francesca Diaz, Invasive Species Outreach Intern
Francesca Diaz, also a Kapolei High School graduate, is currently earning her Associates in science degree this semester and plans to further her knowledge at UH West O‘ahu. She strives to be a real life Pocahontas and teach others to see the beauty that surrounds them and what we can all do to perpetuate it. She is excited to reach out to the next generation through education and plans to open an organic nursery that doubles as an education center.
PAST INTERNS (We keep them in our hearts because we know they'll be our future leaders!)
Katie Papacek, Kalaeloa Hawaiian Coastal Habitat Conservation and Education Intern
Evelyn "Evy" Braum, E2U Leader (Kupu) Evy Braum came to us from the Kupu program as the Environmental Education to you (E2U) leader dedicated for one year to help promote sustainability and natural resource management in the DOE system. Evy is from Makakilo and graduated from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa with a degree in Natural Resources and Environmental Management (NREM) in hopes to continue on into a field of environmental education. With her education background and position with E2U, she helped promote the next generation to pursuing in an environmental career. She did so well at Kapolei High while working with Jeremy Soriano that she was offered a biology teaching position in school year 2016-2017, which she accepted! Congratulations, Evy!
Summer 2016 Kanoelani Ackerman, Ka Pili 'Oihana Intern Meleanna Adams, PIPES intern
Kaulana Stanley, Marine Debris Intern
Ku`upua Kiyuna, summer of 2015, PIPES intern
David Hoppe-Cruz spent the 2014-2015 school year with us to improve and ramp up productivity in the Kapolei High nursery. No stranger to plants or nurseries, Dave shared his love for propagating and conserving native Hawaiian plants with our staff and interns, utilizing skills he gained from an internship at Leeward Community College's native plant shadehouse and his knowledge from many years of hiking in the Wai'anae Mountains. Daivd is a graduate of Wai'anae High and is completing his BA in Hawai'i and Pacific Island Studies at the University of Hawai'i, West O'ahu. Mahalo to the Cultural Learning Center at Ka'ala, KUPU, and the AmeriCorps program for making it possible to have Dave help us!
Pakela Olanolan was born and raised in the heart of Kapolei and graduated from Saint Louis High School. He is currently a student at the University of Hawaiʻi, West Oʻahu and Leeward Community College and hopes to transfer to the Mānoa campus, majoring in Kinesiology. Pakela calls himself a “big fitness junkie” and aims to become one of the youngest crossfit coaches on the island. After his Mākeke Kapolei internship with Mālama Learning Center, he was hired by After School All Stars to work with youth at Nānākuli High & Intermediate School. Good going, Pakela!
SCHOOL NURSERY STEWARDS
As a continuation of our Honouliuli Ahupuaʻa project and with support from the NOAA B-WET program, we hired four School Nursery Stewards at Kapolei High School (KHS) and Nānākuli High & Intermediate School (NHIS). All four interns were involved in our school programs and continued to learn about conservation and sustainability. Throughout the 2014-2015 school year, they worked at their schools’ nurseries to grow native Hawaiian plants to be outplanted by their classmates at natural areas within the ahupuaʻa of Honouliuli and in Nānākuli. The students are: (L-R) Richelle Cabatic (KHS senior), Amber McKay (KHS senior), Nerilyn Peahi-Ayau (NHIS junior) and Kanani Woods(NHIS senior).
Our team was energized by the presence of two “go-gettum’”type interns, Pakela Olanolan and Mika Wong. Students at UH West Oʻahu and UH Hilo, respectively, they worked full-time for in the summer of 2014 thanks to the financial support of the UH PIPES program, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, and Kupu. They worked in the Kapolei High nursery to increase our planting capacity and also went out in the field with the Waiʻanae Mountains Watershed Partnership. They also worked at Piliokahe, Palehua, and Kaʻonohi. Every Thursday, they represented MLC at Makeke Kapolei, practicing their outreach and education skills.
Cassandra Ohelo, Makeke Kapolei intern
Tiana Bolosan started volunteering for the Mālama Learning Center in October of 2012 and became an official intern in February 2013. Thanks to support from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Pacific Internship Programs for Exploring Science, she helped us with the Hawai'i Green Collar Institute, Mākeke Kapolei, and the Kapolei High nursery. She also assisted on restoration projects in Wai'anae through partners. She heard about us from her boss at the City and County of Honolulu and has become a part of our 'ohana. She is a graduate from Pearl City High and Chaminade University of Honolulu with a Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Studies.
Brianna Magbual worked with Mālama Learning Center in the summer of 2013 through the Kupu Frontiers Program, which gives interns an opportunity to learn about natural resource stewardship through working with environmental agencies. She is graduate of Kamehameha Schools and is currently a student at Colorado State University and is hoping to focus her studies on Natural Resource Management. As a former Hawai'i Youth Conservation Corp member, she loves working outdoors and helped MLC manage the native plant nursery at Kapolei high school and propagate native plants for outplanting and sale at Mākeke Kapolei.
Nanea Lindsey joined our team as an intern in the summer of 2012 thanks to support from the Pacific Internship Programs for Exploring Science and the Nā Lei Aloha Foundation. Nanea graduated from Kamehameha Schools and from the UH Mānoa in Fall 2011 with a Bachelor’s degree in Natural Resources and Environmental Management. In the summer of 2012, Nanea is helped us develop a youth-based education program that links natural resources conservation and agriculture. “I hope to broaden my knowledge within both fields and hopefully be able to make an impact . . . through the leadership of today’s youth. I’m so grateful for this opportunity and look forward to getting to know the rest of the staff and members of the community,” said Nanea.
Ryan Uenten, Mākeke Kapolei intern
Kawai Sonoda, Mākeke Kapolei intern
Sharon Cabjuan is graduated from Kapolei High as a Valedictorian as well as a past participant of our first Hawai‘i Green Collar Institute session. Thanks to the Nā Lei Aloha Foundation she returned to MLC to work as an intern at the weekly Mākeke Kapolei in 2012, where she assisted in all facets of running the market, gaining experience in organization, sales, communication, and marketing.
Thanks to Janice Staab’s (former Education Coordinator) fellowship from TogetherGreen, Mālama Learning Center had the opportunity to work with three high school students in the summer of 2012 to work at the native plant nurseries that we helped construct at their respective schools (Kapolei, Nanakuli, and Pearl City) last year. In addition to working at the nurseries, the interns gained experience in other “green” jobs, such as restoration at Piliokahe and urban gardening at Kahiwelo at Makakilo.
Hi, my name is Kevin Bechayda and I am currently a student at Nānākuli High School which is located in a beautiful valley on the leeward side of O‘ahu. I plan on keeping the valley and the rest of Hawai‘i that way, which is why I am doing an internship with the Mālama Learning Center so that I may learn about conservation and how I can help to better Hawai‘i and the environment. Conservation is really important to Hawai‘i because we need to learn how to survive only off of resources found in Hawai‘i and maintain those resources. One of the things I do with this internship is that I take care of a native Hawaiian plant nursery at my school and grow native plants so that we can then plant them in Hawaii’s forests on the leeward cost. I am very proud to be doing this because by growing more native plants, I am giving back to the community and the environment. One thing I learned during this internship is that being green shouldn’t be just a job, it should be something we do every day with no hesitation.
My name is Justin Tacazon. I am 17 years old and just graduated from Pearl City High School. I want to work for Mālama Learning Center because I want to work with plants. I also want to learn about the different kinds of plants out there. I would like the experience of working with plants. I’m glad that I have the opportunity to work with the Mālama Learning Center.
Hello my name is Joanne Tumanuvao, I am an upcoming Junior at Kapolei High School in the Ho'ola Leadership Academy. I am currently a Nursery Intern this summer for Mālama Learning Center. I was offered this interneship by my Kumu in my academy and at first I thought, "Oh no, this is a great opportunity, I can’t turn it down" this was going through my mind because I also have a scholarship for a PUEO program (Partnerships with Unlimited Educational Opportunities) and I couldn't turn that down either. So this summer I am doing both, interning Monday, Wednesday, Friday & Summer School Tuesday and Thursday. I didn't want to turn down this Internship because I thought it was good for me to learn more about my 'aina and more about my own culture. I am also doing this internship for the knowledge, the knowledge for myself and for the future generations, because there won’t always be opportunities just as this where someone can go and learn what we are learning. I am enjoying this internship because of the fun, hands-on activities we do, learning about many different things to do in a nursery and what it take to keep it maintained. So I am very grateful to be doing this internship this summer for Mālama Learning Center.
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