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 30+ 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 & 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 received a Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Science and Resource Management at the University of Washington and 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 and 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, part-time teacher, and now full time Biology instructor. Jeremy received a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology at the University of Oregon and completed 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 Hale'iwa, directing education programs centered around the historic Hawaiian fishpond.
Bruce Koebele, Stewardship Coordinator Originally from Michigan, Bruce P Koebele arrived at the University of Hawai‘i at Manoa in 1982 to study fish behavior. Several years later, he graduated with a PhD dissertation on the reproductive energetics of cockroaches. Somewhere between these two events, Bruce started a decades-long study of Hawai‘i’s unique and often endangered terrestrial flora. In 1999, Bruce, with co-author John Culliney, shared what he had learned in A Native Hawaiian Garden: How to Grow and Care for Island Plants. Today, he continues to share his knowledge and experiences with native Hawaiian plants via his website, www.nativehawaiiangarden.org. “Without directly engaging the general public, the conservation community in Hawai‘i will have few lasting successes.” With this belief, Bruce has worked at the interface of education and conservation throughout his professional career at Leeward Community College, Ka‘ala Farm Inc., and, now, at Mālama Learning Center, engaging, educating, and exciting students and volunteers in place.based activities that make a positive impact on Hawai‘i’s ‘aina..
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.