June 2022 – Hawai`i Nature Center Educator Emma Shelly has degrees in ecology and biology. Her passion for teaching and science runs in the family.
She grew up in Hawaii Kai and is one of Hawaii Nature Center’s newer teachers but this isn’t her first experience with its programs. She has come full circle from her days as a student at the Hawaii Nature Center. At 7 years-old, she remembered childhood experiences working in the loi, stream fishing and the joy of capturing her first crayfish.
As the daughter of Duke University biologists, she traveled the world and lived in exotic places such as Costa Rica where her parents were assigned. Her childhood was immersed as a student of nature and the outdoors was her classroom. After earning her degrees in ecology and biology, she worked to bring more knowledge to the issues of bird diseases for those that live in high elevations. She also returned to her passion of teaching, a profession that she has held for the last 7 years.
What she loves most about her job is how students are so excited about things adults may take for granted. Her work empowers her to lose herself in the moment and teaching brings her happiness. Emma loves using her science education experience to teach keiki how to be island stewards. With a background in ornithology, she’s particularly interested in using birds to teach many different biological concepts. When she’s not working, she enjoys taking her dog to the beach, hiking, and her wildlife art business.