Working with the Youth Conservation Corps at Volcanoes National Park for the whole summer after high school graduation was a major milestone in my life. It guided me to make the life choices that led me to where I am today. With a Bachelor of Arts in Hawaiian Studies, Professional Diploma in Secondary Education-Social Studies, and a Master’s Degree in Secondary Education-Social Studies, I had the opportunity to work for Kailua High School’s Community Quest (CQ) Program; Department of Business, Economic Development, and Tourism (DBEDT)’s Energy Division; and the Institute for Hawai`i History Teachers and Project BEST (Business Encouraging Superior Teaching). It was through good fortune that the CQ Program introduced me to the Hawai‘i Nature Center (HNC), where I started as a volunteer and part-time environmental educator before becoming the Volunteer Coordinator in 1994. I received a Certificate in Volunteer Management (CVM) in 2005 and am currently the Operations and Volunteer Program Director.
Our volunteers support HNC in so many different ways with the mission of connecting families and keiki to nature. They are so special and wonderful and they are the main reason why I love what I do and continue to work at HNC! They instill the passion and importance of volunteering which has led me to serve on the Network of Volunteer Leaders (NOVL) Executive Council for over 20 years and organize various volunteer service trips. This includes student service trips and overnight camps with Sierra Club High School Hikers and adult service trips to Hakalau Forest National Wildlife Refuge (my favorite place!), Haleakalā and Kaho‘olawe. So rewarding, enjoyable and memorable! In my spare time, I continue to study the traditions of hula passed down from the late Kumu Hula Ho‘oulu Richards and the late Kumu Hula Edward Kalāhiki as well as traditional Japanese court music (gagaku) with the Hawaii Gagaku Society.