We are happy to feature UH Maui College graduate, Alicia Wood, who earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Sustainable Science Management in 2018 and was President of the Student ʻOhana for Sustainability Club. Alicia encourages students to take advantage of opportunities with Nā Hua Hoʻohuli i ka Pono (NHHP), a paid, Maui-based conservation leadership program designed to aid in the development of the next generation of Hawaiʻi’s leaders.
Alicia wanted to be a part of NHHP because she always loved nature and had become interested in conservation after taking a class at UHMC with biologist Art Medeiros. As a student of Sustainable Science Management, she had studied much about systems and management, but felt the importance to experience and apply her learning from a “boots on the ground” perspective.
Alicia was selected into the Spring 2018 term, working with the Maui Invasive Species Committee (MISC) on their Little Fire Ant, Coqui, and Plant crews. “This was a wonderful experience and I learned a lot about native and invasive species, as well as how the conservation world operates.”, she said, “I also got to work with a lot of great people, who I am still in contact with today. I really enjoyed getting out in the field and being able to experience things I had only read about. The trips to the rare native forest to control pampas grass was an experience I’ll never forget. It allowed me to connect with Maui in a way that I hadn’t before and to understand why it is so important to protect and restore the native plants of the island.” Alicia also participated in NHHP professional development assignments and program meetings with a variety of community leaders, one of which included an intimate roundtable discussion with Governor David Ige.
Shortly after her term ended with NHHP, Alicia was offered a full-time position with Pacific Whale Foundation (PWF) as their Communications Coordinator.
Alicia credits her time with NHHP in helping her secure her dream job with PWF. “The journals, curriculum assignments, and presentations in NHHP helped me reflect and secure the knowledge I had gained, but it also made me better at communicating what I was doing and why it mattered,” she said. “This is what my role is in my job now! I get to share with others about what PWF is doing to fulfill its mission to protect the ocean through science and advocacy”. Alicia says that her ability to communicate her experience and skill set for this position is heavily attributed to everything she learned during the NHHP program. What would she advise to future participants? “Enjoy your time and soak up all the knowledge and experiences you can!” She encourages to, “seek understanding, listen well, and communicate. Be open to the experience, and appreciate the lessons on how to be more successful in life – no matter what path you choose to follow.”
NHHP is currently recruiting for their Hoʻoilo 2019-2020 term that includes five positions at 19 hours per week. All positions are paid a biweekly living allowance of $475.00 and qualify for an AmeriCorps Education Award of $2,579.00. Host agencies for the summer program include the DLNR Division of Forestry and Wildlife, Maui Forest Bird Recovery Project, Maui Nui Botanical Gardens, and The Nature Conservancy. There will also be a Conservation Leader Assistant Position where the member will serve with all of the organizations listed above, along with assisting the Program Manager of NHHP to learn about how environmental education programs like these operate.
Applications can be found at www.NHHPHawaii.org and are due by 4:00 p.m. on Monday June 10, 2019. Questions about the program may also be directed to the Program Manager at firstname.lastname@example.org or (808) 727-2184.