Puakea Mo’okini-Oliveira: Kupu intern
Puakea was born and raised on the island of Oʻahu. In high school, her interest in mālama ʻāina began with planting koa ( Acacia koa ) seedlings in the Keauhou forest on Hawaiʻi island as a participant of the Keawewai Koa Reforestation Project. While earning a B.S. in Environmental Science, Puakea was able to study abroad at Southern Cross University in Lismore, Australia taking courses in coastal marine ecosystems, outdoor education and food ecology. As an intern in several of KUPU Hawai’i’s programs Puakea’s reverence for Hawai’i’s native flora and fauna deepened while doing field work in some of the most remote places in Hawai’i. She held positions aiming to promote the importance of outdoor education and participated in a youth exchange program that presented the need for more cultural recognition and knowledge into modern conservation practices to members of the U.S. Forest Service’s Region Five. She is grateful for the opportunity to expand her knowledge of Hawaiʻiʻs natural resources and wildlife through her work with MNSRP.
Lynx Gallagher: Field Biologist Field Crew Leader
Lynx Gallagher hails from the Appalachian mountains of North Carolina where he received his undergraduate degree from Appalachian State University. He is currently pursuing his Master’s Degree in Tropical Conservation Biology and Environmental Science at the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo. Lynx enjoys mountains of all types and spent time near the summit of Mauna Kea participating in environmental surveys for lichen at high elevation. His Master’s work involves studying fungi within Hawaiian kipuka along saddle road on the Big Island of Hawai‘i. With MNSRP, he works to set up and conduct baseline surveys and predator assessment studies in the Kahikinui Forest Reserve.
Rebecca Pederson: Americorp Intern
Becca graduated magna cum laude from the University of Colorado Boulder with a B.A. in both Environmental Studies and Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. She spent part of her undergraduate career doing research in the Ramaley Ichthyology (fish) lab. The rest of her time at University of Colorado Boulder was working on Map of Life, a mapping project in collaboration with Yale University. Becca’s responsibility was to capture metadata from species surveys and assess their reliability. This project eventually led to her Honors Thesis Project, where she researched the significance of presence and absence data for species mapping. She is excited to be working for MNSRP and expand her knowledge of field biology, as well as data management.
Che Frausto: Field Biologist
Che Frausto received a B.A. in Evolutionary Biology and Ecology and a B.A. in Environmental Studies with an emphasis in Natural Resources from the University of Colorado at Boulder. Che worked in the Ramaley Ichthyology (fish) lab throughout his undergraduate career researching domination and hierarchy in male convict cichlids. After graduating, he worked for the US Forest Service on the Lassen National Forest ecology team, performing many tasks including goshawk and spotted owl surveys. He also worked with the BLM Wildlife Biologist carrying out Bald Eagle nest surveys. His duties now include rescuing downed wildlife, field operations, outreach, banding, gps tracking, predator control, and data management.
Alicia Rhodes: Operations/GIS Specialist
Alicia received her B.S. in Biology from Northern Michigan University, and her M.S. in Tropical Conservation Biology and Environmental Science at the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo. Alicia’s background includes investigating speciation in small mammals, delineating the source of an autosomal recessive disease, and examining reproductive isolation in ‘O‘hia, an endemic Hawaiian tree. Although she fancies field work, the true apple of her eye is working with data; give her a data-set to manage and analyze, and she’ll be happy for weeks. Her diverse scientific background, technical skill-set, and love for learning about new organisms brought her on board at MNSRP. Outside of the office Alicia is most often found surfing, experimenting in the kitchen or exploring the islands.
Isabelle Walker: Field Biologist/Data Associate
Isabelle graduated from the University of Texas with a B.S. in Geology. She has worked in the avian conservation for the past five years mainly focusing on the recovery and management of endangered seabird species in Maui. She is currently pursuing her Master’s degree in Population and Conservation Biology at Texas State University. Her research interests are in spatial ecology and conservation of wildlife populations. She is interested in exploring how environmental factors effect foraging behavior and distribution of avian species.
Victoria Stout: Field Biology Assistant
Vic received her B.S. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and a B.A. in Environmental Studies from the University of California, Santa Cruz. Vic is extremely interested in tropical ecosystems and participated in Tropical Ecology and Conservation study abroad program in Costa Rica. Her undergraduate thesis, which won departmental honors and the Dean’s Award, was based on research conducted in Southern Costa Rica on the restoration of tropical pasture. Most of all she loves teaching and outreach, and during her tenure at UCSC she volunteered as a docent at the Seymour Marine Discovery Center and worked as a teaching assistant in the Environmental Studies Department. She hopes to bring this passion to Maui Nui Seabird Recovery Project to increase their volunteer base and island-wide awareness about seabirds and their threats.
Marie VanZandt: Field Biologist
Marie VanZandt started with the Maui Nui Seabird Recovery Project in 2009, as an Americorp Intern, assisting with on the ground management of the Hawaiian petrel on the island of Lana’i. She pursued her M.S. at the University of Hawaii- Hilo, where she worked closely with MNSRP on her thesis entitled “Distribution and Habitat Selection of the Endangered Hawaiian Petrel (Pterodroma sandwichensis), from the Island of Lana’i”. She returned to MNSRP as the GIS/Operations specialist in 2012 and led field efforts investigating possible Newell’s shearwater and Hawaiian petrel nesting on the leeward side of Haleakala- Maui (Kahikinui). She now works as the Project Biologist at the Auwahi Wind Farm, enacting the site Habitat Conservation Plan for the endangered Hawaiian petrel and Hawaiian hoary bat. She is currently a loyal MNSRP volunteer and a member of the Save Our Seabirds- Maui chapter.
Devin Eagan: Field Biology Assistant
Devin grew up on Maui and studied Environmental Science at the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo. Devin is passionate about conservation in Maui Nui and spent a year working as an Americorps intern for Pu‘u Kukui Watershed Preserve. With MNSRP, he works to set up and conduct baseline surveys and predator assessment studies in the Kahikinui Forest Reserve.