Saturday, May 17, 2008

Conservancy fellowship seeds marine resource conservation

The Nature Conservancy of Hawai'i will help train the next generation of Hawai'i leaders in marine conservation with its new marine fellowship program.

(Photo: New Nature Conservancy marine fellows Marion Ano and Russell Amimoto inspect a beaker of zooplankton with fisheries technical Wally Ito at the state Division of Aquatic Resources' Anuenue Fisheries Research Center. Photo © Manuel Mejia/TNC.)

The program is the wet equivalent of the Conservancy's land-based program for training natural resource managers. It is supported in part by the Atherton Family Foundateion and NOAA's Coral Reef Conservation Program.

The organization selected from among 100 applicants to pick Russell Amimoto and Marion Ano as its first Marine Fellows.

Amimoto is a captain of the Polynesian Voyaging Society canoe Hōkūle‘a and is a canoe builder. Ano works with students at the Paepae o He‘eia and Ka Honua Momona fishponds.

The new fellows will undergo a two-year training program, led by Conservancy experts as well as scientists, conservation authorities and kūpuna, in which they will learn about monitoring and management of marine resources, as well as planning for the stewardship of Hawaiian coastal areas.

The goal of the fellowships is not to create employees for the Conservancy itself, but to seed the state with trained experts in protecting marine resources.

After two years in this program, Russell and Marion will have the necessary skills and knowledge to be highly competitive in Hawaii’s conservation job market for positions not just at the Conservancy, but at state and federal partner agencies, other NGOs, and private sector marine-based businesses. Our hope is that they will stay in the islands and help guide the future of ocean resource management in Hawai‘i,” said Kim Hum, the Conservancy's director of marine programs on the Islands.

© 2008 Jan W. TenBruggencate