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Growing up Wild

Gabe’s mom, Jody Kaulukukui, interviewed him for


What do I do for The Nature Conservancy?

Gabe Li:

Mom, you are the Director of Land Protection for The Nature Conservancy of Hawai'i. Your job is to save the planet by getting land from people to protect it for the native plants and animals. It is an important job so that in the future my grandchildren can see nature like I see it today.   


A new survey reveals parents around the world are concerned children are not spending enough time outdoors. What is your reaction to that? 

Gabe Li:

I think parents are worried because kids are spending too much time on electronics, like TV, iphones and ipads. But parents are on those things a lot, too. I think parents should do things outside with their children, and then kids would spend more time outdoors. I’m lucky because I live in Hawai'i, and my parents spend time outside with me. Kids need to be outside to learn outdoor skills and to appreciate nature. I think my family spends a good amount of time outside going hiking, to the beach, surfing, snorkeling, and fishing. Maybe it’s easier in Hawai'i to be outdoors all year round.


Why is it important to you that children grow up connected to nature?

Gabe Li:

I want my kids to see the things I saw and learn the things I learned growing up. I want them to experience the same things our kupuna (ancestors) did. It is part of Hawaiian culture - without a connection to land, you lose your connection to your culture. You need to be exposed to nature to be healthy and connected to your environment. Getting fresh air and sunlight is healthier for the body. Light from the TV really doesn’t do anything for your body or your brain. If you learn to love your planet, you will care for it in the future, and it will take care of you.


How does spending time outdoors impact you?

Gabe Li:

I love to be outdoors because it is fun to play outside. I like the different creative games you can play with your friends or brothers, when you don’t have the electronic game telling you what to do next. We can spend hours at the beach or outside. We have a fun time doing it and it helps us to be healthy. And we all love to eat, so it’s great when we can bring home dinner. 



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