“The program was designed to train fellows to work directly with communities to manage local marine resources.”
The Marine Conservation Fellowship Program was launched in 2008 to build a new generation of marine resource stewards for Hawai‘i. Implemented jointly through a partnership between The Nature Conservancy and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Pacific Services Center, the two-year program provides participating fellows with the knowledge, skills and experience to shape the future direction of marine conservation in Hawai‘i.
While technical and scientific training in the field of marine resource stewardship is available through undergraduate and research programs in Hawai‘i, such training typically lacks hands-on field work with diverse stakeholders and communities.
The Marine Fellowship Program is designed to fill that gap, training emerging professionals to use a wide-range of marine stewardship skills and work directly with communities to manage local marine resources.
Specifically, the program aims to:
- Provide two years of on-the-job training that combines mentoring by senior program staff and peer-to-peer learning;
- Strengthen core competencies in traditional Native Hawaiian and contemporary science-based resource stewardship;
- Provide direct experience through community-based projects and field work; and,
- Enable graduates to compete successfully for positions in marine resource management in the local job market.
Upon completion of their fellowship, graduates can identify Hawaiian species of fish, coral and limu, understand human impacts on marine ecosystems, and are familiar with traditional Hawaiian stewardship practices and values. They are also proficient in biological survey methods, data management and analysis of coastal ecosystem health.
In addition, they have been schooled in Hawaii’s marine regulatory framework and policies, have experience in organizing and managing community-based conservation efforts, can communicate scientific survey results to communities, decision-makers and the media, and are certified in SCUBA diving and emergency safety protocols.
Equipped with these skills, graduates are highly competitive in Hawaii’s conservation job market for positions not just at the Conservancy but at state and federal partner agencies and other private-sector marine-based programs.