The Nature Conservancy’s Hawaiʻi Marine Fellowship Program began in 2008 with the goal of growing Hawaii’s pool of young qualified marine conservation professionals. The program provides two years of hands-on, practical job training in all aspects of marine conservation. Fellows gain experience in scientific monitoring, legislative and rule-making initiatives, grant writing and reporting, community outreach, threat abatement and more, as they work side-by-side with conservation professionals, local community partners, non-profits and government agencies. Throughout the program, the fellows build on their existing knowledge and skills, and are encouraged to share and teach others.
While technical and scientific training is available through undergraduate and research programs in Hawai‘i, such training typically lacks hands-on field work with diverse stakeholders, such as local communities and fishermen. 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 marine resources.
With the support of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Atherton Family Foundation, Hau‘oli Mau Loa Foundation and The Office of Hawaiian Affairs, the program has ushered nine young men and women into the conservation field. Fellows’ activities vary widely as they experience the full range of marine resource management, from scientific research in remote areas to presenting at an international marine conference in Chicago.
The program is designed to:
- Provide two years of on-the-job training that combines mentoring by senior staff and peer-to-peer learning.
- Strengthen core competencies in traditional and contemporary science-based resource stewardship.
- Promote direct experience through community-based projects and field work.
- 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; manage human impacts on marine ecosystems; engage with communities in traditional Hawaiian stewardship practices and values; draft collaborative strategic management plans; conduct scientific biological surveys; manage and analyze data related to coastal ecosystem health; communicate scientific survey results to communities, decision-makers and the media; and much more.