Navigator Spotlight

Asuncion Photo Copy B At Haleolono 2016 Jamie Makasobe

Brenda Asuncion

Kuaʻāina Ulu ʻAuamo (KUA)
Loko Iʻa Coordinator
How did you find yourself in conservation? Who (or what) is your biggest inspiration in committing to this field?

I was fortunate to have lots of outdoor time with my family while growing up on Oʻahu, so I guess it was just a matter of developing a love for those times and the places we would go, and that led to studying biology/environmental studies after high school. 

I'm inspired by people who take the initiative to act on their ideas and concerns and hopes. There are so many people working to improve things for Hawaiʻi, and they are young and old, doing both simple and complex things, and just knowing that all that energy is out there motivates me all the time.

Describe a typical work week or work day.

Regardless of where I'm physically at on a given day, a typical day includes constant communication with kiaʻi loko and other partners...lots of emailing and phone calls. Although I miss physically working at loko iʻa on a regular basis, the function of my position is to foster and support the network, so that informs my day-to-day activities.

What is your most favorite or valuable memory working in the conservation field?

My favorite memories are the times when kiaʻi loko can gather from all throughout Hawaiʻi and contribute their energy and expertise to support the work happening at a particular loko iʻa. This model of collaborative work was called into action by the hui itself, so I am stoked when this idea can be manifested.

What is conservation to you?

Conservation to me is very forward looking in the sense of sustaining a healthy, productive relationship with our ʻāina long into our future generations, but also "backward looking" in the sense of learning from generations before us what is appropriate, and the boundaries of what that relationship should be.

What advice do you have for students or emerging professionals?

I think I'm still very young in my career, but I feel that it's very important to have trust in your pathway and that everything around you is supporting your journey.

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