Kainana Francisco

I grew up on the east side of Hawaiʻi island, spending most of my time outdoors with my ʻohana, swimming and playing in the ocean or in the brackish water pond in our backyard, exploring the environment and my surroundings, and learning the values of aloha and mālama ʻāina. This led me to studying environmental science and conservation biology in school, and becoming a student of the hula ʻaihaʻa tradition, first with Unukupukupu, and currently with Unulau. I am passionate about integrating multiple knowledge systems to transform how we do conservation, natural resource management, and environmental education in Hawaiʻi, and uplifting ʻIke Kūpuna and Hawaiʻi Lifeways as guiding lights for Hawaiʻi conservation. I am humbled to have had the opportunity to help Kekuhi birth her ideas to create the Hālau ʻŌhiʻa Hawaiʻi Stewardship Training program as a partner organization through my work with the USDA Forest Service, a Hālau ʻŌhiʻa Kākoʻo, and as a learner in the flagship 2016 cohort on Hawaiʻi island, and look forward to helping these efforts and the program continue to grow.