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Rebekah D.

Director of Programs
Hilo, HI, USA


I serve as Director of Programs for the Akaka Foundation for Tropical Forests. I am also currently a Phd student at Purdue University in the Forestry and Natural Resources Department, where I am researching pathways and opportunities for the development of community managed forests in Hawai'i.

I received my B.A. in Anthropology in 2009, serving as President of Humboldt State University chapter of the Northwest Primate Conservation Society and receiving the 2009 Alfred Russel Wallace Outstanding Biological Anthropology Award. For two semesters, I served as a Teacher's Assistant and Field Guide for HSU's Primate Field School at the Organization for Tropical Studies in Costa Rica. I coordinated the Primate Conservation Speakers Series, and the Activism and Conservation Seminar at HSU, and volunteered with Semillas Del Futuro, teaching conservation and tree-planting in Costa Rica.

In 2013 I completed my M.A. in Social Science at HSU's Environment and Community Program, focusing on the social and ecological considerations of tropical forest conservation with a case study in Ecuador. During this time I completed an internship at the Jama-Coaque Ecological Reserve in Ecuador, focusing on agroforestry and permaculture. A member of Teach for America, I relocated to Pahala, Hawai'i in 2013, receiving my Teaching License from Chaminade University and teaching elementary school for two years.

It is my mission to be part of a grassroots conservation movement that encourages and empowers local citizenry through education and the creation of sustainable livelihood options in Hawai`i, and I am overjoyed to be part of the Akaka Foundation ohana.