Kupu Selects Pacific Resiliency Fellows Program Inaugural Class

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Kupu announces the selection of its first Pacific Resiliency Fellows (PRF) program cohort. Mana Purdy and Kalani Quiocho, both born and raised on Hawai‘i Island, will be part of an inaugural class that includes 12 other conservation and sustainability professionals from Hawai‘i, American Samoa, Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands (CNMI), Guam, Palau and Rapa Nui. The goal of the program is to build local capacity in smaller island areas by developing and empowering rising leaders and social entrepreneurs who are working to build more sustainable and resilient communities.

“We are excited to launch this innovative environmental fellows program,” said Kupu CEO John Leong. “The Pacific Resiliency Fellows is an opportunity to support rising local professionals currently working to enhance environmental, cultural, and community strength and well-being within their islands. These individuals are well-positioned to affect change, and together we will build more resilient and sustainable communities throughout Hawai‘i and the Pacific.”

Mana Purdy

Born and raised in Waimea, Mana Purdy graduated from Hawai‘i Preparatory Academy and Northern Arizona University with a bachelor’s of science degree in environmental studies with an emphasis in sustainability, community and bio-cultural diversity. Now working as Liliu‘okalani Trust’s natural resource manager, Purdy oversees the organization’s conservation projects and ʻāīna-based education. He is currently monitoring the ecosystems at Keahuolūʻs dryland area and anchialine pools in north Kona. In addition, Purdy is leading the design and development of a Mauka Agricultural Station, which will include a 48-person amphitheater to showcase and promote traditional agricultural practices.

“I believe this is an awesome opportunity to create a network from within our local communities, outwards, to the larger Pacific region to work together to realize meaningful impact,” said Purdy. “We’re in a very exciting time in human history; technology and convenience combined with overwhelming environmental challenges. How can we braid the latest advancements with traditional thought to create a future we’ve envisioned?”

Kalani Quiocho


A native of Hilo, Kalani Quiocho currently serves as the Native Hawaiian program specialist for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Office of National Marine Sanctuaries (ONMS) Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument. In addition to educating and ensuring that Hawaiian values and practices are integrated into daily management, strategies, and activities of the Monument, Quiocho is currently working on creating a Native Hawaiian Plan to formalize, update, and expand the Monument’s efforts to recognize and promote Native Hawaiian interests and contributions and strengthen overall management of the area.

Kupu’s Pacific Resiliency Fellows program will include field-based and intersession curriculum, networking and mentorship opportunities, and professional development trainings to strengthen leadership, management, and strategic communications skills. Fellows will convene in Hawai‘i from July 15 – 24, 2018, for the first of two 10-day trainings. The group will participate in workshops, visit cultural and conservation sites throughout O‘ahu, meet and work with innovative community leaders, and attend events including the 25th Annual Hawai‘i Conservation Conference at the Hawai‘i Convention Center.

“Providing a space for our Pacific Resiliency Fellows to connect with and learn from Hawai‘i’s community leaders, kupuna, seasoned professionals, as well as from each other, creates an opportunity to grow our community and culture of conservation and sustainability throughout the Pacific,” added Leong.


The Pacific Resiliency Fellows program is a legacy initiative of the 2016 International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) World Conservation Congress. Program sponsors and supporters include the Hau‘oli Mau Loa Foundation, Harold K.L. Castle Foundation, the U.S. Forest Service, and Hawaiian Airlines. For more information about the program and a full list of the 2018 inaugural class, visit

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