Julie Leialoha, Interim Executive Director
Ms. Leialoha has had an extensive career in natural resource management that began as an intern while still attending high school at the Kamehameha Schools in the mid-1970s. As an avid surfer and hiker, she managed to turn her love for the outdoors into a commitment to protect Hawai‘i’s environment. “My early intentions where to simply make a living hiking and camping so I could surf in isolated locations.” After being told that was not possible by parents, counselors, and friends, she turned her pipe dream into reality. Attending Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington, she utilized her knowledge of the ocean to study marine biology where she focused on identifying marine invertebrates. “All life begins with the tiniest of creatures, and I became fascinated with the thousands of different types of organisms that inhabit our oceans.”
Upon completing her science degree Ms. Leialoha was recruited by NOAA’s Endangered Marine Mammals Program in Honolulu, where she ventured to Laysan Atoll and French Frigate Shoals in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands long before they were designated as the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument. There she worked on recovering the critically endangered Hawaiian monk seal – a conservation imperative she continues to support to this day.
Jonee Peters, Administrator
Aloha! I was born in Honolulu and raised in Kane‘ohe, O‘ahu. I graduated from J.B. Castle High School, and have an Associates of Sciences degree in Fashion Design and Technology from Honolulu Community College, and a Certificate of Achievement from Ho`ohalike Ko Kahiko Hou La`au Lapa`au in Hawaiian traditional healing arts. My past employment as a grounds keeper in the native Hawaiian plant section at the Waimea Falls Park Arboretum gave me a wonderful opportunity to work with rare native Hawaiian plants and Hawaiian birds. Influences in life are my parents, and kupuna (elders) who practiced lauhala (pandanus leaf) weaving, hula and chant, kahuna la‘au lapa‘au (native Hawaiian healing) and gathering food from the ocean. Spending my spare time in and around the ocean, learning about native Hawaiian plants and how they were utilized for food, medicine, and clothing, and creating fabric and multi media art are the things I enjoy doing.