|Kaunakakai, HI, United States|
(projects i'm involved in)
I earned my Bachelor of Science degree, in 1998, in Environmental Studies from the University of Minnesota, College of Natural Resources.
After graduation, I worked for 1 1/2 years as an intern for the Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources (BWSR), providing admin and field work support to the state Wetland Conservation Program. While at BWSR, I also became a certified wetland delineator.
After my internship, I worked for the City of Bloomington, Minnesota as Wetland Education Program Coordinator, off and on for 5 years. My primary focus was to educate the public about the value of wetlands and the impacts of nonpoint source pollution. I created and published educational materials, organized community events and worked on related ordinances and policies.
Frustrated with the stagnant, bureaucratic process of governmental work, I decided to go to law school. I attended and received my Juris Doctorate from Hamline School of Law in Minnesota in 2003. To take advantage of their commendable Environmental Law program, I attended my 3rd year at the University of Hawaii Richardson School of Law. During law school, I also completed and received a certificate in Hamline's world-reknown Alternative Dispute Resolution Program. I passed the Minnesota State Bar Exam and became a licensed attorney in the State of Minnesota in 2004.
My goal after law school was to work for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency writing policy. Unfortunately, with the conservative turn around and resultant choke hold on the EPA's ability to do anything pro-environment, I abandoned that goal soon after graduation. Lost, I took some time and did some soul searching to figure out how I could use my skills and experience to have the greatest impact on humanity in relation to the environment. Then, one day, in the midst of an environmental debate, a co-worker said to me, "you can talk the talk, but if you don't walk the walk, no one is going to take you seriously." At that time, I thought I WAS walking the walk, but realized that I wasn't doing enough. Shortly after doing more research, I cam across Permaculture.
I took my Permaculture Design Certificate Course at Melbourne University with Bill Mollison and Geoff Lawton in January 2007. I sat in the front row, paid careful attention and made it a priority to get to know the instructors.
A month later, after I returned home to Minnesota, I received an email from Geoff Lawton. Knowing that I was an attorney, he asked me to set up a U.S. branch of his Australian-based Permaculture Research Institute. In May 2007, I incorporated the Permaculture Research Institute USA (PRI USA).
Currently, I am the administrator and a director of PRI USA. Over the last couple of years, the org's work has been focused in the Hawaiian Islands, where I currently reside. In specific, our primary project is the "Molokai Permaculture Education Initiative". This project is a partnership between PRI USA and local nonprofit Sust'Aina-Ble Molokai to bring Permaculture education to the island in order to help the local community reach the goals of its Sustainability Plan. Since March 2009, we have held 7 courses on the island and set up numerous demonstration sites.
In addition to our work in Hawaii, I would like to see PRI USA expand it's projects and course offerings to other areas of the United States, including, but not limited to cold climate and urban Permaculture in the midwest. We are currently working on these goals.