Aloha! My name is Alyssa, and I started volunteering for the Hawai‘i Wildlife Fund in 2017, doing honu watches at Ho‘okipa. Since then, I’ve also been a part of beach clean-ups, conservation projects, and recently my first Hawksbill nest excavation.

Alyssa helps out as an intern for HWF with Maui’s Honu Watch Program.

I remember the day that I first met Hannah and the team. She was kind and welcoming, and I loved her passion for the honu and our island. It was soon after that I met Magda who showed me the ropes, taught me about sea turtles and sea life conservation, and just simply made me laugh. Each person I’ve met in this group shares the same passion for our beloved honu and goals to protect our ocean. I’ve always had a passion for the turtles and ocean, and this group really amplified my care and attention to ocean conservation.

Each day I volunteered for HWF, it would feel rewarding and like a new experience. At the honu watches, I met people that were visiting from all over the world, and I loved seeing them light up upon seeing sea turtles for the first time. I’d get asked all kinds of turtle questions too, which was a lot of fun for me to always be quizzed on my turtle knowledge! At the beach clean-ups and conservation projects, it felt good to know we were taking care of and cleaning our beautiful island. And at the nest excavation, there’s nothing like it – it’s so special to be a part of a baby honu’s hatching and first journey to the ocean.

This group has a special place in my heart. I moved away off island for a couple of years, but when I came back, Hannah, Magda, and the HWF crew welcomed me back like family. I feel lucky to be a part of such a kind group of people that are making a difference for our honu and ocean.

I highly recommend taking part in the HWF. The experience feels very rewarding and helps Maui’s sea life thrive.

Guest blog submitted by Alyssa Lee.