The Hawaiʻi Chapter of the Society for Conservation Biology (HISCB) organized “Restoring the Mind & Body Through Aloha ʻĀina,” a series of four volunteer workdays from March through May 2021. Forty-six volunteers worked to make improvements to the local wetland and coastal areas and were given the opportunity to restore mental well-being through the natural environment, connect with like-minded individuals, and learn to identify native and invasive species.

The volunteer activities, which included removing invasive plants, out-planting native species, and mulching, benefited two local community-based conservation organizations, Kākoʻo ʻŌiwi and Mālama Loko Ea. Kākoʻo ʻŌiwi focuses on restoring agricultural and ecological productivity to wetlands on the island of Oʻahu and promoting the social and economic advancement of the local community. Mālama Loko Ea focuses on the restoration of Loko Ea, a 400-year-old loko i’a (fishpond) in Hale’iwa, Hawai’i.

To learn more about the Hawai’i Chapter and get involved with upcoming events, visit their website and follow them on Facebook or Twitter. To find a chapter near you or learn about starting your own chapter, visit the North America Chapters website.

The webinar recording for the fifth in the 2021 SCBNA Student Affairs Webinar Series is now available on the SCB North America YouTube Page. Incorporating social science into practice and research is vital for improving conservation outcomes. In the fifth installment of the SCBNA 2021 Student Affairs Webinar Series, panelists discussed the intersection of conservation and social science. We are grateful to the following panelists for sharing their research and experiences with us in this webinar: Dr. Arundhati Jagadish, Social Scientist at Conservation International, and Dr. Meredith Gore, Conservation Social Scientist at the University of Maryland.

This was the final webinar before a summer break in the series. Many thanks to the Student Affairs Subcommittee for organizing this wonderful webinar series. All of the recordings in the series are up on the SCB North America YouTube page.

Planning is underway for a fall webinar on Equity and Inclusion in Conservation and Research – stay tuned for more information over the summer!

Members of the policy committee of the Hawai’i Chapter of the Society for Conservation Biology (HISCB) have submitted a policy statement on behalf of HISCB and the Society for Conservation Biology Oceania section regarding the listing of at-risk Hawaiian terrestrial flora and fauna species under the State Endangered Species Statute, HRS 195D, to prevent further decline or extinction.

Despite its relatively small landmass (less than 0.2% of total US landmass), Hawai’i has been called the endangered species capital of the world; it is home to more than 500 of the 1,600 species listed as endangered or threatened under the U.S. Endangered Species Act. However, Hawai’i receives only 8-10% of federal funding appropriated for the recovery of endangered or threatened species. Furthermore, the federal Endangered Species Act has been weakened by recent amendments and revisions made during the Trump Administration. With decreased protections for vulnerable species at the federal level, HISCB asserts that now is the time for state governments to strengthen their protections. 

Hawai’i has its own endangered species list under the State Endangered Species Statute, HRS 195D, to which any federally listed endangered or threatened species are automatically added. While many states add additional species to their own lists, Hawai’i has added only two species beyond those federally listed. According to nationally- or internationally-based conservation organizations, as of April 2020 there are over 600 additional Hawaiian species that are not listed but are considered endangered or imperiled. Listing species at highest risk under the State ESA, HRS 195D, would raise the profile of these overlooked species and promote their protection.

In its policy statement, HISCB has proposed three clear priorities that can be viewed as first steps to enhance the protection of Hawaiʻi’s unique biodiversity:

  1. Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR), the State agency that is charged with overseeing the State Endangered Species List, initiates the State listing process for at-risk Hawaiian flora and fauna species under the State Endangered Species Statute, HRS 195D, to prevent further decline or extinction,
  2. DLNR convenes workshops and other collaborative activities with relevant biologists to further evaluate the classifications of NatureServe and IUCN or other relevant analyses of Hawaiʻi species and consider them for state listing, and 
  3. Identify and engage interested individuals and organizations to petition the State for species’ listings in lieu of action by DLNR through the described process above.

Read the full statement here.

Scientific integrity is central to the mission and vision of SCBNA, and efforts by the Trump administration to undermine the integrity of science around the Covid 19 pandemic has prompted members of Congress and the Biden administration to take much-needed action on this issue. In March, SCB North America and fourteen other organizations signed a letter urging the House Science, Space and Technology Committee to support the Scientific Integrity Act. Reintroduced in February 2021, the Act would ensure scientists can carry out their research—and communicate it with the public—without fear of political pressure or retaliation. The Act requires that scientific conclusions are independent of political considerations or ideology. In addition, it would prohibit political appointees from manipulating scientific findings, or impeding the release and communication of those findings to the public through scientific journals or the media. Open The Government led the effort to bring the letter before the House committee, working alongside a coalition of science, conservation, research and accountability organizations.

Since taking office in January, President Biden has signaled a shift in federal government policy, creating a plan to strengthen scientific integrity and releasing an executive order to support science in policy-making (see this and other Executive Actions supported by SCB North America here). Action from Congress in passing the Scientific Integrity Act would establish a number of essential protections and policies that would stay in place through shifting presidential administrations and political appointees. SCB North America is encouraged by the re-emergence of scientific integrity as a high priority under the new administration and Congress, and looks forward to continuing to prioritize this issue through its policy program. 

Through the work of its policy committee and members, SCB North America has long supported efforts to strengthen scientific integrity to ensure that the best available science is used to inform conservation actions and policies. The SCB North America Policy program (SNAP) focuses on this work, making progress through advocacy, policy recommendations, and fostering international communication by scientists. This work promotes biodiversity by making sure that conservation laws, from environmental impact assessments to forest and marine resource management, are implemented using the best possible science. 

Download and read the full letter to the House Science, Space and Technology Committee here.

2021 Student Affairs Webinar Series
SCB North America’s Student Affairs Committee is hosting a 2021 webinar series on topics of interest to conservation students, early-career professionals, and others!

The fifth webinar in the monthly series is:

Conservation and Social Science: Harnessing Interdisciplinary Methods for Complex Issues

Wednesday, May 26

12-1:00pm PT | 3-4:00pm ET

Incorporating social science into practice and research is vital for improving conservation outcomes.

Join us as we discuss the intersection of conservation and social science with Dr. Arundhati Jagadish, Social Scientist at Conservation International, and Dr. Meredith Gore, Conservation Social Scientist at the University of Maryland.

Registration is required, please register at this link: https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZUoceCqpjstE9IjZkpDH77kPDWnNe5DiE9M

Webinars are available to both SCB members and non-members. Webinars will be recorded and posted to the SCBNA YouTube Page – subscribe so you are notified when new recordings are posted! The first three webinar recordings are now available:

Please contact megan.keville@scbnorthamerica.org with any questions related to the webinar series.

tan image with light and dark blue text that reads: Society for Conservation Biology North America 2021 Student Affairs Webinar Series: Multiple Ways of Knowing in Conservation and Ecology, May 13, 2021, 12-1:30pm PT | 3-4:30pm ET. Under text are four photos of webinar speakers out in the field.

2021 Student Affairs Webinar Series
SCB North America’s Student Affairs Committee is hosting a 2021 webinar series on topics of interest to conservation students, early-career professionals, and others!

The fourth webinar in the monthly series is:

Multiple Ways of Knowing in Conservation and Ecology

Thursday, May 13

12-1:30pm PT | 3-4:30pm ET

Ecosystems have been occupied, managed, & conserved since time immemorial. Pairing Indigenous Knowledge with western science, each with their own integrity, can allow for a more comprehensive view of ecosystem changes and species interactions.

Join us as we discuss key concepts and case studies with (left to right in image above) Dr. Lynn Lee, Marine Ecologist, and Niisii Guujaaw, Resource Conservation Biologist, at Gwaii Haanas National Marine Conservation Area Reserve and Haida Heritage Site, Dr. Sonia Ibarra, Coordinator for the Tamamta Program at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, and Dr. Andrea Reid, PI. at the University of British Columbia Centre for Indigenous Fisheries

Registration is required, please register at this link: https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZcqdOqqrjIjE92xfutWrPVrMDLHprgv5c3J

Webinars are available to both SCB members and non-members. Webinars will be recorded and posted to the SCBNA YouTube Page – subscribe so you are notified when new recordings are posted! The first three webinar recordings are now available:


This is the fourth in our series of monthly webinars; stay tuned for more!

Please contact megan.keville@scbnorthamerica.org with any questions related to the webinar series.

The webinar recording for the third in the 2021 SCBNA Student Affairs Webinar Series is now available on the SCB North America YouTube Page. We sincerely thank Dr. Haldre Rogers and Dr. Brett Scheffers for sharing their fascinating conservation journeys and research with us. In their presentations, they addressed: How is conservation conducted at the edges of our scientific knowledge? What does conservation research look like when an entire taxon of species is removed or in habitats where species are designated threatened as quickly as they are discovered? Check out the recording to learn about their work in bringing birds back to Guam and investigating the role of vertical niches in forests.

The next webinar in the series will take place on May 13 at 12pm PT / 3pm ET: “Multiple Ways of Knowing” in Conservation and Ecology. The link to register for the May webinar will be available on this webpage very soon.

Many thanks to the Student Affairs Subcommittee for organizing this series. Other topics coming later this year include Equity and Inclusion in Conservation and Research and Conservation + Social Science. Stay tuned!

If you are interested in joining the subcommittee, please email the Chair, Melissa Cronin: mecronin@ucsc.edu

This March, to celebrate International Women’s Day and Women’s History Month, SCB North America is highlighting women in conservation who inspire us.

Today we’re speaking with Dr. Aby Sène-Harper. We asked her to share a little about what she does and about her experience as a woman in conservation.

I am an assistant professor in conservation area management at Clemson University. As an environmental social scientist, my research has evolved in relation to the social, ecological and political contexts of our time. My focus has predominantly been on community-based conservation, protected area management and rural livelihoods. The past 2 years, however, have made it abundantly clear that we are living in an era of heightened awareness of racial injustices and a deepening ecological crisis that disproportionately impacts Black and Indigenous people around the world. The urgency of the moment has forced me to redirect my scholarship towards a more radical transformation of the social and global order. To quote Native American environmental activist, Dina Gilio-Whitaker, “Colonization is inherently an environmental justice issue,” and I believe this to be true for colonized people around the world who are still living in the grips of settler and neo-colonialism. In fact, many Black revolutionaries understood that the only way to address the ecological crisis is through full decolonization, as in the repatriation of Indigenous land and life. Conservationists often treat colonization as a thing of the past, when conservation programs continue to reproduce colonial power relations that exacerbate environmental destruction. Therefore, my work today engages more anti-colonial and Black radical thought to examine the imbrication of colonization, environmental destruction and injustices, and Black peoples’ political struggle.

I am a Black woman in the conservation field and the intersectionality of my race and gender poses some challenges and opportunities at the same time. Although I am dedicated to conservation issues, I also feel a strong responsibility to respond to the political and social needs of Black people. So, I am always in a constant internal struggle to balance these priorities. On top of that, as a Black woman working in a white male dominated field and even department, it can feel very isolating at times. Even if women are more represented today than they were before, it’s predominantly white women who are represented. But there are far more Black women across the globe engaged in conservation than we are aware of, and unfortunately several factors inhibit their visibility. That includes the lack of resources to access public platforms. There is also a tendency of the conservation movement to sideline Black and Indigenous women to instead amplify white women’s voices. This is exemplified in the amount of publicity Greta Thunberg and Jane Goodall have received in comparison to Vanessa Nakate and Wangari Maathai, and the countless Indigenous women activists who are in the front line of these issues. We must move beyond the colonial images of white women and men doing conservation work in Africa and highlight the extensive and everyday work that Black and Indigenous women are doing in conservation. We must be open to the ways Black and Indigenous women understand and choose to address conservation issues, because the aspirations and values systems of Black and Indigenous women are rooted in their social and political realities and often differ from those of white women. 


Thank you so much to Dr. Sène-Harper for sharing her experiences with us. To keep up with her work, follow her on Twitter at @AbySene9.

Check out stories from other women we’ve highlighted this month:

This March, to celebrate International Women’s Day and Women’s History Month, SCB North America is highlighting women in conservation who inspire us.

Kelly Zenkewich is the Communications and Digital Engagement Manager at the Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative. We asked her to share about her experience as a woman in conservation and who inspires her.

Looking back, my earliest memories of being interested in conservation were tied to writing or communicating in some way. From my early years of eagerly waiting for deliveries of Ranger Rick magazine to later making my own “newspapers” about mountain gorilla conservation, I always cared about nature. Later on I created my own field guide to the lizards and insects I saw in my backyard in southern Thailand and I definitely read every informational placard while visiting the Singapore Zoo, irritating my family to no end. From where I am now, it seems so obvious this was a route I’d take.

Yet for many years I was unsure of how I could combine my personal passions, academic knowledge, and professional interests. During my undergrad in biological sciences, lab or field work never really appealed to me so I worked at a newspaper for a while, but everything came together when I joined Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative. We’re an international environmental non-profit with a big mission: to connect and protect habitat so that people and nature thrive. This work doesn’t get done alone, so we collaborate with hundreds of partners on conservation projects in the region stretching from the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem to Canada’s Yukon Territory.

There, as communications and digital engagement manager, I get to do the things I love most: help translate science so it’s accessible and actionable, inspire folks who are passionate about the people, places and wildlife in the Yellowstone to Yukon region to get involved, and share incredible photos and stories. I consider myself science-adjacent, but my work is completely fulfilling and in a role I did not even knew existed when I was in university.

Being a woman in conservation shapes my world view and approach. For one, I try to be aware of representation and inclusion in the ways I communicate, make decisions, and how I spotlight others. This applies to the stories and content we share at Y2Y, and in the groups I work in, too. While my work doesn’t take me into the field much, being a female hunter conservationist has been an incredible experience — I cherish this way of connecting with nature and culture.

Working in conservation can be challenging, so it pays to find a good crew of tough people and mentors who challenge and support you. For me, some of those people happen to be amazing women. Y2Y has an incredible array of scientists, advocates, communicators, and conservationists on our board and staff who drive me to be better everyday — the things they accomplish astound me. Their passion is contagious.

My friends also inspire me: many are women in science working on research and issues related to climate change, raptors, remediation, and marine conservation regionally and globally, so I am incredibly lucky to be a part of their world. These women are making a difference — I’m happy to be there to assist.


Thank you so much to Kelly for sharing her experiences with us. Keep up with Y2Y and see Kelly’s work in action at:

About Y2Y: http://y2y.net/about

Instagram @y2y_initiative/ 

Twitter @Y2Y_Initiative

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/Yellowstone2Yukon/


Check out stories from other women we’ve highlighted this month:

This March, to celebrate International Women’s Day and Women’s History Month, SCB North America is highlighting women in conservation who inspire us.

Today we’re talking with Dr. Alysha Cypher. We asked her to share a little about what she does, about her experience as a woman in conservation, and to name a woman who inspires her.

I am a postdoctoral researcher at the Prince William Sound Science Center in Cordova Alaska. I’m a conservation scientist at heart but have worked in toxicology, physiology, and now I am working on migration patterns of Pacific herring using acoustic telemetry.  Science is a labor of love and my connection with nature has driven my career. I owe that in part to Rachel Carson. I’ve read all her books and am from a similar area in western Pennsylvania. We both grew up daydreaming about the ocean and her words seemed to always describe exactly how I felt about nature. The woman could make seaweed sound like the best thing since sliced bread.

I think it’s an exciting time to be a woman in conservation science.  Over the next couple decades we will see a shift in empowerment at the higher levels of academia and government that will better represent the diversity of people who actually work in this field. It’s already happening and other areas of STEM need to catch up.


Thank you so much to Dr. Cypher for sharing her experiences with us. Check out stories from other women we’ve highlighted this month: