***Update! Click here to find out what Linnea has been up to since winning her award.***
(Written in 2008)
When Linnea joined the Hawai’i Youth Conservation Corps (KUPU), she had very little knowledge of or concern for Hawai’i’s environmental preservation.
“I had always loved the outdoors and nature, but I’d never seen the environment as a responsibility, which I now realize it is,” she said.
Linnea joined the Corps out of cultural consciousness and pride when she heard the Corps was going to spend a week on Kaho’olawe Island. This island, a place of great cultural significance for many native Hawaiians, was used for military live-fire training and was in the process of being “regreened”.
During her term on her home island and her second term at the National Tropical Botanical Gardens, Linnea was involved in dry forest, stream, and beach restoration projects, including removing invasive species, propagating seeds, and installing irrigation. During both terms, supervisors and peers were impressed by her drive, eagerness to learn, and enthusiasm for service.
Linnea is currently pursuing a degree in Environmental Science and plans to be an active participant in environmental restoration in the future. As Linnea said:
“Luckily for me, a passion for the Hawaiian culture led me to an equally engrossing care for the environment and the islands I call home.”