TCBES Symposium

14th Annual Tropical Conservation Biology and Environmental Science Symposium

Annual TCBES Symposium Kaiameaola Club presents "Ho'omau: Sustaining Communities & Ecosystems in our Changing Climate" Where: Campus Center 301 University of Hawai'i at Hilo When: April 11th-12th 9am-4:30pm

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The 14th Annual Tropical Conservation Biology and Environmental Science Symposium will be held on April 11th and 12th, 2024 from 9am-4:30pm at UH Hilo Campus Center 301. This years theme is "Ho'omau: Sustaining Communities & Ecosystems in our Changing Climate". In light of the tragedies that occured on Maui, we'd like to emphasize the importance of building up community and ecological resilience. This years theme reflects on the changes occurring to ecosystems, endemic species, and indigenous communities as anthropogenic climate change continues to exacerbate social and environmental concerns.

The TCBES Symposium and other events throughout the year are funded by proceeds from the annual TCBES Kaiameaola Silent Auction. All proceeds of the auction will go toward funding future club activities and events.

Please be sure to read the rules on the Silent Auction Page before bidding and mahalo for your support!


Abstract submission is closed. This is open to undergraduate, graduate, and professionals who would like to share their research. Please indicate if you are a student and would like to be eligible for the student awards. First place oral presentation will be eligible to win up to $100. You can choose any of the following options to showcase your work:

  • » 5-minute talk
    ideal for proposing research ideas, no data is required for this presentation.
  • » 10-minute talk
    a conference-length presentation, these talks are suitable for researchers to share the results of their work. We ask you to present in under 12 minutes and leave 3 minutes for questions and transition to the next speaker.
  • » Poster presentation
    posters can be presented on completed projects, completed sections of an on-going project, or works-in-progress. There will be a special poster session on Thursday, April 28th from 3:30pm - 5:00pm. Posters should be no larger than 48 x 52 inches and must be printed. Students interested in bringing a poster, please work first with your advisor on funds for printing a poster. You may also contact an event organizer for printing questions.

For questions, please contact


Registration is closed.

Keynote Speakers

Thursday, April 11, 2024: Pelika Andrade

Headshot of Pelika Andrade A native Hawaiian born and raised on the island of Kaua'i, Pelima Andrade is a founder and Executive Director of Na Maka Onaona, a Hawai'i based non-profit, and an extension agent for the University of Hawai'i Sea Grant College Program. She has a long history working with Hawai'i communities throughout the archipelago as a community memeber, hoa'āina, and researcher. For the past 15 years, she has been developing alternate approaches to monitoring Hawai'i's watersheds and supporting implementation of management strategies that support 'Āina Momona: healthy, balanced, and thriving communities.
PhD Research: Pewa: A joining of our past into our future; a reconciliation of indigenous literacy and its role in 'Āina Momona explores the healing journey of Hawai'i communities through the lens of 'Āina Momona (thriving and productive communities), while offering an analysis of impact from a collection of pewa (concepts and tools) that were created to support the healing of our people through reconciling narratives of indigenous literacy. This study examines an interpretation of 'Āina Momona, how that interpretation has contributed to recalibrations and resettings of other concepts and ideas that contribute to 'āina momona, how these recalibrations have led to the development of pewa (concepts and tools) that were created to support 'āina momona, how implementation of these pewa have in turn challenged the narrative of indigenous literacy, and finally an analysis of the impacts these pewa have on 'āina momona through this reconciliation of indigenous literacy.

Friday, April 12, 2024: Drew Kapp

Headshot of Drew Kapp My story began through my Ukrainian ancestors in the foothills of the magical Karpaty, the Carpathian Mountains of Eastern Europe, and also in Germany, and continued in the cities and woodlands of Massachusetts and Connecticut where I grew up. I was a university student in Montréal in Canada, Firenze in Italy, and la Ciudad de México, and graduated from the University of Connecticut with degrees in Italian and Spanish. I worked for an international student exchange organization in Washington DC and at New York University's Insitute of Fine Arts Library before moving to Honolulu to earn a degree in Geography at the University of Hawai'i at Mānoa. I spent many years working in university libraries, including in the Map Collection at UH-Mānoa and at Mookini Library in Hilo, and assisted with the Atlas of Hawai'i project with special attention to Hawaiian place names. I began teaching Geography at Hawai'i CC and UH Hilo in the late 1990s, and have since had the privilege of residing in the verdant, volcanic uplands of Puna, where Kea'au and Kahauale'a meet within the 'Ōma'olala Forest. While teaching, I helped to coordinate the new Keaholoa STEM Program at UH Hilo, supporting Native Hawaiian students in the sciences, and I also earned a degree in Hawaiian Studies from Hawai'i CC. I am a member of the Unukupukupu hula 'ohana, a product of the Uluākea faculty development program, an advocate of UH Hawai'i Papa O Ke Ao, of 'āina-based learning, of ahupua'a research, of pāmaomao exchanges with indigenous communities of Turtle Island and Oceania, and serve as an Assistant Professor in Geography at Hawai'i CC. I support sustainability initiatives through my work on the Lā Honua Earth Day Committee, and academic sustainability committees, councils, and certificate programs. I cherish the partnerships I have developed with community organizations from every moku of Hawai'i Kuauli, as they helped realize positively transformative learning experiences for my students. I am grateful to be involved in the well-being of our Hawai'i cultural-environmental communities in my role as a settle aloha 'āina, and inspired to be among people who are dedicated to learning and growing.

Awards and Recognition