TCBES Symposium

12th Annual Tropical Conservation Biology and Environmental Science Symposium

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12th Annual TCBES Symposium

TCBES Symposium- I ulu no ka lālā i ke kumu (The branches grow because of the trunk), part of Lā Honua and Malama Honua: Wānana i ka Mauliola- Projecting and manifesting well-being and resilience through setting intentions, learning, working to achieve a healthy Honua. The symposium will take place April 28 and 29. The TCBES program in collaboration with Lā Honua are thrilled to present our joint keynote speakers: Dr. Manu Aluli Meyer and Lokelani Brandt

The 12th Annual Tropical Conservation Biology and Environmental Science Symposium will be held on April 28 and 29, 2022 with the theme of "I ulu no ka lālā i ke kumu" (The branches grow because of the trunk). The keynote speakers, Dr. Manu Aluli Meyer and Lokelani Brandt, are hosted by TCBES in collaboration with the Lā Honua (Earth Day) committee. Thank you for taking this opportunity to learn about the groundbreaking projects being conducted within the TCBES community.

The TCBES Symposium and other events throughout the year are funded by proceeds from the annual TCBES Kaiameaola Silent Auction. The 2022 Silent Auction will be held from April 25th-29th, and bidding will close at 3 PM on Friday April 29th. 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!


Register in advance for the TCBES Symposium Zoom webinars using the links below. After registering for both days, you will receive confirmation emails containing information about joining the webinars.

Keynote Speakers

Thursday, April 28: Dr. Manu Aluli Meyer

Dr. Manu Aluli Meyer: Konohiki for Kūlana o Kapolei - University of Hawaiʻi, West O‘ahu

I ulu nō ka lālā i ke kumu - I am because of you

Dr. Manu Aluli Meyer with a flower lei on her headDr. Manu Aluli Meyer Understanding our own mōʻike, the cultural genesis of our passions, insights and life work, is an awakening process linking us to the work of Spirit. How then do we embody contemporary principles of ʻike kupuna? How indeed does ʻike ʻāina teach and inspire us within our own lives? We are at the threshold of radical potential. This post-pandemic moment is perfectly poised for unusual collaborations that will give life to the noa huna of ʻauamo kuleana - collective transformation through individual excellence. I ulu nō lālā i ke kumu - I am because of you. Come, the door opens inward. Let us enter this mythic space of mutual causality together with care and kindness.

Manu Aluli Meyer is the fifth daughter of Emma Aluli and Harry Meyer. She is part of a larger ʻohana who hail from Mokapu, Kailua, Kamamalu, Wailuku, Hilo, Kohala and Kipahulu. Her family is dedicated to the transformation of Hawaiʻi via kānaka cultural ideas with land, health, education, economics, publishing, art, law, justice, and philosophy. Dr. Aluli Meyer earned her doctorate from Harvard in 1998 thinking through Hawaiian epistemology and its role in world-wide awakening. She remains a staunch advocate of cultural agroforestry with her focus on niu, or coconuts, and has been a haku hoʻoponopono most of her adult life. Aunty Manu is now part of UH West Oahu and lives in the mauka lands of Palehua with her beloved partner, Ngahiraka Mason.

Friday, April 29: Lokelani Brandt

Lokelani Brandt: Senior Archaeologist- ASM Affiliates

Paʻa mua ke aloha: Lessons for a productive future as told in the Legend of Uweuwelekehau

Abstract Lokelani Brandt smiles in front of an overlook of the ocean, wearing a flower in her hairLokelani Brandt Traditional Hawaiian mo’olelo offer rich insights into understanding Hawai’i’s ecological past. Join Lokelani Brandt in exploring the value and importance of incorporating Hawaiian mo’olelo into contemporary conservation efforts. We will spend some time journeying from Wailuku River, Hawai’i to Manā, Kaua’i as we examine the legend of Uweuwelekehau—an account filled with lessons of overcoming challenges and landscape transformation.

Born in Kailua, Oʻahu and raised in Hilo and Puna, Hawaiʻi, Lokelani Brandt currently works as a Senior Archaeologist and Ethnographer at ASM Affiliates, an archaeological consulting firm in Hilo. Her early Hawaiian immersion education at Ke Kula Kaiapuni O Keaukaha and Nāwahīokalaniʻōpuʻu has made her a fluent speaker of the Hawaiian language. In 2017, she graduated with her master’s degree from the Heritage Management Program at the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo. Her thesis, which was oriented around building community, pulled together primary archival and secondary resources to help reveal the Hawaiian cultural history of Piʻopiʻo, a traditional land division in coastal Waiākea. Although she works as a full-time archaeologist and ethnographer and is a mom of two, Lokelani has made it her life’s work to continue sharing the Hawaiian cultural history of Piʻopiʻo and Hilo. She currently lives in Waiākea with her ‘ohana.

Featured Presentation:

Thursday, April 28: Patrick Hart & Taupōuri Tangarō, University of Hawaii at Hilo

Title: Kani Manu & Oli Kānaka, Connecting the Language of Birds and Chant

Kānaka man with dark hair and navy buttondown standing in front of a wallTaupōuri Tangarō White man with gray hair standing in a forestPatrick Hart Abstract: Seabirds and shorebirds were the first animals to arrive in the Hawaiian islands millions of years ago, bringing with them the kani (sounds) that they have used to communicate for millenia. Later, the first forest birds arrived, and their original kani and mele (song) changed through time and as dozens of new species evolved through adaptive radiation across the archipelago. The islands were alive with the chorus of bird song (ʻūleʻuleʻu manu) for millions of years. When the first humans arrived, they brought with them the mele and oli (chants) from their homelands, which blossomed, thrived, and evolved as they interacted with their new landscape. In this presentation, we discuss and provide examples through sound and voice of how the kani and mele of the birds informed the way that leo oli kānaka (human chanting voice) would grow and develop. We also examine parallels between the ways that the kani of the manu and the kani and leo oli of the Hawaiian people have changed more recently in time as their populations have declined, and in some cases blossomed again. Finally, we present and teach a new oli manu (bird chant) to use when entering the forest.

Volunteer Workday

Join us for the Kumuola Marine Science Education Center Loko i‘a workday on Friday, April 29, 2022 from 1:00pm to 4:30pm to end this year's TCBES Symposium! Please RSVP by filling out this form. The event is limited to 30 participants.

Awards and Recognition