The BIISC Staff
Springer Kaye, Manager:
Honomu, Hawai`i. Invasive species directly threaten our environment, economy, and way of life. Working together, Big Island communities can stop the spread of invasive species, take direct action in our neighborhoods and businesses, and advocate for sound decision making from our political leaders. I love working every day in service to my community.
Joel Brunger, Field Supervisor:
Tennessee. I am passionate about protecting the natural resources of Hawai`i to preserve this precious and fragile environment for future generations to enjoy.
Jimmy Parker, Early Detection Program Coordinator:
Greenville, South Carolina. I am passionate about botany and learning about plant behavior once they are introduced to Hawaii. Surveying the roads and nurseries of the Big Island is both fun and challenging because there are always new plants coming in from all over the world.
Bobby Parsons, Early Detection Technician:
Los Angeles, California. While I did grow up in Los Angeles, my home away from home was always Hawaii. My grandfather was an entomologist for the state of Hawaii for 20+ years which gave me the opportunity to spend my summer months on Oahu learning about how bugs and plants interact. Today, I continue my family tradition of working in the rewarding field of conservation as an early detection technician helping prevent the spread of new invasive species on Hawaii Island.
Shannon Karratti, Field Leader:
Kailua, Oahu. Being a natural descendant from the Kingdom of Hawaii, born and raised on the windward side of Oahu, my family and I have received the blessing from our ancestors to call this land our home. It is my responsibility and fervent desire to contribute to all efforts towards restoration and reunification of our land and people.
Judith Ferrera, Fiscal &Program Associate:
Makati City, Philippines. I used to live in California before relocating to Hilo. I previously worked in research administration at the University of California. I moved to Hilo because of the warm climate, beaches, rainbows, and lush tropical setting. Natural resources are irreplaceable and conservation is the only way to prevent exploitation, destruction, or neglect of our environment for us and for future generations to enjoy this wondrous place. I acknowledge all the efforts of the BIISC staff in restoring the land and as the fiscal and program associate, I will play an active role to dutifully administer resources to support the program.
Bryson Baring, Invasive Species Field Associate II:
Hilo, Hawai`i. I am passionate about the work that we do because I support and believe in the mission and saving native defenseless plants from harsh invasive species.
Bill Buckley, Forest Response Coordinator:
Detroit, Michigan. It has been my pleasure and honor to serve in the Natural Resource area of conservation and restoration. This type of work has driven me to work harder to make a positive change to our unique ecosystems here in Hawaii. Over the years I have witnessed the benefits of my own two hands at work and I feel grateful for the opportunity to offer my help to benefit the land.
Molly Murphy, Invasive Plant Prevention
Victor, NY. From an early age I had a strong desire to work in the natural environment. My passion began when my father and I planted hundreds of trees in our back yard at the age of 13. Watching the seedlings grow into a forest was satisfying. I understood then that a career in conservation would keep me happy. I enjoy making a difference in Early Detection and being on the front lines keeping new invasive species from establishing in Hawaii.
Franny Kinslow Brewer, Communications Director:
Philadelphia, PA. I began my career in the financial industry, but always had an interest in the environment and natural resources. After working for a sea turtle conservation program in Greece, I wanted to pursue a career in conservation. I moved to Hawai’i and worked in non-profit, and eventually earned my degree in biology from UH-Hilo. As a student, I developed a love for the forests of the Big Island and a passion for protecting and caring for the unique natural landscapes here. After assisting on several ecological research projects with the Forest Service, I moved into education, teaching science full time at Big Island public and charter schools while earning my master’s degree. I still am very committed to the young people of our island and to getting students out of the classroom and into the forest.
Hilo, Hawaii. My first experience in conservation was during the summer of my junior year in high school. Going through KUPU’s Youth Conservation Corps really piqued my interest in this field. From there, I went to pursue a degree in tropical horticulture from UHH. The biggest influence that directed my career path was working as a volunteer for Dr. Hara the entomologist at CTAHR that specialized in pest treatments for tropical flowers and foliage. I went on to be a student help then a temporary hire after I got my degree. While working at CTAHR I was able to help different nurseries around the island with their pest problems ranging from ants, slugs, beetles, and even coqui frogs. Now at BIISC I can take what I learned and use it to help the community rid themselves of the little fire ant that’s becoming a nuisance to everyone.
Idaho. Raised in the forests of the Northwest, I grew up with an appreciation for the environment and the biodiversity found in the world around us. I’ve also witnessed entire forests near my childhood home devastated by an invasive beetle, followed by massive wildfires fueled from the dead timber. The threat of an invasive species taking hold and destroying native forests and habitats is never ending. Working in conservation allows me to lend a hand in the effort to keep invasive species off of the Big Island, and combat those that have already reached our shores.
Panaewa, Hawaii. I am so happy to be continuing on with the Big Island Invasive Species Committee as a member of the outreach team. I worked with BIISC during the summer of 2016 as a PIPES intern and my work primarily focused on surveying for little fire ants (LFA) and increasing community engagement in LFA control. At the end of my PIPES internship I decided to continue on as an intern with Kupu’s Conservation Leadership Development Program from August 2016- August 2017. At the end of my Kupu internship, I was hired on as an official “BIISC-it”. As a recent graduate of UH-Hilo (16’), I am excited to be on the outreach team because I get to work with members of the community that care about protecting Hawaiʻi from invasive species.
Bend, Oregon. Growing up, my family always encouraged me to build a sense of stewardship toward the environment. I’ve been continuously inspired by my grandparents, who celebrate and enjoy nature everyday. I recently graduated from the University of Hawaii at Hilo, and I am so excited to be working here as a KUPU intern. My time at UH Hilo has inspired me to do something to make a difference here on the Big Island, and has helped me develop my own passion for conservation. I hope to spend this year learning as much as I can while at BIISC.
Long Beach, California. I’ve lived on the Big Island since 2005, and in that time I’ve acquired a B.S. in Tropical Horticulture and M.S. in Tropical Conservation Biology and Environmental Sciences from UH Hilo. I’ve always had an interest in the complex ecological processes involved in ecosystems and how the plants and animals interact, and living on the Big Island has enabled me to familiarize myself with the unique ecological processes and environmental issues that exist in Hawai’i. I am excited to incorporate my background in horticulture, entomology and conservation to mediate the risks associated with invasive species on the Big Island.
Preserving Hawai‘i is important to me because I have had the opportunity to visit so many of its pristine natural areas that are now threatened, and have seen the changes on the landscape by both invasive species and by reforestation efforts. Traveling the world has re-enforced for me just how unique and special Hawai‘i’s ecosystems are.
Kristin Meehan, GIS Specialist/Data Analyst
Hendersonville, North Carolina. Growing up in the southern Appalachians gave me a love of the outdoors and showed me how invasive species can affect native landscapes. I am grateful to be able to combine my backgrounds in wildlife biology and GIS to help BIISC understand the trends and patterns in invasive species spread, to better target control efforts and stay aware of emerging issues.