The Crew

Focused, Passionate, Driven
Hanna Mounce, PhD
Research & Management Project Coordinator

Hanna developed a passion for island ecosystems during her undergraduate education. She gained experience in the public and private sectors of avian conservation as a biologist and master bander across the US and Costa Rica before moving to Hawaii. Hanna has more than 15 years of working on the conservation of Hawaiian forest birds and more than a decade of experience designing, coordinating, and conducting large research and monitoring projects with diverse stakeholders. While coordinating the recovery actions for MFBRP, Hanna also oversees an active volunteer program, and develops public outreach for the Hawai‘i community and beyond. Email Hanna

Sarah Malick-Wahls
Maui Nui ʻAlalā Coordinator

Sarah Malick-Wahls was thrilled to join the MFBRP team in 2021. Her previous experience was focused on the management of sensitive and endangered wildlife species working for public agencies in northern regions of the continental U.S. She has a B.S. in Conservation Biology from the University of Idaho and an M.S. in Wildlife Biology from Northern Michigan University and has most enjoyed her time working at remote field sites such as Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness in Minnesota and Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness in Idaho. Email Sarah

Laura Berthold
Ornithological Research & Logistics Senior Technician

Coming to Maui from the suburbs of Chicago and completing a B.A. in Environmental Studies from Loyola University Chicago, Laura began working with MFBRP as an AmeriCorps intern in 2009. With her past experience teaching various environmental programs and working on public lands, Laura was a great fit for the public outreach and conservation fieldwork and was hired in her current position in 2010. Email Laura

Hillary Foster
Natural Resource Data & GIS Technician

Hillary’s data management and GIS skills are from a culmination of experiences working with various species in a variety of positions. She has worked with manatees as the Manatee GIS Research Intern with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, sea turtles as an intern with the Virginia Aquarium Stranding Response Program, and humpback and grey whales as the Photo-ID Intern with Cascadia Research Collective. She also served a term with the Washington Conservation Corps/AmeriCorps as a Puget SoundCorps member at the WA Department of Natural Resources. Before joining MFBRP in 2021, she was the curator for the Mid-Atlantic Humpback Whale Photo-ID Catalog. She received her B.Sc. in Biology from Longwood University, VA and her M.Sc. in Environmental Studies from Evergreen State College, WA. Hillary is excited to apply her knowledge and skills to support the conservation of Maui’s incredible forest birds. Email Hillary

Rachel Kingsley
Hawaiian Forest Bird Outreach & Education Associate

 Rachel graduated from the University of Wisconsin Stevens Point with a B.S. in Wildlife Ecology: conservation and research. She went on to earn a Masterʻs degree in Zoology from Miami University through their Global Field Program. She began working with Hawaiian birds in 2006 as an intern at the Keauhou Bird Conservation Center on Hawaiʻi Island. For nearly 10 years Rachel worked as a Research Associate as part of the conservation breeding program staff before becoming the Outreach and Education Associate for The ʻAlalā Project in 2017. Rachel is continuing to work with The ʻAlalā Project and joined the MFBRP team in 2021.  Email Rachel

Sonia Vallocchia
Field and Data Technician

Sonia graduated from the University of Kent and gained her M.S. in Wild Animal Biology at the University of London in the U.K. Her passion for ornithological research and island conservation has taken her around the world to conservation projects in Mauritius, Malta, and Mexico. Working in Hawaiʻi is a dream come true, and she is very excited to join the team at MFBRP to apply her skills and contribute to the conservation of Mauiʻs fascinating avian biodiversity. Email Sonia

Erin Bell
Avian Research Associate

Erin first joined the MFBRP team in 2019 for the Kiwikiu translocation after performing several years of wildlife monitoring work in Idaho and her home state of Montana. Her excitement for avian ecology led her to receive her undergraduate degree from Carroll College in Montana and her graduate degree from Miami University in Ohio. During 2020, she worked as a crew leader for Maui Invasive Species Committee but was thrilled to come back to the birds in 2021. Email Erin

Natalie Wronkiewicz
Avian Research Associate

Natalie completed her undergraduate degree in Biology from Truman State University in northern Missouri, with a focus on ecology and field studies. Passionate about wildlife conservation, she pursued several professional field experiences through various state and federal government agencies, which led her to Texas, Oregon, and finally Hawai’i. In 2020, she learned much about conservation challenges specific to Hawaiian birds while working as a biological science technician for Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park and volunteering for the USGS Pacific Island Ecosystems Research Center. She began volunteering for MFBRP in 2021 before phasing into her current avian disease associate position. Email Natalie

Gabriel Figueroa
Research Associate

Born and raised in the island of Borikén (Puerto Rico), biodiversity and the outdoors have always been intriguing to me. With an academic background in Animal Science and a passion for our environmentʻs protection, I’ve found my place in the conservation field. From advocating for endangered species through policy review with Defenders of Wildlife to rehabilitating migratory birds at the Florida Keys Wild Bird Center, I’ve understood my passion lies in wildlife conservation. My recent KUPU term allowed me to serve alongside The Nature Conservancy as a Field Technician which gave me the chance to experience and help preserve some of the most pristine native forests in Hawaiʻi. This confirmed how much I like fieldwork and my goal to eventually focus my career on endangered species conservation. That said, I am very excited to continue to learn alongside my peers about conservation and endangered species while helping protect Hawaiʻiʻs native species of birds as a Research Associate with MFBRP!

Hunter Craft
Kupu CLDP

Trained as an environmental anthropologist, Hunter began his relationship with the Maui Forest Bird Recovery Project as a visiting researcher at the start of 2021. His project focused on understanding how the history of ornithological discovery in Hawaii continues to impact the conservation of the islands’ remaining birds. As a result of this experience, Hunter decided to apply for a position as a Kupu Service Member with MFBRP in order to give something back to the beautiful birds that brought him so much joy during the course of his research. Hunter is excited to continue on with MFBRP through the Kupu program before beginning further studies in environmental anthropology. In addition to his research and service with MFBRP, Hunter has volunteered for many years with educational programs run by the Audubon Society in his native Southern California. Hunter feels that working with Maui’s spectacular birds is an enormous privilege and is grateful to play a role in ensuring that they continue to exist into the future.

Laura Navarrete
Kupu ʻĀina Corps

Laura first became involved with seabird conservation as a summer intern for U.S. Fish and wildlife through the Dukeengage program at Duke University where she graduated with a B.S. in Evolutionary Anthropology in 2021. Laura fell in love with fieldwork and conservation working with seabirds on Kauai, alongside Kupu interns where she learned about the organization. Originally from cos cob Connecticut, she has always been passionate about wildlife and research. While Laura was an undergrad she volunteered at the Duke Lemur Center, Duke Clinical Research Institute, and the Canine Cognition Center. Laura feels so much gratitude towards MFBRP and the Kupu ʻĀina Corps program for the opportunity to grow and learn in the conservation field and in such a special place.

Layla Rohde
Kupu ʻĀina Corps

Born and raised on O‘ahu, Layla has been interested in Hawai‘i’s endemic animals since childhood. She completed a B.A. in Zoology at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa and has been working in conservation in Hawai‘i conservation since 2016 when she served as a Kupu CLDP member at the Hawai‘i Invertebrate Program working on the Pulelehua Project. Layla moved to Maui in 2019 to work at the Maui Bird Conservation Center and is excited to work with birds again in a different capacity at MFBRP.

Lilli Patton
Kupu ʻĀina Corps

Lilli graduated in 2020 from the University of Puget Sound with dual degrees in Biology and Environmental Policy. Lilli’s passion for wildlife conservation has deepened through multiple projects including her research with tufted puffins on the coast of Washington State, seasonal work in Boise, ID with diurnal raptors, and visits to the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Lilli joined MFBRP in June 2022 as a Kupu ‘Āina Corps member and is excited to learn and grow in her role on the team!

Hope Caliendo
Kupu ʻĀina Corps

While completing her B.S. in Fisheries, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology at The University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, Hope developed a passion for field work while participating in monitoring the population of and banding endangered Great Lakes Piping Plovers in Michigan. Hope solidified her ornithological focus by working at the Gabbert Raptor Center before graduating in May 2021 and continuing plover work for a third season with the National Park Service. Hope went on to work with Point Blue Conservation Science as a banding apprentice before joining the MFBRP team. She is looking forward to growing further in this position and contributing to the conservation of Mauiʻs incredible Honeycreepers!

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