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

Nicole Ferguson
Mosquito Research/Control Field Supervisor

Nicole completed a master’s degree in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Arizona, as well as a master’s degree in Zoology at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. During her time in Hawaii, she has taught biology courses for the University of Hawaii, performed field work with Mauna Kahalawai Watershed Partnership, and worked as an entomologist for the State of Hawaii. She’s excited about leveraging her previous experiences to suppress mosquito populations in East Maui, in order to help protect Maui’s native birds from avian malaria. Email Nicole

Christa Seidl
Mosquito Research & Control Coordinator

Christa returns to MFBRP as a disease ecologist with a Ph.D. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from the University of California Santa Cruz, and was inspired to pursue a scientific research and conservation career after chasing around Kiwikiu during her KUPU AmeriCorps internship with MFBRP in 2012-2014. Her Ph.D. research focused on the Hawaiian avian malaria system and ideally qualifies her to coordinate mosquito control and monitoring efforts for disease suppression in Hawaii. She additionally brings over 10 years of experience conducting avian and island conservation projects in New Zealand, Madagascar, the Galapagos Islands, and California with private, public, and industry partners. Christa looks forward to building a science-based mosquito management program for biodiversity conservation in Hawai’i.  Email Christa

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
Data & GIS Senior 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

Nikki Preston
ʻAlalā Research & Logistics Senior Technician

Born and raised in the moku of ‘Ewa on O’ahu, Nikki has always been an animal lover and this led her to start her first internship with the Keauhou Bird Conservation Center where she took care of Palila, ‘Akikiki, Puaiohi, Kiwikiu, and ʻAlalā. Nikki graduated from the University of Hawaii at Mānoa with a Masters in Environmental Management. Her master’s project was on investigating predictors of O‘ahu ‘Elepaio nesting success between areas with and without rodent control. Nikki has also worked across the Pacific with endangered bird conservation programs, such as taking care of Åga (Mariana Crow) in Rota, Mariana Islands and also assisting in the translocation release of the Guam Rail. Nikki also monitored and tracked endangered Orange Fronted Parakeets in New Zealand in 2018. Nikki is excited to work with Maui Forest Birds and contribute to the release efforts to bring ʻAlalā back into the wild. Email Nikki

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

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 master’s 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

Erin Johnson
Program Associate

Erin first became involved with MFBRP as a volunteer in 2016 after completing her Master’s degree in Conservation Biology at Victoria University of Wellington (Māori: Te Herenga Waka), New Zealand. She returned to the project in 2019 as a banding volunteer before joining the team as a research assistant for the Kiwikiu translocation. In addition to being a conservation biologist, Erin has an incredible range of professional experience working with start-up non-profits and international & outdoor science education. On Maui, Erin is also involved with Maui Invasive Species Committee and is a board member at Na Koa Manu Conservation. Email Erin

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

Gabriel Figueroa
Mosquito Research & Control Field Technician

Born and raised in Puerto Rico, Gabriel was always intrigued by wildlife. After graduating from the University of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez, with a bachelors in Animal Science, he decided to expand his area of knowledge and go where career opportunities led him. From advocating for endangered species with Defenders of Wildlife to rehabilitating migratory birds at the Florida Keys Wild Bird Center, he’s found his place in the field of Wildlife Conservation. In 2022 he had the opportunity to come to Maui and serve a KUPU term alongside The Nature Conservancy as a Field Technician. Here he aided in the efforts to preserve some of the most pristine native forests in Maui confirming his love for field work and island conservation. Gabriel is very excited to be able to help in the conservation efforts of a place that reminds him so much of home while he continues to learn about endangered species conservation!

Layla Rohde
Mosquito Research & Control Field Technician

Born and raised on O‘ahu, Layla has been passionate about 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, caring for critically endangered forest birds, including ʻakikiki and kiwikiu, in captivity. She then joined MFBRP in early 2022 as a Kupu ʻĀina Corps member, assisting with backcountry avian research projects. Layla is delighted to now be able to put her knowledge of both insects and birds to work, fighting avian malaria with new techniques to suppress mosquito populations.

Laura Navarrete
Mosquito Research & Control Field Associate

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.

Aidan Callahan
Mosquito Research & Control Field Associate

Aidan graduated from St. Lawrence University with a B.S. in Conservation Biology. Since graduation, he has worked in various sects of conservation from trail work, to animal care at sanctuaries, to invasive predator data collection. He is excited to take part in a project with the potential to make large-scale improvements in the survivability of endangered and at-risk native birds through the suppression of avian malaria’s mosquito vector.

Kayla Takakura
Mosquito Research & Control Field Associate

Originally from Maui, Kayla has always been interested in wildlife and conservation. During her undergrad, she worked on multiple conservation projects with black-tailed prairie dogs in Colorado, GIS mapping wildlife in Bear Paw, California, and analyzing land-use development along roads in the Amazon region of Peru. After graduating with her B.S. in Environmental Science from the University of Redlands in 2021, she interned with the wildlife management division at Haleakala National Park doing predator control and monitoring ʻuaʻu. Before joining Maui Forest Birds, she worked for the Mariana Crow Recovery project tracking and monitoring wild and captive-released crows. She is excited to be back on Maui working for the mosquito project and helping to protect Hawaii’s native birds.

Hunter Craft

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.

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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