Heather Smith-Lee: Heather is a graduate of the University of Hawai'i at Manoa. She earned a MEd in Educational Psychology, BAs in Psychology and Mathematics, and a certificate in Women's Studies. Heather's Masters Plan B looked at high school student engagement levels using laptops. Heather returned to the University of Hawaii, William S. Richardson School of Law in July 2016 to serve as the Director of Law Student Financial Assistance. She works very closely with current and prospective students, as well as alumni, to guide them through the general financial aid process. She previously worked as the Admissions and Web Coordinator at Hawaii's Law School. She recently spent three years in Manhattan, New York as a Program Coordinator/Consultant at a private tutoring company. Heather worked as a primary point of contact to set up and sustain proactive relationships among families and tutors. Heather was a Friends of Hawaiian Islands Director from 2015-2020, as well as the Secretary from 2016-2019.
Catherine Fox: Catherine received her M.S. in Biology from Boston University, where she studied marine biology in Woods Hole, MA and tropical ecology in Quito, Ecuador. Currently, Catherine is an adjunct professor of life sciences at Santa Monica College and Long Beach City College in Los Angeles, CA. She spends her summers volunteering as a field biologist for various wildlife conservation programs. With over ten years of experience working for environmental non-profits, such as the New England Aquarium, National Wildlife Federation and the Jane Goodall Institute, Catherine has worked first-hand with legislators, scientists, and the general public to achieve conservation goals. Through her previous experience as an environmental educator for informal learning centers, such as the Chattahoochee Nature Center and Aquarium of the Pacific, Catherine recognizes the importance of educating and engaging local communities to instill a sense of global consciousness, self-confidence and empowerment. Catherine was a Friends of Hawaiian Islands Director from 2013-2020, the Chair Emeritus from 2013-2019, and the Secretary from 2013-2016.
Ray Born: Ray is the Deputy Refuge Manager for Yukon Delta NWR in Bethel, Alaska with over 30 years of federal experience. He began his career in the Forest Service as a biological technician at Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument with US Forest Service. For the FWS served as an inspector in Guam and Los Angeles, Federal Law Enforcement Training Center in Georgia as a training officer, Supervisory Wildlife Inspector in Louisville, KY, Permits Manager and acting Deputy for Papahanaumokuakea MNM in Honolulu, HI. Ray also has a dual career as a Colonel in US Army Reserve finally serving as the Reserve Assistant Director Plans and Policy for US Forces Japan at Yokota Air Force Base, Japan from 2005 until my retirement in 2010 after over 35 years of service. His military career started as a Lieutenant in a light infantry company through Battalion Commander for a separate Light Infantry Battalion with 500 soldiers assigned in Guam. He has also served at a Brigade Executive Officer, Division Personnel Officer, and Seminar Leader for Reserve Components National Security Conference. In addition to serving as a civilian Senior Policy Advisor for Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command at Hickam AFB with responsibility for over 10 countries worldwide. Ray has a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology from Bemidji State University in Minnesota and Masters of Public Administration from the University of Guam. A graduate of the FWS Stepping Up to Leadership course and US Army Command and General Staff College. In his spare time he enjoys scuba diving, running, and hiking.
Noah Gomes is from Wahiawā, Oʻahu, and resides in Hilo, Hawaiʻi. He is currently employed by Kealapono under Kamehameha Schools as an Education Design Specialist. He holds a B.A. in Hawaiian Studies and an M.A. in Hawaiian Language and Literature from the University of Hawaii at Hilo. The topic of his Master’s thesis, “Meha ka Leo i ka Nahele: He Noiʻina i ka Poʻe Kāpili Manu o ke Au Kahiko,” on the tradition of Hawaiian bird catching. In 2017 this research led to the rediscovery of the Hawaiian name ʻalawī for the endangered honeycreeper Loxops mana, which previously had no known Hawaiian name. Noah continues his research on Hawaiian birds and other subjects relating to the classical native Hawaiian relationship with land. Further research regarding Hawaiian birds will be published some time in 2019.
Joan Patterson: Joan has been an active member of Friends organizations since 1995. First, with the Friends of the Tualatin River NWR in Oregon working to build capacity and successfully advocate for federal funds for land acquisition and public use facilities. Since moving to Northern Virginia, she worked with the Friends of the Potomac River Refuges. She currently serves as secretary for the Friends of the Migratory Bird/Duck Stamp, a group dedicated to the promotion, preservation, sales, and better understanding of the Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp (commonly called the Duck Stamp). As past Director of Grassroots Outreach at the National Wildlife Refuge Association she was responsible for daily interaction and communication with “Friends” including mobilizing “Friends” to support national wildlife refuges. Joan’s roots are in New England; yet she and her family have lived in the Midwest, Northwest and now the Mid-Atlantic.
David Golden: Raised on 10 acres in a small town in Northern California, David knew early he wanted to work outside with nature. He acquiring a Bachelors Degree from Sonoma State University in Environmental Studies: Conservation and Restoration in 2013. Soon after graduating David begin working for the Kauai Endangered Seabird Recovery Project (KESRP), where he worked for 3 years monitoring the interactions between Endangered Seabirds and power lines on the island of Kauai. In 2015 while working for KESRP, David and the project received the Endangered Species Recovery Champion Award from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. In 2017, David went on to spend a summer working for the National Ocean and Atmospheric Association (NOAA) monitoring Monk Seals on Kure Atoll located in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands. After David came back from that amazing experience, he began working for Tree Solutions and Environmental Consulting Services, Inc. as an Arborist and Biologist on Oahu where he works to this day. David truly feels grateful for how the Islands of Hawaii and their natural beauty have grown his career thus far. By being part of the Advisory Council for Friends of Hawaiian Islands, David feels its just a small way he can show his appreciation for what the Islands of Hawaii has given him.
Koa Matsuoka: In his early years, Koa grew up on the island of Lānaʻi and later moved to Papakōlea Homesteads, Oʻahu where he currently resides. He spent three field seasons in Papahānaumokākea with the Hawaiian Monk Seal Research Program at Kapou (Lisianski), Manawai (Pearl and Hermes), Kuaihelani (Midway) and Lalo (French Frigate Shoals). Koa has worked in Hawaiʻi and Alaska with the National Park Service, National Marine Mammal Laboratory, U.S. Geological Survey and Oahu Army Natural Resource Program to research and manage endangered plants, birds, and pinnipeds. He recently served as the field coordinator with the San Diego Zoo Global for the 2019 Palila release and assisted with the Kiwikiu (Maui Parrotbill) and ʻAlalā crow releases. He holds a B.S. in Natural Resources and Environmental Management from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa and is pursuing a M.S. in Tropical Conservation Biology from the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo. Koa currently works for the State of Hawaiʻi Division of Forestry and Wildlife assisting with the development and implementation of Habitat Conservation Plans and Safe Harbor Agreements under the state endangered species law. Outside of work, Koa enjoys backpacking, diving, fishing, photography, and surfing.