Inspired by our good friends Sustainable Coastlines in New Zealand, we decided to take keeping our beaches clean into our own hands while making the work fun. What we’ve learned along the way is that cleanups can only do so much. We now utilize our cleanups to inspire better consumer behaviors and continued coastal stewardship through cleanups, education, social media, and more.
We are run by a growing team of full time staff, interns, and a large team of dedicated volunteers. Want to get involved in our core team? Show up at our next cleanup, introduce yourselves and show the extra effort. We’re always looking to grow our team.
Rafael is passionate about the opportunities ahead of us to recreate a more sustainable world. He grew up with a family deeply connected to a sense of responsibility for protecting the natural world. Some of his earliest inspirations were weekends with his parents wandering the banks of the American River in Sacramento, CA where he would have the opportunity to interact with wildlife, ecological systems, and rattle snakes. Rafael is a graduate of University of Hawai‘i's Natural Resources and Environmental Management Masters of Science Program and served as the O‘ahu Chapter Coordinator for the Surfrider Foundation for 5 years before becoming the Executive Director of Sustainable Coastlines Hawai‘i in 2019. Rafael completed his BA in Communications with minors in Political Science and History at the University of California San Diego. He has also served as a Team Leader for the Hawaiian Youth Conservation Corps, founded the civic engagement workshop "Civics is Sexy", and has served on multiple plastic waste reduction committees at the State and County level. These collective experiences inspire his love for Hawai‘i, its people, its natural beauty.
Rafael is also an avid photographer, aspiring writer, and former professional baseball player (a pitcher in the Atlantic League and Israel Baseball League). His favorite things are a morning bodysurf at Makapu‘u, a wander on a jungle stream with his fiancé, or finding the time to read an inspiring book on a beach anywhere. Rafael continues to be inspired by the concepts of pilina, reciprocity, and knowing that we are perfectly imperfect.
Raf, Raffa, Raffi, Bergy
“The moral covenant of reciprocity calls us to honor our responsibilities for all we have been given, for all that we have taken. It’s our turn now, long overdue. Let us hold a giveaway for Mother Earth, spread our blankets out for her and pile them high with gifts of our own making. Imagine the books, the paintings, the poems, the clever machines, the compassionate acts, the transcendent ideas, the perfect tools. The fierce defense of all that has been given. Gifts of mind, hands, heart, voice, and vision all offered up on behalf of the earth. Whatever our gift, we are called to give it and to dance for the renewal of the world. In return for the privilege of breath.” — Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teachings of Plants by Robin Wall Kimmerer
Let us never speak of them again
Rachael was born in Santa Cruz, California and had the fortune to grow up exploring the coast and redwood mountains. As a teenager she learned to surf, spending countless hours in the cold central coast waters where she found inspiration and passion for ocean conservation. After high school she studied at Cabrillo College and when she wasn’t in the water, she volunteered for several local nonprofit organizations - protecting marine habitat in the Monterey Bay.
In 2014 she moved to O’ahu to finish her bachelor’s degree in Sustainability Studies with a minor in studio art at the University of Hawai’i at Manoa. During her time at UH she volunteered with Surfrider Foundation O’ahu Chapter and Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii. Finding a group of friends that felt more like family in the Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii crew, Rachael stayed after college and found a job with SCH working as an executive assistant in 2017. Since then she has managed the waste diversion program, worked as the operations manager and currently directs the programs under the Action Pillar.
Outside of work Rachael pursues her other passions: printmaking, surfing, freediving, and backpacking. She is fascinated by having a diverse approach to sustainability, particularly in food systems. She has a passion for sourcing food locally, learning to hunt and fish (responsibly, of course).
Monica McLenigan started off with Sustainable Coastlines Hawaiʻi back in 2017 as an intern and moved into a core volunteer role. Now, she is the Communications Manager and oversees media relationships, social channels, content creation, and marketing materials. After graduating from the North Carolina State College of Natural Resources with a degree in Ecosystem Assessment and concentration in marine and coastal resources, Monica relocated to Oʻahu to pursue work in the sustainability industry. In her free time, Monica enjoys any activity that will get her outdoors, time with friends and family, yoga, and dancing. In fact, she may even bust a move at an SCH cleanup if you play one of her favorite songs.
Paul’s love story with Hawaii began in 2018, when the silhouette of O’ahu appeared on the horizon after a 6-month expedition in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Paul and a crew of adventurers departed from Japan 165 days earlier to escort his uncle, long-distance swimmer Ben Lecomte, while completing the first trans-pacific dataset on plastic pollution. As they witnessed first-hand the destructive impact of our throwaway culture on the ocean and its wildlife, they engaged over 8 million people through the web-series and feature film, The Swim. After a second adventure through the North Pacific plastic vortex and an education tour around the world, he has arrived back to the island and the SCH’Ohana he fell in love with, determined to activate our collective power and reconnect our community with our lands and oceans.
Hideki Kimukai has been a core volunteer for Sustainable Coastlines Hawai'i since he joined in 2013. He has coordinated and completed dozens of international collaborative beach cleanups on O’ahu. He joined Sustainable Coastlines Hawai'i Education and Outreach team in 2018. Not only has he successfully educated local audiences, he has also excelled in outreach and education to international students, including Japan, Australia, and European countries. Hideki was born in Japan and lived in Japan until he began high school studies abroad in the US continent. He holds a B.S. degree in Secondary Education and holds a M.S. degree in Computer Information System from Florida Institute of Technology.
Shaina Duran is the Action Coordinator at Sustainable Coastlines Hawai’i. This coordinator position relates to the Cleanups and Restoration Events Program, which includes Event Planning, Volunteer Coordination, and Office Operations. Shaina was born and raised on the West Side of O'ahu, in Mākaha. She attended Northern Arizona University where she got her B.S. in Environmental Science with an Emphasis in Management. In her free time, she enjoys drinking copious amounts of coffee, reading, spending time with her friends and family, and freediving for shells.
A very expensive pair of sunglasses from Korea!
Jasmine Buerano, known to many as Jazzy, is an internationally grown storyteller. She grew up for most of her life in Hawai’i, splitting her time between Nu’uanu, O’ahu, and Waimea on Hawai’i Island, and lived in other places like Guam, Brunei Darussalam, and the Philippines. She began her journey with non-profit work at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo in California through a student-run Surfrider Club Chapter where she served as the Director of Media. After graduating with a BA in Communication Studies and a concentration in Environmental Studies in 2021, Jazzy moved home to Hawai’i, working in Hilo as a photographer and social media manager for a global lab that seeks to create innovative solutions for communities who need them most. Now, as the Inspiration Coordinator at SCH, she manages SCH social media platforms and is a community outreach specialist. When she isn’t taking photos or writing, Jazzy enjoys spending time outdoors with her family and friends, singing, and cooking for others.
To express, not impress.
I found part of a wig hahaha
Whether it be backpacking, farming, hunting, or surfing Steffi’s many outdoor passions have led her to live a lifestyle that serves the environment. She is involved in waste diversion team which has inspired her and her partner to turn waste into a resource at their farm. For example, they collect fish carcasses from local fish restaurants to make natural fertilizer and use ghost nets to build trellises for their vegetables.
Jocelyn just completed her MA in Geography and Environment at UH Mānoa, and now works as an educator at Sustainable Coastlines Hawaiʻi and researcher for the US Forest Service. Born and raised on Oʻahu, Jocelyn had an international childhood traveling to countries like Burkina Faso and Bangladesh with her parents' small non-profit. Being exposed to the economic disparities and environmental issues of these countries early in life, Jocelyn became driven to focus her future career addressing complex socioecological issues. She became passionate about conservation and mālama ʻāina after joining the UH Mālama I Nā Ahupuaʻa program, and later interning with Kupu, Lyon Arboretum, and Kauluakalana. All of these experiences have made her dedicated to sustainability, aloha ʻāina, and the importance of forging deep connections between land, ocean, and community.
“Even a wounded world is feeding us. Even a wounded world holds us, giving us moments of wonder and joy. I choose joy over despair. Not because I have my head in the sand, but because joy is what the earth gives me daily and I must return the gift.” ― Robin W. Kimmerer, Braiding Sweetgrass
A dead cockroach lying among microplastics on the sand.
Aloha, my name is Conrad Morgan. I'm born and raised in Kailua, Oahu and am an avid bodysurfer. I am attending Westmont College in Santa Barbara, California where I am double majoring in communications and Environmental Studies. The majority of my free time is spent in the water or picking up trash off of the shore. The ocean is what gives me joy and drive in life and I want to do everything I can protect it so that my children and grandchildren can experience it in the same way I have. Growing up in Hawaii I have seen how connected we are to our oceans and land, a connection that has been lost for most of humanity, and I aim to do my part in reconnecting humanity to our beautiful natural world.
I'm originally from Chicago and although there was a lack of environmental awareness in my schools, I was still able to grow a passion for animals and nature. The hard part for me has been trying to figure out my career path in the environmental movement world but thankfully SCH has taken me on and opened my eyes to the importance of community and education. In previous jobs, I've fallen into leadership positions which have taught me that I'm capable of learning and sharing knowledge in order for the team to succeed/accomplish goals.
"Attract what you expect, reflect what you desire, become what you respect, and mirror what you admire."
Just had a cleanup in Hau'ula at Kokololio beach and the keiki found a machete! Lol
My love of the ocean guided me to pursue a degree in Marine Biology. I focus on clean oceans and how to save sharks. As a PADI Divemaster, I’m always in the water exploring! I enjoy a sustainable lifestyle & helping people learn how to reduce their usage of waste.
"There is simply no issue more important. Conservation is the preservation of human life on earth, and above all else, is worth fighting for." -Rob Stewart
I found a Funko that was a pink Darth Vader
Dr. John N. ("Jack") Kittinger is the Vice President of the Global Fisheries and Aquaculture Program in Conservation International's Center for Oceans and a Professor of Practice in Arizona State University’s Global Futures Laboratory and School of Sustainability. Under his leadership, CI works to protect biodiversity and improve the wellbeing of ocean-dependent communities by implementing sustainable fisheries and aquaculture solutions built on partnerships and investments from ocean to plate. A lifelong surfer, fisher and waterman, he is committed to ocean-based learning experiences and to being in the water as often as possible. He and his family live in Niu Valley, Oahu, Hawai‘i.
Danya is a longtime food system advocate, with a diverse background in impact investing, activism and storytelling. As a Managing Director at Elemental Excelerator, she looks after a growing portfolio of over 130 climatetech startups representing nearly $50M in investment capital. Over her four years with Elemental, she has built the strategy and managed the startups working to transform the food and agriculture, materials and water sectors. Previously, Danya was the Program Director for Hawaiʻi Center for Food Safety and an Associate Producer for National Geographic and Discovery Communications. She is the recipient of Pacific Business News 40 Under 40, Hawaii Business Magazine’s 20 for the Next 20 and Edible Hawaiian Islands Local Heroes Award, among other honors.
Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing. — Arundhati Roy
Jacked up Barbie Doll Head
Makana brings commitment, passion, humility, and kindness to all spaces and relationships. Driven to explore new experiences and challenges, Makana embraces the opportunity to solve the unsolvable and create safe space for solutions to arise in chaotic situations. With a natural tendency to pursue questions and find solutions, Makana organizes and brings teams together to resolve problems and improve systems. Makana has several years of management and leadership experience in both the public and the private sector. Her vast network of trusted relationships has supported her ability to build community through identifying areas of strength and supporting growth and wellness. Her leadership style, informed by high emotional intelligence, is built upon a foundation of empathy, rooted in kuleana, and most importantly, she leads with aloha.
ʻAʻohe hana nui ke alu ʻia
Mark Towill (Honolulu, HI) is CEO of 11th Hour Racing Team, the US offshore sailing outfit based out of Newport, RI, U.S., which won The Ocean Race 2022-23, the world’s longest and toughest team sporting event. A mission-driven entrepreneur, Mark has extensive experience in building and leading high-performing teams, delivering value to stakeholders across multiple industries, raising capital, executing international marketing and communications campaigns, and managing crisis situations, all while being a champion for ocean health and sustainability. A passionate campaigner for the ocean, and a Board Member of Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii and The Marimed Foundation, Mark drives 11th Hour Racing Team’s sustainability program which monitors and measures everything that goes into the professional sports team across all operations to minimize the team’s impact, while communicating about the importance of innovative action for the health of the ocean. Mark received his MBA from Babson College in May 2023 and graduated from Brown University with a BA in Economics and a BA in Environmental Studies.
Maxx Phillips, Center for Biological Diversity, Hawaiʻi Director and Attorney. Before joining the Center, Maxx was policy advisor and legislative attorney in the Hawaiʻi State Senate and managing director for Mālama Pūpūkea-Waimea, a volunteer-based nonprofit created to replenish, sustain, and protect the natural and cultural resources of the Pūpūkea Marine Life Conservation District on the North Shore of O‘ahu. Maxx grew up on the Big Island of Hawaiʻi. She has a bachelor’s from the University of California, San Diego and her law degree from the William S. Richardson School of Law where she graduated cum laude with certificates in environmental and native Hawaiian law.
A troll doll
Cofounder of SCH, lover of the ocean, and passionate about leaving a positive impact on Earth.
If can, can
I am a Financial Advisor with a deep passion for ocean sustainability, and spend a lot of time in the water through surfing & hydrofoiling. I work to blend my passion for conservation with my Wealth Management practice by implementing ESG (environmental, social, governance) friendly approaches to investing.
Thank you friends, and thank each other!
Been with SCH since it’s first cleanup...Been the creator of some of SCH most popular fliers and t-shirts...All the things you see at cleanups has made me committed and passionate about SCH and it’s mission...
Kiani Ku’uleimomi Akina is Kanaka Maoli from Kahuku, O’ahu. She is a rising junior at Harvard College studying Environmental Science and Public Policy, focusing on Indigenous communities and Oceania. Her experience includes working with Kuleana Coral Reefs, weaving Hawaiian knowledge into speaking engagements at Harvard and beyond, and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion work in the newly founded Harvard Climate Coalition. Kiani attributes her deep investment in climate and environmental work to her Great Grandmother, Viola Ku'uleimomi Clark Akina, who gave her her name, Kiani– which is an overheard wave in hula gesture, which set her on a path to develop a love for hula dancing and her Native Hawaiian identity. Kiani is particularly interested in incorporating Hawaiian culture and history into Sustainable Coastline Hawai'i's mission to inspire and awaken kuleana amongst communities to steward our homes, coastlines, and ahupua'a. Aside from her environmental, community organizing, and activism work, Kiani enjoys spending time with her family, reading, making lei, roller skating, dancing hula and other Polynesian dances, diving, and playing rugby!
“ʻAʻa i ka hula, waiho ka hilahila i ka hale” // Dare to dance, leave the shame at home
I grew up in the Rocky Mountains and have been passionate about the outdoors and environmental stewardship since youth. From Hawai‘i it's crystal clear to me that the ocean needs protection and SCH is the vessel through which I hope to leave behind some positive ripples.
"Life on our planet is defined by the health of our ocean" - Nainoa Thompson
I'm from the Big Island and I grew up in the country on an avocado farm with natural beauty all around. My passions are Video, Photography, capturing that beauty all around us, but also saving that beauty for many generations into the future. Aloha.
Born in Hi, raised in France. I fix old V-Dubs and pretty much anything I find. I hate waste and non durable goods. I love cleaning beaches and come up with solutions on the spot along hard working folks.
Claudia is a marketing specialist and environmental manager who loves to volunteer with action-focused organizations like SCH, supporting audacious ocean expeditions like The Vortex Swim or running crazy world-record underwater and remote cleanups in Australia, where she's currently stuck down under but can't wait to be back on the beach with SCH soon.
Although I lack the southern accent, I was born and raised in Georgia. I’ve always been drawn to the ocean despite my landlocked upbringing, and I’ve been actively involved in cleaning beaches on O’ahu since I moved here in 2015. The amount of marine debris I’ve witnessed in that time has been a total wake up call to action. My educational background is in behavioral psychology, so I thoroughly appreciate how SCH combines coordinated debris removal efforts with community education and engagement in order to facilitate human behavior change. I’m excited to support this awesome community of ocean loving individuals.
Caitlyn McCall is a coffee-lover and senior at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa pursuing a B.A. in Sustainability. Her time with SCH started in March 2020 as an education intern. In November of 2021, she joined SCHtaff as an administrative assistant and education specialist. She coordinates and leads education events. Caitlyn specializes in upcycling micro-plastic workshops with keiki to teach them about plastic pollution and creative solutions. On her days off, she enjoys thrifting, skating around town, making fruity drinks, freediving, and hiking on the east side. Before her time with SCH, Caitlyn had six years of volunteer experience with the non-profit organization, National Charity League Inc. She served as the Vice President of Programs, Vice President of Philanthropies, and Board Member of the philanthropy Main Street Attraction. Main Street Attraction is a second-hand retail store that inspired Caitlyn to pursue an interest in sustainable fashion. Her environmental sciences background began at the Program of Environmental Science and Sustainability National Student Leadership Conference hosted at the University of Washington in 2017. She continued her education at the University of Oregon, where she was an Eco-Representative for freshman dorms, resided in the Environmental Leaders Living Community, and a sustainability center volunteer. Caitlyn presented collaborative research at the University of Oregon's 2018 Undergraduate Research Symposium on the Externalities of Fast Fashion.
Born and raised on the island of Molokai, Sage-Marie Yamashita has been working with non-profits since the age of 13. For the majority of her life, she dedicated countless hours to being a voice for the oceans and immersing herself in her island’s community and culture. Sage created her experience by volunteering at every local beach cleanup, becoming a part of Parley’s Ocean Uprise, the Blue Planet’s Climate Crew, and Kanu Hawaii. In the past year, Sage became Molokai Dispatch’s first high school intern reporter. While accomplishing her work in internships and volunteering she holds the life of being a teenager with a job as a waitress, captain of both soccer and cheerleading, and big sister duties. Now as SCH’s inspiration intern, she gets to immerse her love of communications and the oceans together to share SCH's movement. Soon after she will be heading off to California to get a BA in Communication Studies and a concentration in Environmental Studies.
A crate with mysterious writing on the sides
Sydney Millerd was born and raised in Waipahu and is a proud graduate of Waipahu High School and the University of Hawaii - West Oahu (UHWO). She graduated from UHWO in 2021 and obtained Bachelor degrees in Applied Sciences with a concentration in Sustainable Community Food Systems and in Arts in Social Sciences with a concentration in Political Science. Upon graduating, Sydney served as a Youth Ambassador to the USA Pavilion at the World Expo in Dubai. With her passion for sustainability and the environment, Sydney has had various experiences in the field from hands-on, research, political, and social media angles. She’s excited to contribute these experiences & skills, especially her social media skills, to her intern role at SCH.
Flowers may bloom again, but a person never has the chance to be young again. (Chinese proverb)
My name is Liz Plascencia (she/her/hers) and I support SCH through the Education Program and Waste Diversion Team. Currently, I am pursuing a Master in Environmental Management at the Yale School of the Environment. My experience volunteering with SCH helped to inspire my specialization in plastic pollution policy and coastal management. Ultimately, I aspire to integrate environmental justice throughout coastal climate resiliency projects. I am a proud First-Generation Mexican American from Los Angeles, California. In my spare time, I enjoy free diving, skateboarding, sailing, backpacking, and surfing!
Hi there! I’m Mo, and I am currently pursuing a BA at Connecticut College in Anthropology, with a double minor in Environmental Studies and Film Studies. I previously spent several years as an Urdu language translator in the Air Force. That experience guides my interests at the intersection of environmental and human rights impacts of militarism and colonialism. SCH helped foster a love for community-based activism and education and continues to be an influential experience in my environmental journey.
Aloha, I am a passionate nature lover dedicated to closing the loop on overconsumption and localizing our food systems. I became an environmental activist in high school after allowing more nature into my life as therapy. While gaining my degree in sustainability, I have worked in environmental education with keiki to connect them at a younger age, to become stewards, and to help create a planet of more caring and compassionate individuals to weave communities and our environment to be symbiotic once again. O'ahu is a special place, and I value the unique web of non-profits in which give so much from the heart. I’m honored to be a part of the SCH team and working for a better circular future.
THE FIRST HALF OF LIFE IS LEARNING TO BE AN ADULT. THE SECOND HALF IS LEARNING TO BE A CHILD. - PABLO PICASSO
As an all around lover of the ocean, meeting a group of like minded friends 10 years ago, made it a no brainer to share in the passion for taking care of our marine environment through pitching in as one of the first core volunteers for Sustainable Coastlines HI. Early on, I supported the mission by creating keiki art activities at cleanups centered on the idea of caring for our coastlines on the beaches and at home as a way to inspire our next generation. Later, I tapped into my chef background, packed up my traveling kitchen, and supported by feeding our hungry crew averaging about 30 coastal caring humans. This job usually consisted of cooking over fire, in the elements to satisfy our hardworking crew. There is nothing better than cooking under the stars for a crew of people that I truly resonate with. Currently, as a new mom, I look forward to sharing this passion and caring for our ocean environment with my son for his future generation.
I was raised in central Oahu and I spent a lot of my time growing up at the beach. Just like SCH, I have a passion to preserve our beaches and coastlines. I want to inspire others to enjoy what the ocean provides for us while caring for it, now, so our kids and everyone after us can enjoy the ocean and all it has to offer them when we're gone.
I am an environmental and indigenous activist committed to bettering how we operate as a society to protect the planet and future generations. I have worked in the environmental sector for almost four years in various roles committed to protecting our 'Āina. I love sharing sustainability tips & tricks with my community because it's not always common knowledge, and seeing how stoked people get when they feel empowered to do better is awesome! I am passionate about SCH's mission because knowledge is power, and having the ability to share ways of being a better steward of the 'Āina and our coastlines is one of the greatest gifts I can share with others.
Environment is no one’s property to destroy; it’s everyone’s responsibility to protect. – Mohith Agadi
After high school I moved from my hometown in Virginia to go to University in London and attain my BA in International Development with NGO management. I not only gained a degree but a deep passion for human rights and the health of the planet. In recent years I was able to teach children in Peru English and about the environment. Due to COVID, I decided to finish the last few months of my degree in Hawaii and after lockdown I stayed, started doing beach clean ups, learning video editing and doing net removals with SCH. Plastic pollution is the biggest threat humanity faces and SCH’s work in the community is powerful and necessary. I aim to help create, innovate, and put in the hands on work needed to see SCH’s mission come to life.
Danae Naone is a senior animation student at UH Mānoa. She is a strong advocate of the health of our environment and is stoked to be working on educating others through her animated clips.