Meet Makayla: Conservation Scientist and Native Plant Enthusiast

Makayla Rickard is a valuable member of the Coral Reef Alliance family. She has a strong passion for sustainable resource management in Hawaii and deeply understands the intricate connections between the ocean, land, and people. Her academic background in Sustainable Science Management earned at the University of Hawaiʻi Maui College, has equipped her with the knowledge and skills to tackle island-based sustainability issues and manage natural resources effectively.

Makayla has extensive experience in caring for her island home of Maui, from helping at Maui Cultural Lands and water-quality consulting for Lahaina Harbor to serving on the board of Kipuka Olowalu.  More recently, she was honored with the opportunity to participate in the Maui Navigation Team pilot process with the Department of Aquatic Resources to help inform nearshore management in Maui Nui. This is a testament to her high capacity, track record, and trusted stewardship of Mauiʻs natural resources.  We are delighted to have Makayla as a valuable member of our team.

Fun Facts about Makayla

What’s your favorite coral reef destination and why?

I am lucky enough to live on the west side of Maui, Hawaii where the mother reef of Maui Nui is located. Known for its abundant marine life, Olowalu Reef is full of turtles, manta rays, and 500-year-old corals. 

What has been the most rewarding aspect of your role at CORAL in supporting the mission?

Our strategy at CORAL to create resilient coastal communities has allowed me to work closely with the local communities I care deeply about here in Hawaii. Supporting my community and coral reefs at the same time is a dream come true!

What is the last book you read?

Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants by Robin Wall Kimmerer

How would you describe yourself in one word?


What do you want people to know about coral reefs?

Coral reefs are not just affected by global stressors, but everyday actions too. There are a lot of things that you can do to reduce stress on our reefs like going green with your landscaping, reducing single-use plastics, and planting native plants.

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