Molokai Educator Honored for Cultural Conservation

Friday, November 5, 2010 By Molokai Dispatch staff

The Nature Conservancy News Release

Longtime cultural and environmental educator Penny Martin received The Nature Conservancy (TNC)’s Kako`o `Aina Award this past weekend at a community celebration at the Kilohana Community Center.

She currently serves on TNC Molokai Advisory Council, where she is a key advisor on conservation issues that affect the community.  “Penny does this with common sense and respect for the beliefs and opinions of all involved. She is trusted and respected by everyone,” said Ed Misaki, the director of TNC Molokai programs.

The award honors individuals who have provided significant and long-standing support for conservation in Hawaii.  Kako`o `Aina literally means, “one who supports the land.”

“Few people have served as ambassadors for Hawaiian culture and conservation as Penny Martin has on the island of Molokai,” said Suzanne Case, TNC Hawaii executive director. “She has helped the people of Molokai work through difficult issues related to the use and conservation of the island’s natural resources and is truly a community treasure.”

Martin was born and raised on Molokai and attended Kamehameha Schools. In 1976, she was one of two female crewmembers aboard Hokule`a’s epic first expedition from Tahiti – an experience that taught her an important lesson.
Penny Martin is presented with a kako`o, or staff carved from `ohi`a wood, from The Nature Conservancy for her work in cultural conservationism. Photo provided by TNC.Penny Martin is presented with a kako`o, or staff carved from `ohi`a wood, from The Nature Conservancy for her work in cultural conservationism. Photo provided by TNC.
“Living on a canoe is like living on an island,” she said. “You have to learn to live with limited resources and work together to manage them.”