Growing up in the rainforests of Hawaii laid the foundation of Mali’o’s passion for conservation science. Throughout high school and college, Mali’o conducted research in a wide variety of environments, from coral reefs to mountain forests. After graduating from Brown University, Mali’o was a Helen Fellow at the American Museum of Natural History for 2 years, where she conducted research on ecological niche modeling and coastal community resilience. Mali’o is excited to learn from and with a diverse community of peers in the CSP Program, and she aspires to one day lead coastal adaptation strategy efforts at an internationally recognized conservation organization to implement scientifically-rooted, ecosystem-based conservation solutions that are centered around local community needs.
Read about Mali'o's Year 2 Capstone
Mali’o’s capstone work explores climate adaptation and resilience strategies across scales and geographies. Over the summer, Mali’o is working closely with ecologists, conservation practitioners, farmers, and indigenous groups on the central California coast just north of Santa Cruz to develop a regenerative farm incubator in partnership with Pie Ranch, a local 501c3 non-profit focused on food justice and education. Regenerative agriculture follows practices such as cover-cropping and ecological stewardship, in contrast to extractive or damaging farming practices, ithat mprove the landscape as it is being farmed. The farm incubator will give underrepresented new and beginning farmers training as well as access to land and capital. Mali’o is developing a large grant proposal for the organization to show how success is measured on regenerative landscapes, and how this work can integrate social justice and equity into its endeavors.
In the fall and spring, Mali’o will work at a larger scale with The Nature Conservancy to help develop climate adaptation strategies across California, Texas, and New York. These strategies include an investigation of the feasibility of strategic property buyouts for improved community and ecological resilience.