Cheyenne Hiapo Perry

Department of Hawaiian Home Lands (DHHL), USDA Forest Service
Graduate Student
High School Attended
Kamehameha Schools, Kalihi, Hawaiʻi
College Attended
Leeward Community College, Pearl City;
University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo
Graduate Training
Current graduate student at UH Hilo, TCBES

Job Description:

Natural Resource Management for DHHL; includes horse control, vegetation surveys, and Acacia koa management. Scientific Research for USDA Forest Service such as vegetative field survey of native and invaded forests, data collection for ongoing research like Strawberry Guava demography, and various lab work. Interest in Field:

An internship with the University of Hawaiʻi Hawaiian Internship Program (UH-HIP) in the summer of 1998. The internship was with the USDA Forest Service on Oʻahu to determine if albino mangrove seeds may indicate hydrocarbon (oil) pollution.

How did you get there?

There have been many potential pathways since college graduation in 1998 but natural resource management, conservation, and Kanaka maoli values have always been underlying these potential career pathways. Aside from the path chosen there were opportunities to become a pilot and firefighter. Probably the beginning of this career path (as far as jobs go’s) was becoming a Team Leader for the Operation Miconia Emergency Environmental Work Force in 2001. This position led to many other career opportunities. It’s been a twisty road but we are very happy with the place that we are at today.

Necessary Qualifications:

Probably work ethic and analytical thinking. A lifetime of development through many different experiences that may have not been directly related to this work but certainly helped to develop thinking and understanding.

Rewards of Work:

Everyday is rewarding. My naʻau is always filled from participating in this work and hunger for it. I’d probably do this for free but its nice to get compensation for it, don’t tell anyone.

Relevant Work Experience:

  • UH-HIP internship
  • Landscaping
  • Military training (technical and analytical thinking)
  • Operation Miconia
  • USDA Forest Service
  • Department of Hawaiian Home Lands

Typical Day:

Everyday is different right now but on a field day, get up drink some coffee. Drive up to Mauna Kea and either do some type of survey work, gorse research and/or gorse management. Than back home. Usually 9+ hour days but there is a lot of travel time.

Words of Wisdom :

You wish you knew...:

That there were opportunities to gain experience in natural resource conservation during the summer that paid well. I ended up doing stupid work to survive, jobs like professional mover and appliance delivery during breaks from school. Take advantage of these summer opportunities and gain a diverse experience to determine what niche you enjoy and will be most effective in.

You wish you were told...:

Any type of mentoring from someone in the field would have been solid.

Final Comments / Advice:

Don’t let anyone tell you can’t do it. Develop a plan and stick to it. Oh, enjoy the ride and handle things day to day. Before you know it you’ll be there and it will be time for the next thing. Imua.