Noa Lincoln

Noa Lincoln
Bishop Museum; Hawaiʻi Community College
Ethnobotany Educator; Forest TEAM Field Supervisor
High School Attended
Kamehameha Schools, Honolulu, HI
College Attended
Yale University: Environmental Engineering
Graduate Training
First Nations' Future Fellowship

Job Description:

I work in natural resource education, which includes fields such as agriculture and conservation. I am employed at the Amy Greenwell Garden, which is involved in many plant conservation efforts, and by the Forest TEAM as a field supervisor. I work with people of all ages and backgrounds to better understand natural resource management, and particularly how culture influences natural resource use. Ultimately I attempt to shape the land use of Hawaii through education.

Interest in Field:

My true interest is in whole system management, and by specifying in one area I believe that the knowledge is lost of how intricate and integrated the environment and human societies are. To be an effective leader one must understand all fields, and not just one.

How did you get there?:

My path itself wasn’t very directed, but what I think is important about my journey was the consistency. I knew early on that I wanted to protect the environment, and I never stopped or took time off from achieving that goal. And there was plenty of fun and adventures along the way. I’m from the “work hard, play hard” school, and so I found ways to do the two together. When I got the travel bug in college, I found ways to go to Costa Rica, Palmyra Atoll, and other places while studying or doing research. I just kept my long term goal in mind, and never stopped taking small steps toward it.

Necessary Qualifications:

The undergraduate degree is virtually a requirement on any significant job in conservation or education. And I do endorse the college experience. There is a lot to learn both academically and about life at college. My actual college degree relates very little to what I do now, but a degree is critical all the same. It lets people know that you can accomplish, that you can manage yourself to get work done (everybody knows the hardest part of college is restricting yourself from partying to hard). Besides the education, experience is required. Experience should be grabbed at every chance you get. Internships are great. Volunteering is great. Don’t work in a job that is unrelated to what you want to do unless you have to. Realize that you will have to work your way up, and even if McDonalds pays better than many starting conservation jobs (which is does) you have to take that hit early on and make sure you are working in the field that you want to work in. Even if it is vaguely related that’s okay. Take the forest conservation job even if you wanted the marine conservation one. But the more and the more diverse experience you have is excellent to have on a resume.

Rewards of Work:

I get to fulfill my lifelong goal of protecting Hawaii. I meet many wonderful people, many more wonderful people than in a lot of professions. I work with children quite often, which (as long as it’s not too often) is an amazingly energizing activity. I get to make my own schedule for the most part, so can leave to surf or run errands whenever I need to. And, best of all, the ladies love that I do what I do.

Relevant Work Experience:

  • Yale Universtiy - Student Employment; Science Tutor, Lifeguard, IT
  • Maui Ocean Center – Internship; Coral Reef Restoration
  • Alu Like – Project Coordinator; Marine Observer Training Program
  • Hike Maui – Island Naturalist
  • PACRC – Administration; UH-HIP Program
  • RCUH – Project Coordinator; Umikoa Ranch Plant Restoration Project
  • College Connections - College Counselor
  • Bishop Museum – Educator; Amy Greenwell Garden

Typical Day:

One thing I really enjoy about my job is that there really isn’t a typical day, and there is a wide range of activities that I engage in. There is also the freedom to create my own programs and activities as I wish, so long as I can fund them. If I averaged out a couple of weeks into an eight hour day it might break down something like this:

  • 2 hours of administration work - This includes creating and scheduling programs, grant applications, and (blah) evaluations and reports.
  • 2 hours of educational work - This includes working with preschoolers, professional botanists, and everything in between and is cultural and/
  • or environmental based.
  • 1 hour of garden work – Transplanting, weeding, building, planting and whatnot, which is certainly not required of me, but I enjoy it.
  • 1 hour of research – I try not to get too far away from research and to continually keep learning.
  • 1 hour of field work – Seed and plant collection, archeological investigations, mitigation surveys, etc.
  • 1/2 hour of vision – Time I take often to look at the bigger picture, to think about the direction that programs are headed, and how things can
  • fit together. I try to make sure I don’t get so caught up in the daily things that I forget to see the larger goals and how I fit into that.
  • 1/2 hour of unplanned time – There is always something that you don’t think of…make sure you plan for the unpredictable! Lots of people over-schedule in these fast paced days, which leads to mistakes, late arrivals, and other annoying attributes.

Words of Wisdom :

You wish you knew...:

That it doesn’t all come as easy as you want it to! Everything takes time, and lots of efforts. Especially when you start instigating your own projects there are a million roadblocks that you might not have known existed.

Final Comments / Advice:

Environmental management is really people management. To really solve environmental problems you have to influence the way people behave, or their culture. In this respect I think Hawaii has the advantage of having the legacy of a culture that was very respectful to nature. Embrace and try to understand the culture of modern environmentalism, and find ways to spread that culture. I know it feels good to go out and plant a tree, but the real goal is to get everybody to do the same.