Environmental Advisory Council

Act 152, 07/02/21 establishes the Environmental Advisory Council. The Council serves as a liaison between the Director and the public on matters concerning ecology and environmental quality. The Council monitors the progress of state, county, and federal agencies in achieving the State’s environmental goals and policies and publishes its findings in its annual reports. The Council also conducts forums for various outreach activities. Any questions for the Council can be submitted online.


The Environmental Advisory Council meets according to Hawaii Administrative Rules 11-201 Environmental Advisory Council Rules of Practice and Procedure. Council meetings fall on the first Tuesday of every month and are open to the public. Agendas (including those for the Rules, Exemption, Information/Outreach, Legislative, and Annual Report Committees) are posted here approximately one week prior to the meeting to conform with sunshine requirements. Submissions for the Council’s consideration on an agenda item should be submitted before the day of the meeting so that Council members may have an opportunity to review them.

Meeting minutes, monthly recordings of the Council and Committee meetings are archived.


The 15 Council members are appointed by the Governor, with the advice and consent of the Senate, to assure a broad and balanced representation of educational, business, and environmentally pertinent disciplines and professions.

To apply to be on the Council, submit an online application under Department of Business, Economic Development, & Tourism - Environmental Advisory Council.

Puananionaona "Onaona" Thoene
Term expires 6/30/2024; Holdover until 11/4/2024
Puananionaona P. Thoene was born on Oʻahu and raised in Hilo. She is a graduate of the Kamehameha Schools, Kapālama Campus. Onaona received her J.D., magna cum laude, from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, William S. Richardson School of Law with certificates in environmental law and native Hawaiian law, and a B.B.A., cum laude, from the University of San Diego. Onaona is a partner at Carlsmith Ball LLP in the Honolulu office. Her practice focuses on real property, environmental, business and corporate law, land use, and administrative law. She is also a member of the Oʻahu Island Advisory Council for the Hawaiian Islands Land Trust.
Mary Begier
Term expires 6/30/2024; Holdover until 11/4/2024
Mary Begier is principal broker and owner of Mary Begier Realty, with offices both on O‘ahu and Hawai‘i Island. She is a past president of both the Hawai‘i Island Realtors (HIR) and Honolulu Board of Realtors and has 36 years of experience selling real estate across the Hawaiian Islands. She represented HIR on the Big Island Business Council, where she served as president from 2002-2003. She is also a past president of the Rotary Club of Hilo Bay for 2008-09 and the Hawai‘i Island Chamber of Commerce 2009-2010. Begier served in the United States Navy, going to schools in Florida and California before being assigned to Honolulu. She served 8 years on The Hawaii State Foundation on Culture and the Arts including one year as chair and has represented Hawai‘i Island Chamber of Commerce on the Big Island Housing Foundation board. Begier prides herself in building coalitions between other business and community organizations to strengthen the ability to accomplish smart goals in the community. This brought about recognition from DLNR/HISC as Community Hero for work performed eradicating invasive weeds on Mauna Kea.
Stephanie Dunbar-Co

Term expires 6/30/2024; Holdover until 11/4/2024
Steph Dunbar-Co works for The Nature Conservancy, Molokaʻi Program. As the East Slope Project Manager, Steph oversees activities in southeastern (Manaʻe) Molokaʻi where she lives, was raised, and is a fifth generation landowner. Steph received MS and PhD degrees in Botany from the University of Hawaiʻi, focusing on the evolution, ecology, and conservation of the native Hawaiian flora. Her education and background have aligned to focus her efforts on the conservation of native ecosystems, long-term fresh water supply, and sustainable agriculture. She lives with her husband and two young children on her family’s ranch in Kainalu, Molokaʻi.
Dawn Hegger-Nordblom
Term expires 6/30/2023; Currently holdover
Dawn Hegger-Nordblom received her Master of Urban and Regional Planning degree with a focus in Community Planning from the University of Hawaii at Manoa, and a BA degrees in Psychology and Social Behavior and BA in Environmental Analysis and Design from the University of California, Irvine She worked for the Department of Land and Natural Resources, Office of Conservation and Coastal Lands as the Senior Planner and ran Contested Cases, Enforcement Cases, and processed Conservation District Use Application permits with accompanying Environmental Assessments and Environmental Impact Statements. She worked for the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation, the Hawaii Community Development Authority, and the Hawaii Army National Guard as the National Environmental Policy Act Coordinator. She served on the Office of Planning’s, Marine and Coastal Zone Advocacy Council, Ke Kahu O Na Kumu Wai, and was a member of the West Maui Community Plan Advisory Committee. She started Ke Kai Planning LLC in 2017. Clients include federal, state, and county agencies, private sector firms, and include non-profit or community organizations in need of pro-bono services. Dawn and her husband live on Maui’s west side with two teenagers attending Lahainaluna High School. Dawn notes Hawaii’s natural resources need to be protected and preserved and also be able to face the challenge of Sea Level Rise and Climate Change.
I. Robin Kaye

Term expires 6/30/2024
In 1974, Robin and his wife moved to Lānaʻi to document a threatened lifestyle as the island was facing a transition from a pineapple plantation economy to resort development. As a result of that effort, he published a photographic documentary called Lanai Folks. Shortly thereafter, Robin began a career in the arts and nonprofit sectors, working for the Hawaiʻi State Foundation on Culture and the Arts, the California Arts Council, the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, and the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust. In 1992, he and a partner launched the management consulting firm of Dewey & Kaye, Inc. (DKI), which worked with nonprofit organizations, foundations and government agencies. Robin's work with nonprofits involved board development, long range planning, and executive searches for foundation program staff and nonprofit executive directors. Robin was one of the original founders of the Lanai Limu Restoration Project, and currently serves as spokesperson for Friends of Lanaʻi. Robin recently co-created Lānaʻi Changes, a community development corporation dedicated to providing diversity in Lānaʻi’s economic future.
Theresita Kinnaman
Term expires 6/30/2024
Theresita's interest and service for the Council is due to her upbringing, during territorial and plantation days, when the environment and natural resources were fresh, plentiful, clean, and life was simple, fun, honest and about how we cared for the island's land, ocean, streams, natural resources and not deplete these life sustaining resources. Today, with development of once open lands and spaces, land-based activities are straining the environment and natural resources. Her involvement in community service has spanned 30 plus years advocating for community needs pertaining to environmental, archeology, and natural resources, among other concerns; all that our sense of place, and identity to hopefully recharge and preserve for future generations to a highly sustainable level.
Michele Lefebvre
Term expires 6/30/2026
Michele has a PhD in biology from the University of Utah and bachelor’s degree in biology from Boston University. She is an environmental scientist and project manager at Stantec Consulting Services Inc. Since 2005, Michele has been preparing environmental assessments and environmental impact statements for a variety of applicant and agency projects. Her experience includes complying with NEPA and HEPA statutes, rules, regulations, and applicable orders and decisions. She taught the Environmental Impact Assessment undergraduate course at UH-Hilo for two semesters. She and her husband are raising their 2 daughters in Hilo. Michele also enjoys playing tennis, swimming, and traveling.
Rachel Sprague
Term expires 6/30/2026
Dr. Rachel Sprague is the co-Director of Conservation for Pūlama Lānaʻi. The Pūlama Lānaʻi conservation program received the 2018 Business Leader Award from the Hawaiʻi’s Invasive Species Council for protecting seabirds and other native wildlife on Lānaʻi from invasive predators, and the company's biosecurity efforts to prevent new species introductions. Dr. Sprague received her B.A. from Bowdoin College in Maine, and her Ph.D. in wildlife biology from the University of Montana studying physiology and behavior of Laysan albatross (in Hawaiʻi). Through her 20+ years of conservation work with coastal and island wildlife, she has been particularly interested in scientific and public communication, stakeholder and community engagement, conflict transformation, and long-term partnership building, including co-authoring a book chapter on the role of language in framing and driving human conflict about wildlife. Rachel also enjoys volunteering with other conservation organizations: she is the Region 12 director (HI, NV, CA, and Guam) on the board of the National Wildlife Federation, past-president of Conservation Council for Hawaiʻi (the National Wildlife Federation’s state affiliate) and the Western Section of The Wildlife Society, and current chair of the Pacific Seabird Group.
Michael Tulang

Term expires 6/30/2024
Mike entered the federal service in 1967 with U.S. Department of Agriculture, National Resource Services, serving in a variety of responsibilities. He was a Watershed Planning Economist, District Conservationist, Resource Conservation, and Developer Coordinator for Maui County, Hawaiʻi County and the State of Hawaiʻi. He retired after 31 ½ years of federal service and accepted an executive position with the State Association of Conservation Districts for 7 years. He then went on to serve for 2 years as a councilman on the Hawaiʻi County Council, followed by 3 years of substitute teaching at his former elementary school. He has served his community as Director of the Boys and Girls Club and the Hawaiʻi Agricultural Cooperative, as a Board Member of HIWEDO, and as a Certified Trainer at Positive Coaching. His hobbies include fishing, hunting, cattle ranching, and singing.