More MVPs: A Sustainable Hawai`i dream team

Posted on Aug 29, 2017 in Capitol Connection, Featured

DLNR director Suzanne Case congratulates her team, including Leah Laramee (third from right).

Local girl Leah Laramee said her career goal used to be to work in global conservation for the United Nations. But when she came home from college, she recalls, “I saw there was valuable work to be done right here in Hawai‘i.”

She was a key member of the Department of Land and Natural Resources’ “Outstanding Team of the Year,” nominated for their coordination of last year’s landmark IUCN World Conservation Congress in Hawai‘i. The event brought global and local environmental groups together for a record-breaking series of events that drew 10,000 participants from 192 countries. Also, through careful budget oversight, DLNR reported nearly $3 million was saved from funds appropriated and returned to the state’s general fund.

For Laramee, 34, the best part was seeing thousands of students and local residents flocking to the Hawai‘i Convention Center for the exhibits, forums and activities. “At DLNR, I work every day with people who love what they do and are so passionate about their jobs,” said Laramee. “We’re grateful to the governor and the state Legislature for their support of our efforts.”

Laramee, who is also the 2017 Alumnus of the Year from Kupu, a leading youth conservation organization, said DLNR is moving forward on the governor’s Sustainable Hawai‘i initiative, to protect the islands from invasive species and the threats of climate change. “We in Hawai‘i should be proud that we’re among the leaders on these environmental issues,” she said.

Read more in our September issue