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Special to The 'Ohana

December 05, 2023
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Natalie Ann Ovena, Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science

Natalie Ann Ovena, Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science.

Natalie Ann Ovena grew up in Beaverton, Oregon. She has roots in Hawaiʻi, with her family immigrating to the Hawaiian Islands from the Philippines. She discovered her connection to nature by hiking and learning to identify plants with her mom, and from a young age, Ovena knew she wanted to study the environment and learn how to protect it. She chose HPU to study the diversity of ecosystems in Hawaiʻi. 
Working with the Blue Planet Foundation as their Policy Fellow, Ovena researched renewable energy, energy efficiency, and energy equity policies. Through community engagement, she helped build connections throughout Hawaiʻi, supporting Blue Planet’s policy priorities. Embracing the opportunity to gain hands-on research experience, Ovena conducted research with HPU professor Dr. Carmella Vizza and partnered with the North Shore Community Land Trust to create a baseline profile of water quality parameters for Kalou fishpond and wetland taro patch to help inform restoration efforts. 

Upon graduation, Ovena will continue research with Dr. Vizza through a two-year Hawaiʻi Sea Grant, beginning a new project documenting the fish species diversity and abundance to provide a baseline profile of the fish and help the North Shore Community Trust move forward with restoring Kalou as a traditional Hawaiian fishpond. Her longer-term career plan is to attend law school, studying environmental law and continuing to create change and help build a sustainable and equitable society.

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