Who we are.

The Friends of Amy B. H. Greenwell Ethnobotanical Garden is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization with the mission of protecting and invigorating the Amy B. H. Greenwell Ethnobotanical Garden created for the purposes of:
  • Raising funds to help support the purposes and goals of the Garden
  • Working with government officials, NGOʻs and other interested parties to ensure and enhance the Garden's future
  • Fostering public understanding, enjoyment, and conservation of the natural and cultural resources of the Amy B. H. Greenwell Ethnobotanical Garden and our community forest
  • Providing volunteers for important Garden projects


Our Officers are


President:                       Maile Melrose
Vice-President:             Shirley A. P. (Cho) Kauhaihao
Vice-President:             Noa Kekuewa Lincoln

Secretary:                       Marie Morin
Treasurer:                       Pat Todd

On Our Board of Directors are

Greg Garriss                               M.E. “Meg” Greenwell

Tommy Hickox                         Ashley Kaiao Obrey

A. Rose Schilt                            Nathan Smith

Jim Todd                                    Kealoha Manakū

Bernice Akamine                     Alan Rolph

Board of Directors, Biographical Statements


President -  Maile Melrose


As Amy Greenwell’s cousin and loyal Kona resident, Maile feels an obligation to help this Garden survive. She is a recognized historian, researcher, author, speaker and noted living- history storyteller, with a background in Anthropology and Hawaiian Studies. For many years, she has written for local papers such as the Waimea Gazette and KHS. Associated with Kona Historical Society for over 20 years, Maile is interested in all aspects of Kona’s rich history, and recipient of the Hawai‘i Loa Chapter of the DAR 2016 Historic Preservation Medal. She emphasizes that no place on the island does a better job of illustrating the important relationships that Hawai‘i’s people developed with their plants than this outdoor classroom and cultural treasure house. "It deserves to be saved, protected and preserved for the future."

Vice President -  Shirley A. P. (Cho) Kauhaihao


Shirley has volunteered at the Amy B. H. Greenwell Ethnobotanical Garden for 15 years. She was the lead organizer for the cleanup of coral graffiti along Queen Ka’ahumanu Highway – this cleanup was completed in approximately three years of Sundays. She is a Master Weaver, member, and past president of Ka Ulu Lauhala ‘o Kona, the annual weaving conference, and has participated in events in Hawai‘i and Washington, D.C. She is also a chef of Hawaiian cuisine, assisting top chefs in our state. Shirley’s family ties and commitment to the Garden go back decades.

Vice President -  Noa Kekuewa Lincoln


Noa is a Native Hawaiian born in Kealakekua. He is the former Ethnobotanical Educator of the Amy B.H. Greenwell Ethnobotanical Garden. He has worked extensively in plant conservation, ecosystem management, and indigenous food issues in Hawai‘i and around the Pacific Rim, as well as Brazil and the American Southwest. Much of his current research examines the traditional Hawaiian rain-fed agricultural systems, and how traditional agricultural practices affect nutrient cycling and productivity. He is the lead scientist for several Hawaiian agricultural sites, such as Ulu Mau Puanui and Māla Kalu‘ulu. He has a BS from Yale University in Environmental Engineering, and a PhD from Stanford University in Interdisciplinary Resource Management. He is currently Assistant Professor of Indigenous Crops and Cropping Systems with the University of Hawai‘i. He has done extensive work on indigenous Hawaiian sugarcane varieties, many of which are at the Garden, and his book is being published by the University of Hawai‘i Press.

Secretary -  Marie Morin


As a conservation biologist, Marie has a Ph.D. from the University of Hawai’i, and has worked with native and endangered species throughout her career with various agencies and educational institutions. Since 1980 she has resided and worked on O‘ahu, Oregon, Kaua‘i, and Hawai‘i Island. Marie’s support of the Garden stems from her long-time interests in Hawaiian culture, the perpetuation of endemic plants and animals, and sustainability through locally-sourced food and energy. One of her favorite quotes: “Grow where you are planted.”

Treasurer - Pat Todd


As a new resident of the Big Island and a long-time volunteer, she feels the responsibility to be a good steward of the land and place where she is honored to live. Working for the benefit of Amy B.H. Greenwell Ethnobotanical Garden and its future is a passion. A love of living museums was instilled through volunteering for many years at the Denver Botanic Gardens. Pat has lived all over the world, and was first introduced to the Hawaiian Islands as a child when she was living in Saipan and Kwajalein. She is grateful to now be living in “paradise.” She previously worked in corporate America in human resources. Pat is a graduate of Indiana University.


Greg Garriss


Being involved with the Amy B.H. Greenwell Ethnobotanical Garden for the past 12 years, Greg is a strong advocate for the preservation and propagation of our native plants and in providing educational services, including activities regarding their uses and cultural aspects. He previously served for 8 years on the board of directors for the Kona Outdoor Circle Foundation and was active in the Hawai‘i travel and tourism industry for 10 years as co-owner of the Aloha Guesthouse in Honaunau. He currently operates a macadamia nut farm and nursery in Keauhou and is involved in developing hydroponic and aquaponic food production systems.

M. E. "Meg" Greenwell


Meg is a niece of Amy B. H. Greenwell and remembers visiting her at her residence and garden property. She is President of the family corporation, Kealakekua Ranch, Ltd., of which Amy was a Director and Treasurer for many years before her death. Kealakekua Ranch/ChoiceMart received the competitive 2016 Statewide Family-owned Business of the Year Award through the Small Business Administration. Through her personal enthusiasm and recognized leadership, Meg carries forward a generations-long concern for serving Kona through family business, promoting local jobs and local foods, and also advancing charitable interests and community events. Kealakekua Ranch, Ltd. donated the land on which the Visitor Center is located and is very interested in the Garden and committed to seeing it service the community again.

Tommy Hickox


Tommy is retired. He is a woodworker, and a long-time supporter of the Amy B.H. Greenwell Ethnobotanical Garden.

Ashley Kaiao Obrey


Ashley was raised in Hōlualoa, Kona, where she can trace her ‘ohana back generations.  A graduate of KS, Pepperdine University, and the William S. Richardson School of Law, Ashley currently works as an asset manager for Kamehameha Schools’ expansive South Kona agricultural and conservation lands.  Previously, she served as a staff attorney at the Native Hawaiian Legal Corporation in Honolulu, where she represented clients on issues dealing with land, water, and natural and cultural resources, and as a law clerk to Chief Justice Moon at the Hawai`i Supreme Court.  Ashley is a mom to a four-year-old who attends preschool at Pūnana Leo O Kona and an ‘ōlapa of Hālau Kaʻeaikahelelani in Keauhou.  She loves spending time on the ‘āina and at the kai, learning new things (especially nā mea Hawaiʻi), working out, ‘ōlelo Hawaiʻi, and, most recently, growing Native Hawaiian plants at home.  Ashley is excited to see the renewed impact that the Garden will have on our community, our keiki, as well as the preservation and perpetuation of traditional Hawaiian knowledge. 


A. Rose Schilt


As a community advocate, with Master’s degrees in anthropology/archaeology and public health, Rose has worked in Hawai‘i, Fiji, the Marshall Islands, and the US Midwest. She brings 12 years of experience as a nonprofit executive director and Weinberg Fellow, focusing on public health advocacy and policy for youth and families. She directed archaeological projects throughout the islands and believes in the relevance of the past to the present. Rose served as the second director of the Garden in the 1980’s, helping to develop it for opening to the public, and is now committed to ensuring that it serves as a cultural and educational center for a sustainable future.

Nathan Smith


Now a resident of Kealakekua, Nathan believes that “The Amy B.H. Greenwell Ethnobotanical Garden is a unique and irreplaceable gift — from Amy, from many years of stewardship by the Bishop Museum, and from years of care by Garden Staff and Volunteers. The time has come for our community and island to preserve this gift and bring it to its full potential." He has been a commercial real estate and energy attorney in Portland Maine for 35 years. As an attorney he has received many peer recognitions including being listed in Best Lawyers in America for the past 15 years. Nathan has worked on numerous land conservation transactions and was the first person in Maine to receive the National Park Service’s ‘Conservation Hero’ Award in 1993. He has been a community leader for decades, which has included holding leadership positions in a broad spectrum of community organizations as well as serving on the Portland City Council for two terms and as Portland’s Mayor in 2003-4.

Jim Todd


In the past few years, Jim realized a dream of living in Hawai‘i by buying land in Captain Cook, building a beautiful house and taking on the prolific weeds of the Todds’ six-acre property, Blue Horizon Farm. However, his association with the Amy B.H. Greenwell Ethnobotanical Garden preceded all of that when he was introduced to the Garden by long-time Big Islanders who instilled him the importance of the Garden to Hawaiian cultural heritage as well as a commitment to the preservation of an invaluable natural resource. Jim spent many years volunteering at the Denver Botanic Gardens and was recognized for his horticultural contributions. In a prior life, he worked in business development in corporate America. Jim is a graduate of the College of William and Mary. He is energized to help the Amy B.H. Greenwell Ethnobotanical Garden determine its future.

R. Kealohapau‘ole Manakū (Roz, Kealoha)


Roz moved to Hawai‘i Island 14 years ago, and is home. On O‘ahu she was a partner in Na Mea Hawai‘i/Native Books and volunteered by reading to residents of Lunalilo Home; on Hawai‘i Island she worked with an organization to prevent abuse to children. She now enjoys photographing plants and the ‘āina and volunteers at the Garden -- she has been doing this prior to the closure of the Garden up to the present.

Bernice Akamine


First, serving two summer internships at Amy B. H. Ethnobotanical Garden through Central Washington University's Resource Management Graduate Program, then as the Ethnobotanical Educator and currently as a Garden Volunteer; Bernice has been connected with the Garden for 14 years. She is an internationally recognized artist and has served on the Board of Directors of Hawai’i Craftsmen, the largest arts organization in Hawai’i. She is a Hawaiian cultural practitioner making and using kapa and natural dyes in her traditional and contemporary artwork and is currently researching kapa tools and their associated designs.

Alan Rolph


Alan is ecstatic about his return to the Big Island. He was born in Honolulu, moved to New Zealand and returned to the Big Island to attend High School at Hawaii Preparatory Academy. He graduated from Denison University and the University of Cincinnati with a Masters degree in Geology. His career with Shell Oil took him worldwide in search of energy resources. He is now retired and enjoying woodworking and making improvements to a 5-acre property and home in Captain Cook.

He has always had great love for nature and history. He is a descendent of then Cooke family who arrived with the 8th company of missionaries to Hawaii in 1837. The Amy Greenwell Garden holds a very special place in his heart as his mother, Dorothea Rolph, worked with the garden in its early years helping to propagate and grow native Hawaiian plants. He is looking forward to continuing this work of maintaining and preserving this region’s native plants and their cultural history entwined with the people of the Big Island.


Friends Bylaws
This is how the friends are organized.
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