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 realize the purchase of the garden and the long-term maintenance of the Gardenʻs mission
  • Fostering public understanding, enjoyment, and conservation of the natural and cultural resources of the Amy B. H. Greenwell Ethnobotanical Garden and its surrounding ahupua'a
  • Providing volunteer assistance on 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:                       R. (Roz, Kealoha) Kealohapau'ole Manakū

On Our Board of Directors are

Janet Britt                                  Craig Elevitch

Greg Garriss                               M.E. “Meg” Greenwell

Tommy Hickox                         Jesse Kekoa Kahoonei

A. Rose Schilt                            Nathan Smith

Jim Todd                                     Pat Todd

Board of Directors, Biographical Statements


President -  Maile Melrose (2nd of 3 year term)


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 (2nd of 3 year term)


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 (2nd of 3 year term)


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 (2nd of 3 year term)


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 -  R. Kealohapau‘ole Manakū (Roz, Kealoha) (2nd of 3 year term)


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.


Janet Britt (1 year term)


Having visited each of the islands over several years with her husband, Janet and Tim Britt moved to Hawai‘i Island on September 11th, 2011. Having lived in Wyoming for most of their lives, both of them fell in love with the people, the culture, the ocean, the scenic wonders and the island life that Hawai‘i offers. Prior to moving to Hawai‘i, Janet worked for 20 years as Coordinator of Conservation for The Nature Conservancy of Wyoming. She graduated from the University of Wyoming with a B.S. degree in 1972 and worked for the US Fish and Wildlife Service in Maryland in the Raptor Biology section, developing a lifelong love of birds and eventually getting a wildlife rehabilitation permit where she took care of injured and young birds, rabbits, fox, etc. for 25 years. She and her husband also had an auction company and both hold single engine pilot’s licenses. Upon arriving in Kona, she worked for the Hawaiian Islands Land Trust as Hawai‘i Island Director and Acquisitions Specialist until this past July. Janet emphasizes “Conservation is my passion and I love the Amy B. H. Greenwell Ethnobotanical Gardens, having visited it frequently before the closing. I wrote the Public Access Open Space and Natural Resource (PONC) grant application for Hawai‘i County Funding, which listed the Garden as Priority Number One for County funds. I am hoping to write additional grants and work on the business plan, so that the Garden can once again become the world-renowned garden we all know it can be.”

Craig Elevitch (2nd of 2 year term)


Craig is grateful that the Amy B.H. Greenwell Ethnobotanical Garden has been a community home for him and many of his friends and neighbors for over 25 years. The Garden’s deep connection to traditional roots in native and culturally significant plants inspired him to embark on a career in agroforestry research and education in 1990. He reports that most people he has spoken with recognize the Garden as a place to profoundly reconnect with the natural world and to our own community. He believes that this opportunity to experience connection within a community space and Hawaiian cultural context is unique, as evidenced by the high level of community engagement through the years. The annual Grow Hawaiian festival as well as other annual events such as the Thanksgiving imu demonstrate the deep commitment of many volunteers to a living garden that any anyone and everyone can experience in an authentic way without commercial overtones. Craig emphasizes “Many thanks to the hundreds of people who have humbly and generously participated in garden activities small and large. It is my sincerest wish that the Garden will continue as a place where we all can experience a deep connection to the natural world and community.”

Greg Garriss (1st of 3 year term)


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.

Meg Greenwell (2nd of 2 year term)


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 (1st of 3 year term)


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

Jesse Kekoa Kahoonei (1st of 3 year term)


Jesse Kekoa Kahoonei, a husband and father of two, is a descendant of the chiefs, priests, and commoners of the areas of Kealakekua, Hōnaunau as well as throughout North and South Kona. He is a practitioner of weaving and carving and finds most joy in traditional agriculture. Jesse graduated from the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa in 2014 with a Bachelors in Hawaiian Studies with a focus in Mālama ‘Āina. His experience working with traditional agricultural crops, as well as familiarizing himself with other native species while working at Mānoa, is what led him to a position at Amy Greenwell’s Ethnobotanical Garden in mid 2015, until its closing in January, 2016. He now works as a Hawaiian language pre-school teacher at Pūnana Leo, as well as a caretaker to one of the only other traditional Kona field systems in tact inland of Kahalu‘u. He understands the importance of not only preserving the traditional knowledge of his kūpuna, but continuing in its growth and perpetuation into the future.

Rose Schilt (2nd of 2 year term)


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 (2nd of 3 year term)


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 (1st of 3 year term)


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.

Pat Todd (1st of 3 year term)


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.


Friends Bylaws
This is how the friends are organized.
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