Conservation Leaders

DOFAW recognizes the immense role that our kupuna have played in forwarding conservation in Hawai’i.  Conservation is a complex venture which requires the cooperation of diverse communities, government agencies, non-profit organizations, private businesses, passionate citizens, and academics. As a result, conservation leaders come from a wide range of backgrounds. 

In an effort to acknowledge the work of these heroes, the Hawai’i Conservation Alliance will soon publish a page detailing the accomplishments of all of its previous awardees. The Hawai’i Conservation Alliance (HCA) represents a collaboration of conservation leaders who live and work in Hawai’i.  They collectively work to support conservation in Hawai’i and safeguard its biodiversity, ocean, land, and streams.

The HCA is also responsible for  hosting the annual Hawaii Conservation Conference conference-default-image-2(HCC).  The conference is a chance for scientists, policymakers, conservation practitioners, educators, students and community members from Hawaiʻi and the Pacific to converge and discuss conservation. During the conference, the HCA distributes four awards for conservation excellence: Distinguished Service, Conservation Innovation, Outstanding Leadership, and a Legacy Award. To see a list of all previous awardees, click here. In the meantime, we will periodically feature conservation leaders below.




HCA Awardee Spotlight

 Outstanding Leadership Award

Marjorie Ziegler (1956-2018)

Executive Director, Conservation Council for Hawai’i


Alan C. Ziegler’s legacy includes newly discovered native bird species, connected histories, an award-winning book on Hawai’i’s natural history and, most treasured of all, his daughter Marjorie Ziegler. At birth she inherited the passion and ‘ike (knowledge) of her father; as a result, Ms. Ziegler was a force that effected positive change for the betterment of Hawai’i’s people, plants, animals, and environment. Since her small kid days growing up in Kane‘ohe, Marjorie enlivened her passion and ‘ike through advocacy, collaboration, humble servant leadership, and dedication to protect and enhance the ecosystems of ka pae ‘āina o Hawai’i.


In her fourteen years as a resource analyst with Earthjustice’s Mid-Pacific office, the assiduous Ms. Ziegler engaged the community as a passionate advocate for Hawai’i nei and its bio-cultural resources. She was instrumental in building strong community-based coalitions to support legal campaigns seeking to protect Hawai’i’s environment. Recognizing the power of the media, Ms. Ziegler also co-founded Hawai’i’s leading environmental news resource, Environment Hawai’i.

As Executive Director of Conservation Council for Hawai’i since 2003, Ms. Ziegler recognized the vital role of youth in addressing environmental problems, developing the Poster Partner program to bring environmental issues to students by providing annual educational wildlife posters that adorn classrooms of every school throughout the state. Through CCH, she launched numerous campaigns seeking to protect native species, including keeping pressure on the state to fence critical habitat on Mauna Kea for the palila, a highly-endangered native honeycreeper that is threatened by ungulates; preventing development at the site of the ‘Ewa sinkholes on O’ahu, where unique and extinct Hawaiian bird species were discovered and their fossils remain; pushing for responsible game management that concurrently allows for hunting while also protecting the native habitats game animals have historically destroyed; and the Manu Kai campaign, raising awareness about the plight of Hawaiian seabirds which are threatened by introduced predators, the longline swordfish industry, and the loss of nesting habitat due to sea-level rise. 

Recognizing the importance of mobilizing the community effectively to lobby the legislature to achieve environmental goals, Ms. Ziegler also spearheaded and continued to dynamically lead the Environmental Legislative Network, bringing together individuals and environmental organizations as a united front each legislative session. Ms. Ziegler also recognized the role of public volunteerism in government initiatives to increase Hawai’i’s land conservation capacity as the chair of the City and County of Honolulu’s Clean Water and Natural Lands Commission. As a lifelong steward of our state’s lands, she also served on DLNR’s Legacy Land Conservation Commission from 2015-2017, and the 2019 State Legislature noted that Marjorie’s work “had an unparalleled impact on Hawai’i’s conservation landscape.” Seen here.

Through her tireless dedication, hard work, and aloha, Ms. Ziegler had an enduring ability to give a voice to Hawai’i’s plants, animals, land, and sea, to make environmental issues relevant, and to embolden human beings to mālama individual species, entire ecosystems, and ka pae ‘āina o Hawai’i.

-This account is adapted from the 2011 HCA award nomination for Marjorie, as originally written by Marigold Zoll.