Honoree 2014 – Talaya Rachels

Congrats to Talaya Rachels for being honored as an outstanding community volunteer!

Rachels_TalayaName:  Talaya Rachels

Nominating Organization:  Back to Natives     

Honoree Category:  Animals & Environment

Why Nominated:  Talaya Rachels joined the Back to Natives team as a horticultural intern in October 2013.  After graduating from the University of Hawai’i with her B.S. in Botany, Talaya had the opportunity to do some pretty crazy, exotic sounding things!  She researched the psyllid induced galls of the endemic O’hia trees. She collected seed for the Monarto Zoo in South Australia. She removed invasive mangroves with the Sierra Club on O’ahu. She surveyed Hawaiian Silversword populations at Haleakala Crater. In 2013 she received the Botanical Society of America’s young botanist award!  When she finally returned home she wanted to learn about the local plants that aren’t exotic, but are integral to the health of our local ecosystems.  She joined the Back to Natives team as a horticultural intern.

As an intern, she spends most of her time at the Back to Natives Nursery at Santiago Park, where she grows native plants for habitat restoration projects, and to raise funds for our education programs.  Back to Natives teaches classes about propagating and landscaping with natives, and we engage volunteers in hands-on environmental stewardship while increasing their environmental literacy.  “Being an intern with Back to Natives has been a rewarding experience,” said Talaya.  “I am proud to be a part of the growth of the BTN Nursery.”  Talaya Rachels received her B.S. in Botany at the University of Hawai’i at Manoa where she conducted research on the psyllid induced galls of the endemic O’hia trees and worked as a museum curatorial assistant at the Joseph F. Rock Herbarium mounting and cataloguing specimens.  She has worked collecting seeds for the Monarto Zoo seed bank in South Australia, removed invasive mangroves with the Sierra Club on O’ahu, and surveyed Hawaiian Silversword populations at Haleakala Crater. In 2013 she received the Botanical Society of America’s young botanist award.

Please write a note of congratulations below!

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