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The Waikōloa Dry Forest Initiative was formed in 2011 to protect, promote, and restore a native Hawaiian dry forest. After years of grassroots advocacy in the community and collaboration with the Waikōloa Village Outdoor Circle, the Waikōloa Dry Forest Preserve was established to protect many of the remaining native trees in the region. Since then, our community has come together to restore our forest, educate our keiki, and ensure a future for the lowland dry forest of Waikōloa.

Beverley Brand

President Emeritus

Founder and President from 2011-2019, Beverley has led the charge to bring the community together to protect and manage the unique environment of Waikōloa. in 2015 Bev was awarded the Nāhelehele Distinguished Conservation Award for her work establishing WDFI and its programs. While serving on the board, Bev also opened the Dusty Donkey Emporium to benefit WDFI and now manages the shop with her fellow volunteers.

W. Stewart Lawrence

Vice President

Dr. Lawrence is a physician and has been practicing in our community for many years. He is a founding member and long-time advocate for the conservation of the forest and is particularly passionate about educating our local youth.

Josh McCullough


Josh is the founder of PhytoPhoto, a stock photo collection comprising two decades of environmental images, plant portraits and horticultural photos. Originally from Kohala, he believes that healthy communities need healthy environments and advocates for the unique legacy of native Hawaiian ecosystems.

Dan Berman


Dan is committed to sharing and protecting the beauty and culture of Hawaii. The idea of bringing people together to work towards a common goal, in combination with community and collaboration is close to his heart.

Judy Hancock


In 1991 Judy and her husband Will were the first landowners in the state of Hawaii to participate in the Federal Forest Stewardship Program. The Kalopi Forest Stewardship project has planted over 3,000 native trees on the Kohala Mountain. Judy has a keen interest in native forest restoration and education. She is able to extend her love of our environment by being part of the WDFI.

Dr. Jonathan Price


Professor of Geography at UH Hilo, Dr. Price’s research is focused on using GIS to identify biodiversity hotspots for native bird and plant species, search for rare species, and locate appropriate areas for the restoration of threatened and endangered species.

Jen Lawson

Executive Director

As the first employee of WDFI, Jen has been central to WDFI’s vision and development. Her passion is connecting people to nature through the exploration and discovery of plants. She is interested in facilitating synergy among community, conservation agencies, and businesses and forging creative paths toward sustainability, and the conservation of biodiversity and biocultural resources.

Rob Yagi

Preserve Manager

Rob is a hard-working and dedicated conservationist responsible for many of our successes in forest restoration. He tirelessly protects the preserve through his weed management and wildfire mitigation efforts and brings new areas to life each year through native planting. Rob’s energy and expertise have advanced our forest programs tremendously.

Jackie Milligan

Education Coordinator

Jackie joined WDFI in 2018 and has taken our Future Foresters program to an exciting and effective new level. She is a talented educator and has a strong desire to promote Hawaiian culture and native species mauka and makai. It is her passion to teach the next generation of environmental stewards in our Future Foresters afterschool program and she is a beloved and inspiring kumu in the forest.

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