The White House is honoring Hawaii native and Maui College student Jon Brito, 24, as one of two national conservation role models, according to a press release from the Corps Network. The network connects conservation corps across the country.
Brito, who served as an AmeriCorps member with the Hawaii Youth Conservation Corps, or Kupu, is being honored as one of the country’s “next generation of conservation leaders.”
The college student has already dedicated his life to conserving Hawaii and encouraging environmental stewardship among young adults, according to the press release. Brito, who hails from Kualapuu, Molokai, has constructed trails, eradicated invasive species and restored ancient fishponds. He led hikes for fellow young environmentalists while teaching them outdoor skills in his role as a conservation “crewleader” for the Corps Network.
“Jon is passionate about protecting the land and water that have been important to Hawaiian culture for many generations,” the press release says.
Brito is studying engineering technology at Maui College, a University of Hawaii campus. He’s also interning with Kupu’s vocational training program. Ultimately, he hopes to help Hawaii reach energy independence.
The other conservation role model is Anthony “Chako” Ciocco, a member of the Mvskoke tribe who leads ecological restoration projects within the Navajo Nation.
Photo: Jon Brito. (Courtesy of the Corps Network.)
— Alia Wong