FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Olena Alec, 808-463-2818 or Olena.email@example.com
HALEAKALĀ CONSERVANCY BRINGS ON FIRST EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
Olena Alec takes the helm of the nascent philanthropic non-profit.
Maui | April 8, 2021.
The Board of Directors of Haleakalā Conservancy announced the hiring of
Olena (Horcajo) Alec as its first Executive Director. Haleakalā Conservancy is devoted to raising
funds to support critical projects of conservation, preservation, and education within Haleakalā
Created in 2019, Haleakalā Conservancy has been run by a committed board of directors, all
with a deep passion for Haleakalā and desire to support the Park above and beyond what their
annual budget can sustain. The board, consisting of J Scott Meidell (President), Jac Kean (Vice
President), Dale Bonar (Treasurer), Colleen Medeiros (Secretary), Donna Howard, Erik
McClellan, Wendy Rice Peterson, and Jamie Woodburn, have created this organization to be the
philanthropic partner to the Park, inspiring present and future generations to support projects and
programs that preserve Haleakalā National Park.
Haleakalā National Park spans over 33,000 acres and is home to more endangered species than
any other national park in the United States as well as preserving critical culturally significant
resources. Like many other National Parks, not all the staff’s desired projects can come to
fruition, and that is where Haleakalā Conservancy intends to fill the gaps, supporting park directed projects in the three pillar areas of conservation, preservation, and education.
Superintendent of Haleakalā National Park, Natalie Gates, shares “I am so thankful that such a
committed group of members of the Maui community has volunteered to take on the role of
raising additional funds for Haleakalā National Park. Park staff work tirelessly to maintain and
steward the Park, and there are always opportunities for further research, education, and
conservation of this spectacular place.”
While 2020 demanded a slower approach to building out this philanthropic non-profit, early
2021 was the ideal time to begin to ramp up efforts, starting with hiring an Executive Director.
Olena joins the organization with a background in environmental education and outreach, having
recently left a climate advocacy organization in DC to return to Maui, where she is born and
raised. “Haleakalā National Park has been a source of endless memories from my childhood,
whether hiking through the crater with my family or camping out in Kīpahulu, the Park has
served as an integral part of my formative years, catalyzing my desire to protect and preserve our
natural world. It is my honor to have the opportunity to give back, quite literally, to the Park.”
“Olena Alec comes to us with prodigious experience with a nationally recognized environmental
non-profit organization and the passion of a born-and-raised child of Maui that has come home
to take care of the mountain that nurtured her” says J Scott Meidell, the Conservancy’s President
of the Board. Olena’s hiring comes as the Conservancy implements a plan of strategic growth in
development and outreach, with a list of exciting priority projects they hope to fund this year to
begin their direct support of the Park. Olena shares “as Executive Director, I am looking forward
to leading Haleakalā Conservancy’s philanthropic efforts to provide funding for projects of
critical importance to Haleakalā National Park, from supporting internships for local youth to
protecting our endemic bird population. I am excited to advance the mission of the Conservancy,
making a positive difference for the Park and the greater community here on Maui.”
Olena comes to the Conservancy most recently from The Climate Reality Project, where she
served as the director of engagement, overseeing the support and strategy of tens of thousands of
global climate activists for seven years. She is a proud RPCV, having served in the Peace Corps
in Nicaragua. She holds a Bachelor of Environmental Studies from USC and an MPA in
Environmental Science and Policy from Columbia University.
Haleakalā Conservancy is a 501c3 nonprofit organization dedicated to providing funding for
vital projects and programs that preserve and protect Haleakalā National Park. You can learn
more by visiting haleakalaconservancy.org.