Our Islands, Our Future
A Time To Heal

A Time To Heal

During a Day of Healing Workshop in Upcountry Maui, sponsored by The Rotary Club of Maui, Dr. Bridget Bongaard set out to help those who are experiencing grief and PTSD because of the Maui wildfires, or any kind of trauma. Bongaard, a board-certified internal medicine physician, as well as a hospice-certified medical director, has used her knowledge to set up numerous integrative medicine programs and retreats over the years. In addition, with the Pacific Cancer Foundation, Bongaard co-founded the first annual Maui Cancer Wellness retreat. 

“The goal of trauma healing is to give participants a feeling that they have control over their lives again,” Bongaard explained. “My approach to wellness is a three-dimensional process: physical, emotional and spiritual. We work step-by-step to achieve the different stages of understanding how our brains and bodies work when life’s events happen. Then, we discuss the emotional impact that we carry with the memory, and how to move beyond this and fill the gaps in our lives.”

Using Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, Bongaard led the group to fully understand what their loss meant to them individually and how to move beyond it. A session on resilience despite all odds, taught the group how to create peace and purpose in an uncertain world and how to find new solutions for problems. To help overcome grief and trauma, Dr. Bongaard also discussed the five stages of the Kubler-Ross Grief Cycle.

Bongaard added, “While learning through these different modalities, participants also had the opportunity to take time for themselves, interact with others, tell their stories, and enjoy nutritious food. Plus, it’s wonderful to make new friends and build community.”

Many people affected by wildfires or other traumatic events need time and space away from their normal duties and routines to be able to focus on themselves and gain insight. Workshop participant Katy Shroder, a clinical psychologist from Lahaina, who lost her home, possessions, and place of worship, shared, “Since the fires I have been helping others with their trauma and healing. This workshop was the first occasion I took time to heal myself. I truly appreciate the opportunity.”

Everyone has experienced pain or loss in his or her life at some time. Our healing workshop offers the courage to overcome trauma and fears and live a peaceful life.” For info about the next workshop call 808-866-6155, or email Dr. Bridget Bongaard, Founder, Maui Cancer Resource

Student Space Exploration Day 2023

Student Space Exploration Day 2023

Maui Economic Development Board (MEDB) has developed a wide-ranging slate of programs to advance K-12 STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) education for the County of Maui and statewide. Together with an extensive network of partners, MEDB has initiated innovative educational programs and services that support both students and educators. Their end goal is a resident workforce with the technological capabilities, innovation, critical thinking, and entrepreneurial skills to participate fully in Hawaii’s economy. 

“Essentially, MEDB’s educational programs are designed to balance the need for economic stability and diversity,” said Leslie Wilkins, MEDB President and CEO. “We design each program with respect for the community’s cultural and environmental traditions.” 

Recently, MEDB hosted 150 middle and high school students and STEM educators for Student Space Exploration Day. Participants met with former astronaut Scott ‘Scooter’ Altman for a firsthand discussion of living and working in space. The students also experienced hands-on scientific demonstrations and presentations of advanced technologies. 

Altman, a retired United States Navy Captain, talked about his four Space Shuttle missions as well as his time as a Naval aviator, test pilot, engineer, and astronaut. “I like to engage with students because it’s important that we connect with the next generation and get them interested in space-related issues,” he said. “It will be students in this age group, whom I am talking to today, who might be the first ones on Mars!”

Melinda White, Hawaii Technology Academy STEM educator, said, “It’s amazing to bring students to this event and expose them to career pathways that exist for their future in Hawaii. We are a STEMworks™  school and truly appreciate all the opportunities MEDB provides for  students across the state; such as their Lending Library which includes a portable planetarium.”

Wilson Chau, a Maui High School junior, said, “Meeting astronaut Scott Altman was a great experience. I am currently doing a project with the James Webb telescope and I learned so much from Mr. Altman’s talk. Thank you, MEDB and STEMworks, for all the opportunities you give students from different backgrounds to encounter the current advances in technology. I am grateful for this chance to further my career goals.”

Student Space Exploration Day really opens the students up to different opportunities they never even thought of. It is so difficult to get exposure like this for them. MEDB makes it all happen! Jennifer Suzuki, Maui Waena School Technology Teacher

Hawaii Energy Conference returns to the MACC

Hawaii Energy Conference returns to the MACC

The annual Hawaii Energy Conference returns to the Maui Arts & Cultural Center, May 24 – 25. Celebrating its 10th anniversary, the conference is presented by the Maui Economic Development Board (MEDB) and will feature a mix of keynote speakers, panel discussions, case studies and an exhibit venue.

Panels will explore:

  • Is getting to 100% Renewables still desirable, still doable, still worth the price?
  • How can we get clean energy projects permitted, interconnected, and operational in a reasonable period of time?
  • What is the next step in our efforts toward decarbonized energy, and what role does hydrogen play?
  • What are the energy related priorities of the Hawai’i Legislature and the Governor?
  • What is Energy Equity and how do we achieve it in the pursuit of state energy goals such as 100% renewables and net-zero greenhouse gas emissions
  • ….and more

Please visit for more information.

There is so much to talk about at the Hawaii Energy Conference, both the formal panel discussions and all the informal ‘talk story’ conversations that occur away from the stage and during the breaks. Doug McLeod, DKK Energy Services, member HEC Program Committee

Junior Rodeo, Ballet and The Nutcracker

Junior Rodeo, Ballet and The Nutcracker

Ten-year-old Moorea Winter Feliciano is both a dancer and an Upcountry junior rodeo participant. Dancing ballet since she was three years old with the Alexander Academy of Performing Arts (AAPA), she is also a member of the nonprofit Maui Youth Rodeo Organization (MYRO). Ballet and rodeo make such a unique and unexpected combination. Yet, they have a few important similarities: both take time and dedication, both take a specific skill level, both take passion, both have levels of difficulty that humble you greatly, and both take hours of extra practice.

Feliciano explained, “I spend many hours after my schoolwork practicing both ballet and riding. I help clean the ballet studio in exchange for extra classes, and I am a teacher’s assistant to younger dancers. Also, I volunteer time to help set up for rodeo, and fundraise for both ballet and rodeo. For me, it is being part of something greater than myself. Also, the number of friends from ballet who are coming to my rodeo shows, and the rodeo friends who are coming to ballet shows, makes my heart so full.”

MYRO provides opportunities for children on Maui to participate in rodeo events throughout the year: riding, roping and more. Members practice good conduct, sportsmanship, and a commitment to good grades. Morag Rice Miranda, Maui District-Hawaii High School Rodeo Association representative, always announces Feliciano as, “an accomplished dancer, our ballerina rider.” 

This year, Feliciano landed the ‘every little girl’s dream role’ of Clara in AAPA’s 2022 annual holiday tradition, The Nutcracker. She will dance the role on Saturday evening and the closing performance, besides other parts. “A lot of hard work must happen first,” she said. “Both dancing and rodeo help me to set big goals for myself and see them through. My motto is: If you believe you can, you will!”

Paul Janes-Brown, Maui Curtain Call, said, “At ten years old, Feliciano is a young lady to watch. She helped choregraph a wonderful contemporary dance performance in the 2022 AAPA performance of Sleeping Beauty. I look forward to seeing her perform the role of Clara in this year’s Nutcracker.”

I love the magic that happens onstage and at the rodeo!” The Nutcracker will be performed December 16-18 at Seabury Hall’s ‘A’ali’ikūhonua Creative Arts Center. Visit Eventbrite for Nutcracker tickets and for rodeo information. Moorea Winter Feliciano, Member, AAPA and MYRO

Celestial Navigation @ Emer-gen

Celestial Navigation @ Emer-gen

A distinguished line-up of speakers and mentors joined the 5th annual EMER-GEN Program presented by Maui Economic Development Board (MEDB) at the 2022 Advanced Maui Optical and Space Surveillance Technologies (AMOS) Conference. A joint initiative of AMOS and the Space Generation Advisory Council, over twenty leaders in the space industry supported the emerging generation of young professionals enthusiastic about careers in space. Forty-eight delegates met for EMER-GEN, with nearly half of these based in Hawaii, to help develop aerospace careers locally.

Maui resident Kalā Baybayan Tanaka offered the Celestial Navigation presentation. She is responsible for Education Direction and Program Implementation at Hui O Wa`a Kaulua, a sea-voyaging non-profit organization on Maui dedicated to the practice and perpetuation of Hawaiian canoe building, wayfinding and voyaging arts. She is also a UH Manoa STEMS^2 Masters student in Curriculum Studies. Tanaka introduced the EMER-GEN cohort to the Hawaiian Star Compass and other aspects of Hawaiian culture which pertain to leadership and communication. She inherited her love for the ocean and passion for sailing from her father, Pwo (master) Chad Kalepa Baybayan, who served  as one of the lead captains and navigators of the Mālama Honua Worldwide Voyage—Hōkūle`a.

“I shared Hawaiian lore, explored traditional navigational techniques and provided an intimate look at the relationship between the celestial bodies and history,” Tanaka explained. “Each of my own voyages taught me to be more in sync with my environment. I shared my passion for wayfinding and told the cohort stories of the stars that have led my way forward, and always guided my way home.”

Cohort member Rishin Aggarwal, Indian Space Research Organization, said, “Tanaka has a way of breaking down navigation so we could all understand it and also feel empowered by it. She said you do not have to be Hawaiian to be wayfinders and learn voyaging. You simply need a deep desire to learn. She also stressed the importance of teamwork, skills much needed by our EMER-GEN cohort, in our space industry careers, and daily life.”

Frances Zhu, UH Assistant Professor, Hawaii Space Flight Laboratory, added, “Tanaka shows the spiritual side of astronomy, wayfaring and voyaging. I am so inspired by her.”

In 2016, as captain and co-navigator alongside my father on the Hikianalia, I learned so much while sailing from Hawaii to Tahiti, thousands of miles, without modern instruments. Kalā Baybayan Tanaka, Hui O Wa`a Kaulua

2022 AMOS Conference

2022 AMOS Conference

On September 27-30, the 23rd annual Advanced Maui Optical and Space Surveillance Technologies (AMOS) Conference, a program of the Maui Economic Development Board (MEDB), had its highest-ever registration of 1,212 in-person attendees at the Wailea Beach Resort-Marriott─ Maui. An additional 259 participants viewed the livestream of the premier technical conference in the nation devoted to Space Situational Awareness (SSA) and Space Domain Awareness (SDA).

 The conference represented a cross-section of government, military, industry, and academic participation that fueled important discussion on space sustainability at local, national, and international scales. Keynote presentations, SSA Policy Forums coordinated with Secure World Foundation, invited talks, poster presentations, exhibits, technical sessions and short courses were featured in the program.

“The AMOS Conference is experiencing astronomical growth on all fronts: attendance in-person from around the world, partnerships with our sponsors and exhibitors, and the technical contributions by our authors and presenters,” said Leslie Wilkins, MEDB President and CEO. “This year’s gathering mirrors the growth we have seen in the space economy across the globe. Our international participants, from 23 countries, included our neighbors from the Indo-Pacific region as well as Europe and Central America. Additionally, MEDB continues to support the Air Force’s mission on Maui which, in turn, supports our mission of economic diversification.”

Victoria Samson, Washington Office Director for Secure World Foundation (SWF) and an AMOS Conference panel moderator, noted, “AMOS provides the opportunity for networking and knowledge-sharing within the SSA community. The keynotes and SSA policy forums at AMOS offered collaboration on space security and stability by looking at how SSA can promote space safety among all nations. Space has become an increasingly complicated domain and it is vital to have a cooperative approach for space sustainability in order to benefit all people.”

Conference Technical Chair Paul Kervin, Air Force Research Laboratory (retired), noted, “In collaboration with the American Astronautical Society (AAS), the AMOS Conference provided participating authors the opportunity to be published in a well-respected peer-reviewed Journal of Astronautical Sciences. At the close of the conference, AAS also recognized outstanding efforts by presenting awards for Best Paper and Best Student Paper.”

The continued growth in attendance and participating countries at AMOS reflects the growing interest in space sustainability and space commerce initiatives.

Leslie Wilkins, MEDB, President and CEO
Visit Maui Fruit Jewels at the Kula Festival

Visit Maui Fruit Jewels at the Kula Festival

Maui resident Lin ter Horst, a former investment banker, fell in love with the art of pastry and confection-making after she completed a pastry diploma program at Le Cordon Bleu London. Prior to receiving her pastry training, Lin, with degrees from Wesleyan University in Connecticut and Columbia Business School in New York City, held positions in financial services and internet marketing. Life’s unpredictable turn of events brought her to pastry-making classes at Le Cordon Bleu where she was swept away by the Pates de Fruits, a popular gourmet confection found in France. 

“I was overwhelmed by the exquisite flavors these little fruit jewels imparted,” Lin explained. “With an intensity so pure, I was astonished by those exquisite jewel-toned delicacies that practically melted in my mouth!”

In 2012, Lin moved to Maui with her husband Chris, a professional triathlete with a background in industrial engineering. They co-founded Maui Epicure LLC to launch their award-winning business, Maui Fruit Jewels. Chris noted, “At the heart of each Maui Fruit Jewel is a love story buried in the juicy center. Our exotic jellies, fresh purees, fruit-studded shortbread and fruit pastes are filled with wines, spices, fruits and more, all home-grown on Maui. The fruit puree, cooked with other ingredients to a high temperature, are reduced to a thick paste, and poured into molds to set before being cut into small pieces. The little shortbread squares come in a rainbow of colors with flavors like guava, lilikoi, mango, pineapple, papaya and others.”

Maui Fruit Jewels remains a family-run operation, inspired by Hawaii and its people. Chris and Lin sell their ever-growing product line weekly at the Maui Upcountry Farmer’s Market and at numerous stores and hotels. On Saturday, September 17th  from 9am-4pm, Lin will chair the annual Kula Festival at St. John’s Church where attendees have traditionally been drawn to talented musicians, homemade foods, artisan crafter booths, and the popular silent auction featuring generous donations from local artists and businesses. Lin added, “This year’s zero-waste event, with its rich history of celebration and service, will help support Maui Cancer Resources and Malama Family Recovery Center.” 

We warmly invite our island ohana to the 2022 Annual Kula Festival and to try our Maui Fruit Jewels. Every bite gives back to the Maui ‘aina it comes from.

Lin and Chris ter Horst, Maui Fruit Jewels
Mana’o @ Home

Mana’o @ Home

Trish ‘da Dish’ Smith is living her dreams on Maui. An award-winning community journalist,  wordsmith and event producer, Smith currently hosts MANA’O@HOME, a talk-story and live music experience celebrating Maui’s finest musicians. The live show, presented on the second and fourth Thursdays of the month at 4pm HST, is online via the Mana’o Radio Facebook page. Smith also provides a catalog of past shows on, which includes over 50 Maui artists, a treat for all music enthusiasts. 

Mana’o Radio Managing Director Michael Elam noted, “A key part of our mission is to support live music and the local Maui entertainers who make it thrive. We can now reach people who cannot otherwise see an artist perform locally──fans from all over the world can tune in.”

Smith added, “The Mana’o Radio ‘ohana and I are proud to showcase Maui artists by providing this live platform to share their music and be interviewed. It is great that now you can get your live-music fix from the comfort of home and learn more about your favorite Maui performers. Support for the show comes from underwriters da Playground Maui, the island’s multi-faceted live event venue in Maalaea, and from family business, Venture Physical Therapy.”

The show attracted an array of talents from the start and Smith was able to form a solid team to produce a full-fledged broadcast for audiences. Smith recalled, “What began as a Zoom show from a bedroom is now a sophisticated livestream broadcast with tech wizard Cody Quintana from BackLit Buddha Studios, a state-of-the-art artist space. The show not only brings together extraordinary musicians; it also provides a unique platform for them to share their stories and their vulnerability in an online setting. It is just the kind of journalism I have always loved to share!”

During his MANA’O@HOME performance, Maui’s Reggae Ambassador of Hawaii Marty Dread remarked, “Speaking for myself and for all of my contemporaries, thank you Trish and Mana’o Radio for providing a place where we can come talk story and play music, especially after the long lockdown. It is wonderful to share music again in such an amazing format.”

MANA’O@HOME presents an hour-long talk-story, interview, and live music experience featuring Maui’s extraordinary talent.

Trish ‘da Dish’ Smith, MANA’O@HOME, Host
The Hawaii Wildlife Discovery Center

The Hawaii Wildlife Discovery Center

In November 2021, The Hawaii Wildlife Discovery Center (HWDC), a much anticipated 5,000-square-foot space, opened at Whalers Village in Kaanapali. With contributions from several partners, HWDC features more than 30 exhibits about Hawaii’s undersea life, whaling era, cultural values and conservation work. The space also allows the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary to offer education and outreach programs, Additionally, the Maui Visitors Bureau (MVB) provides volunteer opportunities and community gatherings.

“We have long needed a place that helps our visitors better understand how to respect native wildlife while simultaneously gaining a deeper appreciation for the islands,” said Hannah Bernard, HWDC Executive Director. “We depend on partnerships like the one we are sharing with Whalers Village, MVB, and the whale sanctuary to succeed in our conservation efforts, and I could not be more excited about this wonderful place we have co-created.”

There are 45 locally produced, Maui-focused videos with topics ranging from ‘Voice of the Sea’ to ‘Kumukahi: Stories of Living Hawaiian Culture’ and ‘What Does it Take to Disentangle a Whale?’ Allen Tom, the regional manager for the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary said, “The Discovery Center’s goals and approaches are well-aligned with the sanctuary’s mission. We are thrilled to work together in this space.”

Among the many featured artists and photographers are cousins Kahi and Patrick Ching, who created spectacular murals on display outside and inside the center. Other local artists specialize in utilizing marine debris and beach-cast plastics in a variety of 3-D and video displays. Marine debris is a focal point of HWDC, and the Kids Zone is a place where keiki can learn about how plastic and other types of pollution directly affect local wildlife and habitats. Also, the HWDC Shop offers numerous sustainable products with an emphasis on merchandise locally sourced in Hawaii.

Melissa Aguilar-Craft, Whalers Village General Manager, noted, “We are honored to play host to this one-of-a-kind tenant, bringing more than just retail offerings to our shoppers. Our customers, many of whom are visitors, are looking for the complete Hawaiian experience, and HWDC provides that.”

A portion of the proceeds from gift-shop sales and entry fees into the Discovery Center supports conservation work of Hawaii Wildlife Fund, new exhibits and special displays.

Hannah Bernard, HWDC Executive Director, President, Hawaii Wildlife Fund