Maui News

Maui conservation leader named new Hawai‘i Terrestrial Director at The Nature Conservancy

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Alison Cohan. PC: The Nature Conservancy

The Nature Conservancy has selected Alison Cohan as its new Hawaiʻi Terrestrial Director. Cohan transitions from her role as Maui Nui Terrestrial Director.

Cohan is an established conservation leader in Hawai‘i who began her career in marine research and conservation before transitioning to TNC Maui forest program as Field Representative in 2007. She became Maui Nui Terrestrial Director in 2015.

With her team, Cohan managed one of the largest privately owned conservation landscapes in Hawai‘i – Waikamoi Preserve – and led innovative projects on Maui, Moloka‘i and Lāna‘i to safeguard native forests that provide freshwater, are home to native forest birds, and preserve local culture and resources. 


“I am humbled and honored to be granted the opportunity to serve as TNC’s Terrestrial Director,” Cohan said in a TNC announcement. “I look forward to collaborating and innovating with staff and partners to advance the important work of preserving Hawai‘i’s lands and waters.”

Cohan has held leadership roles with various conservation partnerships including the Mauna Kahālāwai and East Maui Watershed Partnerships, the Maui Nui Rapid ʻŌhiʻa Death Working Group, and the Maui Conservation Alliance. She currently serves as a Commissioner on the Hawaiʻi Department of Land and Natural Resources Natural Areas Reserves Commission, and as a Haleakalā Conservancy Board member. She was a fellow for Ka Ipu Kukui Maui County leadership development program and she completed TNC’s Emerging Leaders program.

“Alison’s dedication and leadership has been critical to the success of our conservation impact in Hawaiʻi,” said Ulalia Woodside, Executive Director, The Nature Conservancy Hawai‘i and Palmyra. “She brings years of experience advancing innovative conservation approaches and has developed productive relationships with partners, stakeholders and funders to build support for our work. I know she will carry forward that same drive and energy to guide our statewide terrestrial team.”


The Nature Conservancy is a global nonprofit organization dedicated to conserving the lands and waters on which all life depends. Established in 1980, TNC’s Hawai‘i program has forged partnerships to manage 14 preserves and other sites across the Hawaiian Islands and has grown to include Palmyra Atoll. In Hawai‘i, we work with government agencies, private landowners, businesses, community partners and local stakeholders to protect and restore Hawai‘i’s native watershed forests, coral reefs and nearshore fisheries for their ecological value and the many benefits they provide to people.


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