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Fellows Spotlight
Fellows on Nature and the Environment
April 6, 2022
Composite photo of Forest Frizzell, Sulma Gandhi, Meli James, Kalani Ka‘anā‘anā, Dawn Lippert, Kūha‘o Zane

Forest Frizzell, Sulma Gandhi, Meli James, Kalani Ka‘anā‘anā, Dawn Lippert, Kūha‘o Zane

In celebration of Earth Month, we asked Fellows questions about nature and the environment. Here’s what they had to share:

Some responses have been edited for length and/or clarity.


Click on a name to go directly to their responses:
Forest FrizzellSulma GandhiMeli JamesKalani Ka‘anā‘anāDawn LippertKūha‘o Zane


Forest Frizzell, Cohort I

What is one way you connect with nature to keep yourself grounded?

Anything outside and in the ocean: paddling, fishing, surfing. Now that I have a daughter who also loves the ocean, taking her swimming is the best.

What is something you and/or your organization are doing to be environmentally conscious?

Even before the pandemic, we [Shifted Energy] already had established work from home options. None of our employees have daily commutes. We are a renewable energy startup so our work is completely focused on building solutions to help bring more renewable energy onto our electric grids at scale. Most employees volunteer or incorporate carbon reduction measures in their daily lives.


Sulma Gandhi, Cohort III

What is one way you connect with nature to keep yourself grounded?

Nature heals—for our physical being as well as our spiritual being. I commit to regularly walking solo amongst theʻōhiʻa lehua trees and the songs of many different native birds of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. During this time I find the peace to reflect, and my curiosity and creativity thrive in that space. I am held here while I contemplate and consider, alongside nature, my learnings for that present moment in time.


Meli James, Cohort VII

What is one way you connect with nature to keep yourself grounded?

I walk in my yard, water my plants, and feed my silkie chickens.

What is something you and/or your organization are doing to be environmentally conscious?

We [Mana Up] support locally owned businesses who are supporting sustainable practices and directly combating waste and in the sustainability space. Wrappily, Meli Wraps, HAYN, Yireh, and many others are examples.


Kalani Ka‘anā‘anā, Cohort VII

What is one way you connect with nature to keep yourself grounded?

Going to the beach is one way I keep connected with nature.

What is something you and/or your organization are doing to be environmentally conscious?

We’ve [Hawai‘i Tourism Authority] moved to completely digital contract files and e-signatures. We have also converted the Hawaiʻi Convention Center to be a LEED Gold building.


Dawn Lippert, Cohort IV

What is one way you connect with nature to keep yourself grounded?
Swimming in the ocean is one of my favorite ways to refresh and rejuvenate. I swim to the flag at Kaimana Beach, and when I see a honu it is a particular blessing for my day/week.

What is something you and/or your organization are doing to be environmentally conscious?
We [Elemental Excelerator, Earthshot Ventures] fund startups who are solving for climate change, so our core mission is taking care of our environment/planet. We are also always learning and improving our own practices, such as plant-based catering and minimizing waste.


Kūha‘o Zane, Cohort VII

What is one way you connect with nature to keep yourself grounded?

Regular intentional dips in the ocean to just cleanse. Continually looking at chants that are thousand-year-old observations of our land and memorizing these chants. Taking a moment every morning to observe something new.

What is something you and/or your organization are doing to be environmentally conscious?

Teaching these same ancient chants. Combing through our [Sig Zane Designs, SigZaneKaiao] production and operational processes to see where we can reduce waste and or use recycled or organic material.