Maui News

Jill Wirt Joins Maui Nui Marine Resource Council as Project & Research Coordinator

October 14, 2021, 11:28 AM HST
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Jill Wirt was named Project and Research Coordinator for the Maui Nui Marine Resource Council. Photo Courtesy: MNMRC

Jill Wirt, who holds a master’s degree specializing in coastal and marine resource management from the University of California at Santa Barbara, has joined the Maui Nui Marine Resource Council as Project and Research Coordinator. 

While pursuing her master’s degree, Wirt worked for Maui Nui Marine Resource Council as a Communication & Programs Assistant. She coordinated with resort properties to arrange for the installation of the “Protect Maui’s Coral Reefs” informational signs now located at 39 Maui shoreline locations; and she led marine debris educational programs.

Wirt will be managing Maui Nui Marine Resource Council’s “Reef Friendly Landscaping” project, which is working in South Maui to encourage resorts, hotels, golf courses, businesses and homeowners to move away from synthetic fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides that are causing harm to Maui’s nearshore coral reefs and populations of native fish and marine wildlife. The program offers “Reef Friendly Landscaping” certification to businesses, with complimentary consulting by a local organic landscaping expert to help properties move toward safer land care practices. 

Wirt also will assist with field monitoring of Maui Nui Marine Resource Council’s Oyster Bioremediation Project in Ma’alaea Bay, a vetiver-planting effort planned for this fall in Pohakea Watershed, along with grant writing and grant management. As part of Maui Nui Marine Resource Council’s ongoing support of the Maui Nui Makai Network, a network of community and partner groups that care for ecosystems on which Hawai’i’s people depend, Wirt will provide assistance with their social media and outreach. 

“We are delighted to have Jill join our team, with her passion for protecting the marine environment and her experience in helping to enact conservation and educational programs,” said Robin Newbold, Board Chair and co-founder of Maui Nui Marine Resource Council. “She will be a tremendous asset to our small, hard-working community-based organization, where we rely upon each of our staff to bring their talents, determination and unwavering commitment to the important work we do to protect Maui’s coral reefs, nearshore ocean waters and native fish populations.”

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Wirt obtained her bachelor’s degree at San Diego State University in Environmental Sciences. 

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She graduated this summer from the Kupu Conservation Leadership Development Program, a Hawaiʻi-based program for individuals seeking an intensive entry-level experience in preparation for a career in the conservation field. Through Kupu, she worked with The Nature Conservancy Hawaiʻi and Palmyra and their marine team on Maui as a Conservation Leadership Development Member. 

Wirt also has worked as a naturalist with Pacific Whale Foundation, The Ritz-Carlton Bacara, Santa Barbara and The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua. She was the co-investigator for a NOAA Marine Debris Grant awarded to Pacific Whale Foundation, and was the social media coordinator for Skyline Eco-Adventures on Maui.

After completing her master’s degree, Wirt was an Eco-Entrepreneurship Fellow through the Bren School of Environmental Science & Management at UC Santa Barbara, where she laid the foundation to start her own nonprofit, Bringing Young Women to the Ocean, to engage and encourage young women to pursue marine science and other STEM fields through camps and mentor programs. 

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To learn more about Maui Nui Marine Resource Council, visit www.mauireefs.org

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