This talk was given at a local TEDx event, produced independently of the TED Conferences. Biologist and cultural practitioner Sam Ohu Gon III reveals the true Hawaii, a place much more than beaches and mai tais. In these islands, there is a message for the world.

Senior Scientist and Cultural Advisor at The Nature Conservancy of Hawai‘i, Sam is a world-renowned expert on Hawaiian ecology.

From the Hawaiian Islands and Rapanui to the Amazon rainforest, Dr. Samuel ‘Ohukani‘ōhi‘a Gon has circled the globe in his quest to blend culture and conservation, acre by acre. The senior scientist and cultural advisor of The Nature Conservancy of Hawai‘i has been instrumental in many facets of the Conservancy’s work.

Sam strives to blend the richness of unique Hawaiian ecosystems with the equally rich culture that developed here. As a kahuna kākalaleo, practitioner of Hawaiian chant and protocol, he serves as a Kahuna Pule (prayer master) at the heiau (temple) of Puʻu Koholā at Kawaihae, Island of Hawaiʻi with Nā Waʻa Lālani Kāhuna o Puʻu Koholā.

Sam was recently honored as a “Living Treasure of Hawaiʻi” for his rapprochement of conservation biology and Hawaiian cultural practice.

With over three decades of experience in Hawaiian ecology, he is a leading expert in biological inventories and research, field ecology, entomology, arachnology, ethology, natural community classification, ecological modeling and biological database management.