Under the boardwalk down by the sea - that’s where Linda Paul’s life work is. Paul was honored as Volunteer of the Year by the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation last summer in Washington, D.C.
The awards ceremony was held during Capitol Hill Oceans week, a three-day symposium on ocean and coastal issues. She was in good company. Former White House Chief of Staff Leon Panetta, Retired Adm. James Watkins, U.S. Sen. Judd Gregg (R- NH), and U.S. Rep. Norm Dicks (D-WA) also were honored.
Paul’s volunteer work with the aquatics division of the Hawaii Audubon Society led to her serving as its executive director for the past six years.
“Our environment has too many people, and we can’t make the people go away. We can mitigate the way we treat our resources,” explains Paul.
In addition, she’s been a volunteer vice chair of the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands Coral Reef Ecosystem Reserve Advisory Council since 2003.
Originally from Southern California, Paul became interested in marine sanctuaries when she was a University of Hawaii student getting her master’s in zoology, and she was studying the behavior of Hawaiian spiny lobster, Panullirus marginatus, in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands. Since then, she has co-authored two videos, developed marketing materials and given presentations about the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands. She also received her law degree from UH’s Richardson School of Law.
Since the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands were declared a marine national monument by President George W. Bush in June, Paul has been instrumental in recruiting 28 non-profit organizations to work on getting it listed as a World Heritage Site.
Another of her upcoming projects with the Hawaii Audubon Society is to create a pilot coral reef rangers program for Kailua Intermediate School students. The grant-writing process can generate money to hire a part-time teacher to lead field trips and teach the children about coral reef monitoring, marine debris and invasive species removal.
Paul is also closely following a bill currently in the Legislature which concerns enforcing laws prohibiting the catching of fish that are too small.
Paul lives in Kailua with husband Jim, an attorney, a senior partner with Paul Johnson Park and Niles. They have three adult children and five grandchildren on the Mainland.
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