Hawai'i conservation alliance

2009 Outstanding Leadership Award

Lea Hong

Lea Hong was honored with the Outstanding Leadership Award for her significant impact on Hawai‘i’s environmental and cultural heritage through her compassionate and articulate advocacy, conservation ethic, and overall philanthropic spirit. Since graduating from the University of Hawai‘i’s William S. Richardson School of Law in 1991 as one of the Environmental Law Programs first participants, Lea’s tireless work has had far reaching consequences in environmental and Hawaiian rights jurisprudence from the tops of Mauna Kea, down the streams of Waiāhole/Waikāne, and to the ocean that she loves. Before joining the Trust for Public Land (TPL) Hawai‘i, Ms. Hong litigated complex land, water, and cultural preservation and access disputes on behalf of Hawaiian and environmental groups first an non-profit litigation firm Earthjustice and then in private practice as a partner in the Honolulu law firm of Alston Hunt Floyd & Ing where she founded their Environmental Practice Section. Since leaving her law practice, Lea has relied on her leadership skills, experience, and “street cred” at TPL Hawai‘i to build bridges and conservation partnerships among Native Hawaiian, conservation organizations, grassroots community groups, and government agencies at all levels to advance some of Hawai‘i’s most inspiring land conservation efforts. Simultaneously, Lea serves as an adjunct professor at the UH Law School, teaching courses in Environmental Litigation. There are few environmental and Native Hawaiian organizations that have not been touched by her work, whether through her practical legal advice and pro bono generosity as an attorney, or her reliable support as a concerned community member. All the while, she has managed to remain an avid long boarder and hiker keeping one foot in the ocean and the other on land. Modest to a fault, Lea helps to preserve our environment and cultural heritage by contributing to a growing aloha ‘āina ethic today, laying a greener path for generations yet to come.