Kepa Berengue joined the Hawaiʻi Conservation Alliance as our Conservation Connections Assistant in January 2019. He was born and raised in ʻEwa on Oʻahu and graduated from James Campbell High School in May of 2014. Kepa went into conservation on a whim after seeing a Facebook post about Kupu, back in 2015, and thought it would be a cool opportunity to get him out of his comfort zone. After completing the program, it sparked his interest to continue taking care of the land. Kepa completed another Kupu program in 2016. He attended UH Hilo and graduated in December 2018 with a BA in Communications and a minor in Anthropology. Kepa went to UH Hilo to get away from the hustle and bustle of life here on Oʻahu. He wanted to experience living life away from family and learning to do things on his own. Life in Hilo was a huge shock for him and it made him grow significantly.
Before getting his degree, Kepa wanted to be a child psychologist. His intended major was psychology with a minor in women studies. He realized that it was something that he liked, but struggled with confidence in regards to public speaking. While taking communication classes to fill pre-requisites, he became more interested in communication as he noticed his speaking skills improving. With that said, he switched his major to communications in his sophomore year. Needing to fill classes, he went into anthropology, as many of the classes were Hawaiʻi focused. Cultural Resource Management with Peter Mills really drew Kepa into anthropology, as the class addressed laws and regulations that need to be followed. It challenged Kepa during his final project to advocate for why a particular site should be monitored better and what qualified it as a cultural site.
While learning about anthropology, Kepa was fortunate enough to be given an opportunity to attend an archaeology field school. This opened his eyes to see a different field and sparked another interest of his. He quickly realized he could tie all his interests together. Kepa wants to work with a specific community and learn and/or teach them about their place. He wants to do this by seeing what is valued and available in that particular community and teaching them ways to manage their place in a modern sense.
Kepa enjoys learning about different cultures and places, going outdoors, and meeting new people.