We Create Divers with a Purpose

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Mission: Trees to Seas is a Non-Profit Organization which aims to create community through education and participation.  We teach conservation and stewardship through adventures from the trees to the seas!

We have a growing community of eco-divers which are actively involved in our monthly cleanup dives and international travels.  Our projects not only remove marine debris, they also raise awareness about marine issues both on a local and global level.

 


About Us

How the seed of Trees To Seas was planted…

It started in a harbor parking lot.  Gracie and Liv had the idea of hosting a cleanup dive in an attempt to create a community of eco-divers. On that rainy day, only one volunteer showed up.  The success of that dive was beyond anything they imagined.  A few weeks later they held another clean-up dive and their numbers grew to sixteen.  It proved that positive actions of a few can create positive reactions in many.  Through the support and guidance of incredible friends, Trees to Seas, Inc. was incorporated and became a 501(c)3!

Our community continues to spread it’s roots as we include people of all ages who share a common goal. Our conservation efforts continue to grow as we connect the trees to the seas.

We invite you, your friends, and your family to join us!

Active Team

Our collective of eco ninjas have picked up literal TONS of trash off our fragile reefs, worked to remove invasive species all over the world, and endeavor every day to involve more people in conservation efforts.

Kelsey Barrow

Kelsey Barrow grew up mostly in Wahiawa on Oahu but also has lived many places. She graduated with a Bachelors of Science in Natural Resources Environmental Management from the University of Hawaii at Manoa. She is currently working at Dudek Environmental Consulting as a Geographical Information Systems Analyst. Working with renewable energy and restoration projects in Hawaii and all over the United States. Kelsey started volunteering for Trees to Seas in 2014. She has been attending scuba dive clean ups and community outreach events. She has received multiple advance scuba certifications through Trees to Seas and is currently a NAUI Master Diver. Kelsey Barrow grew up mostly in Wahiawa on Oahu but also has lived many places. She graduated with a Bachelors of Science in Natural Resources Environmental Management from the University of Hawaii at Manoa. She is currently working at Dudek Environmental Consulting as a Geographical Information Systems Analyst. Working with renewable energy and restoration projects in Hawaii and all over the United States. Kelsey started volunteering for Trees to Seas in 2014. She has been attending scuba dive clean ups and community outreach events. She has received multiple advance scuba certifications through Trees to Seas and is currently a NAUI Master Diver. She enjoys teaching and getting others outdoors to connect with their communities. Helping with the Adopt a Stream program in Palolo hosting bi-monthly stream cleanups. Teaching children about their watershed at the Jarret Middle after school program. Bringing excitement to our annual earth day events teaching kids about litter and what happens when it ends up in our oceans. Attending a TTS Belize trip where we conducted lion fish removal and sea urchin-algae experiments. Working on our south shore fishing line removal for coral restoration. Kelsey has been a part of many different projects at Trees to Seas.

Phillip Dustan

Phillip Dustan

Science Advisor and Director

Dr. Phil Dustan, College of Charleston, began his reef studies in Discovery Bay, Jamaica in the early 1970’s on the photobiology of reef corals conservation. However, much of his career has focused on human impacts on the vitality of coral reefs. He remains fascinated with sunlight as a driving ecological forcing function of corals and coral reefs, but realized in the 1980’s that unless more effort went into conservation nothing would be left for future generations. A founder of the USEPA Florida Keys Coral Reef/Hardbottom Monitoring Project and Cousteau Society Science Advisor, he pioneered remote sensing techniques to detect coral reef change, collaborated on developing coral molecular stress markers, and discovered White Plague coral disease. Retrospective studies of Jamaican and Floridian reefs that have changed almost beyond recognition, having lost 50% - >95% of their living coral cover, sparked collaborations with non-profits (TreestoSeas.org, BiosphereFoundation.org, Raja Ampat Research and Conservation Centre) to engage more locals in reef stewardship guided by science. Phil’s research has highlighted that coral reefs are ecosystems, not resources and just like politics, conservation is local, beginning with local people and their actions.

Jennifer Millholen

Jennifer Millholen

Chairman and Researcher

Jennifer comes to Trees to Seas with 11 years of dive experience; certified for open water, Rescue Diver, and Master Diver by Liv Wheeler, the co-founder of Trees to Seas. Jennifer has been incredibly fortunate to dive around the world, witnessing the diverse ecosystems of Hawaiʻi, Belize, Raja Ampat, Sulawesi, Great Barrier Reef, Thailand, Galapagos, and New Zealand. Diving these locations also brings into focus the sharp reality of human impacts on our oceans through climate change, plastic production, dumping, and harmful fishing practices. Jennifer is committed to a lifetime of continued advocacy for ocean and waterway health and education on the negative impacts of trash to our oceans and all bodies of water. Jennifer hopes to achieve these education goals through scuba reef-cleanups, inland channel cleanups, and her work as a waste reduction coordinator with Kōkua Hawaiʻi Foundation teaching students, schools, and communities the importance of creating less waste to preserve our pristine spaces. Jennifer is also actively involved in Honolulu county and Hawaiʻi state policy to address waste reduction, climate change, and ocean health. She was a core member of the team responsible for passing Bill 40 in Honolulu; the most impactful restriction on disposable plastic food and service ware in the country, and serves on the advisory committee on implementation and enforcement.

Liv Wheeler

Liv Wheeler

Founder, Secretary, Dive Training Coordinator for University of Hawaii, Boat Captain

Liv Wheeler, Co-Founder of Trees To Seas, works at the University of Hawaii at Manoa as their Training Coordinator for the Scientific Diving Program. This has given her insight to current issues surrounding Hawaii’s marine environment, and direct connections with the research being conducted. She is currently working on her Masters Thesis on invasive algae and methods to control it’s spread. Before her time at the University Liv worked on Oahu as a Dive Instructor for many of the dive shops. She started clean up dives for local divers on the island to remove marine debris from the reefs. She traveled to the Caribbean, initiated a lion fish removal program in Belize, and began experimental studies on sea urchin algal removal in Jamaica. With TTS teammate Phil Dustan a series of expeditions occurred always surrounding the concept of stewardship and empowering the community they would visit. “ I feel that participation is the best way to get involved and truly make a connection between a person and their environment. This connection is what inspires people to think, and become conscious of how their choices affect the greater community around them.” Liv, is now creating communities of divers with a purpose. The purpose is to be stewards of the planet. That is where the phrase “trees to seas” comes from. The idea that we are all connected, from the depths of the ocean to the tops of the trees and beyond.