The Maui Nui Botanical Garden Staff

Tamara Sherrill,  Executive Director

Tamara is from the Southeastern U.S. and worked in market gardening, landscaping, and construction before moving to Maui in 1994. She was the Maui Nui Botanical Gardens' Nursery Manager and Curator from 2002-2005 and helped collect and establish the Gardens’ current collection of plants. She was active with the Native Plant Society during this time, the organization that assisted Rene Sylva in the creation of the Garden in the late 1980’s. She left in 2006 to complete her Bachelor of Science in Natural Resources and Environmental Management from University of Hawai'i at Mānoa. While she attended school, she also worked as a research assistant for the University and as a biologist for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. She returned to MNBG in 2009 and has served as E.D. since 2014.

Alexa Helge,  Program Manager

Alexa was raised in Lahaina and is a graduate of Lahainaluna High School. She holds a B.A. in Graphic Design from Azusa Pacific University in Azusa, California. Alexa has been managing MNBG's programs and events since September 2020 and has been instrumental in growing the Saturday cultural workshops program. She is currently studying traditional lei making through the Kahōkūala Program at UH Maui College.

Cathy Davenport,  Seed Storage Technician

Cathy has lived on Maui since 1987 and joined the MNBG team in February 2020. Cathy has a M.S. Botany from UH Mānoa; 12 years teaching UH-MC courses such as Ethnobotany and Hawaiian Field Biology, and she’s a retired Hawai`i State Agricultural Inspector. She is now the lead on a project with the USDA Forest Service to collect and store ‘ōhiʻa seeds that represent all varieties and a broad range of genetic variability on Maui, Molokaʻi, and Lānaʻi. Samples of the seeds are being sent for disease resistance testing to Hawaiʻi island, with the goal of ultimately finding naturally resistant populations.

Nameaaea Hoshino,  Kalo Varieties Manager

Namea was raised in Lahaina and is a graduate of Lahainaluna high school. He has training in Hawaiian Studies with an emphasis on Hawaiian Language Immersion from the University of Hawai‘i Maui College. From 2011 until the present, MNBG has been working with a grant from the Ceres Trust to create “huli bank” of verified Hawaiian kalo cultivars. More than 60 varieties of Hawaiian kalo are being grown for distribution to Maui farmers and other growers as part of a statewide effort to mālama Hāloa. Namea has led several cultural workshops at MNBG about kalo, including classes about different groups of related varieties, techniques for making kulolo, and other topics.

Emmely Cabacungan,  Nursery and Landscape Design Manager

Emmely was raised in upcountry Maui and graduated from King Kekaulike high school. She joined the MNBG team as a staff member in February 2020. She has an AAS in Agriculture and Natural Resources from UH Maui College. She has experience with conventional and organic agriculture through her work on campus as an Agriculture Assistant and an extensive knowledge of native Hawaiian plants. Emmely helped with MNBG’s seed storage and plant collection in the Summer of 2019 with Nā Hua Ho‘ohuli i ka Pono as a Kupu member, and among her many duties is assisting with a USDA project to collect and store genetic representation of Maui County ʻōhiʻa for natural disease resistance testing.

Aaron Guerrero,  Garden Maintenance Manager

Aaron was raised in upcountry Maui and graduated from King Kekaulike high school. He joined MNBG in 2022 after becoming a Hawaiian kalo varieties grower. He also has interest in the Hawaiian cultivars collections of kō and ʻawa. His background is in strength and conditioning and knows how important outdoor physical activity is in overall health and wellness.

Karen Pollard,  Grounds and Maintenance

Karen grew up in Los Angeles and moved to Maui in 1984. She previously served as a student intern and a volunteer at MNBG. She has a master’s degree in Ecosystem Restoration and many years of experience working in native plant restoration.

Michael Stevens,  Grounds and Maintenance Assistant

Michael was raised in South Maui and is a graduate of Baldwin High School. He is studying biology at the University of Hawai'i Maui College and recently completed the Landscape Industry Technician Certification prep course. He has a strong interest in Hawaiian botany and taxonomy.

Caitlin Duquette,  Grounds and Maintenance Assistant

Caitlin was raised in upcountry Maui and is a graduate of King Kekaulike high school. Caitlin is a former Kupu member at Maui Nui Botanical Gardens and E Ola Koa at Haleakalā National Park, and an Interpretive Park Ranger and Team Lead at Haleakalā National Park. She holds a B.A. in Interdisciplinary Studies from U.H. Mānoa with a focus on Communications, Human Relations, and Data. Since 2020 Caitlin has also been an active community herbalist, producing topical and internal herbal products, leading classes, and demonstrating Lāʻau Lapaʻau at events.

Bailey Wallace,  Interim Nursery Manager

Bailey grew up with her grandparents’ produce business in Southport, North Carolina. She received a bachelor’s degree from University of North Carolina Wilmington in 2020, studying Environmental Science with a focus in conservation and two minors in biology and geospatial technologies (GIS), and served several conservation internships in Wilmington. In the past two years in Hawaiʻi, she has served as Biological Science Tech Intern and Endangered Forest Bird Intern at Haleakala National Park, and Mosquito Research & Control Associate with Maui Forest Bird Recovery Project. She is currently a Garden Coordinator at Pukalani Elementary & Kalama Intermediate schools.

Chris Davella,  Plant Sales Manager

Chris was raised in upcountry Maui. He has a Bachelor of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies – Environmental Studies: Agroecology from the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa and brings his experience in farm and nursery production of food crops and ornamentals, strong data management skills, and an interest in taking an ecological approach to agriculture. Chris served as Horticulturist at Haleakalā National Park and recently completed two courses at UHMC, one in irrigation design and the other in agricultural business management.

The Garden is located at 150 Kanaloa Avenue in Kahului, Maui, right across from the War Memorial Stadium.
(808) 249-2798

Hours of Operation
Tuesday through Saturday,
8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Closed occasionally for inclement weather and Hawaii State Holidays.

Members:   Free
General:   $10
Keiki Under 12:   Free
Kama'aina:   Free
(with Hawai'i ID)

Please Consider
Making a Donation

Every dollar contributed to Maui Nui Botanical Gardens goes directly towards the preservation of Native Hawaiian Plants and the upkeep of our collection that includes some of the rarest specimens in whole world!