By Gloria Kobayashi
Don Yokoyama has been a forester with both the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and the State Department of Land and Natural Resources. His job is to protect the forest, which involves fighting forest fires, controlling feral animals and alien plants and monitoring and planting endangered native Hawaiian plants. He has fought forest fires at the National Park, on State lands and on the mainland. He uses fire arms to hunt feral animals and rides a helicopter to monitor and camp in remote areas on the Island.
Don is a 1994 graduate of Waiākea High School who went on to the UH Hilo to get a degree in natural science with a minor in biology. He has also trained and been certified in fire management, use of firearms, aviation safety and sling load training, portable pumps and water use, resources management and use of power saws and pesticides. His first job after college graduation was as a wildlife botanical assistant at the National Park, then as a field supervisor for the Olaa-Kilauea Partnership project.
His job protects our native ecosystem and our environment so that plants and birds that have been diminishing will be restored for future generations. He recommends this job to those who want to work outdoors. Science courses in high school, as well as technical reading and writing skills are necessary.
Don also played on Waiākea’s baseball team for four years.