New Director for TPL’s Hawaiian Islands Program

Honolulu, Hawai’i, 8/18/06 — The Trust for Public Land today announced that Lea Ok Soon Hong is to become director of The Trust for Public Land’s Hawaiian Islands Program.

Ms. Hong’s great-grandparents first immigrated to Hawai’i in the early 1900s to work for the sugar plantations. Raised in Wahiawa, Ms. Hong is an advocate for the protection of land to perpetuate traditional Hawaiian culture.

“Ms. Hong brings more than a decade of experience collaborating with local communities, landowners, and public agencies to protect Hawai’i’s natural and cultural resources,” says Reed Holderman, vice president and regional director of The Trust for Public Land. “We are thrilled to have hired Lea. Her commitment to conservation in Hawaii will be an asset to the Hawaiian Islands Program and The Trust for Public Land.

Tim Johns, co-chair of The Trust for Public Land’s Hawaiian Islands Program Advisory Board adds: “Her appointment as the director of the Hawaiian Islands Program will enable The Trust for Public Land to focus on our top priority-to preserve coastal lands that have tremendous cultural value and serve as Hawai’i’s most important community resource.”

“As new director of TPL’s Hawaiian Islands Program, I look forward to building strong local partnerships to protect land, both at the community and public agency levels,” said Lea Hong. “For years I have practiced law with resource protection in mind, and I’m now thrilled to shift gears to increase cooperation among communities, landowners, and local governments and bring win-win solutions to land conservation in Hawai’i.”

Ms. Hong will also be dedicated to helping create new sources of funding for conservation at the state and local levels, and bringing mainland funds to assist land protection projects in the islands.

Prior to this appointment, Ms. Hong served as partner and chair of the Environmental and Cultural Resources Law Practice Group at Alston Hunt Floyd and Ing, the fifth largest law firm in Hawai’i. She attended Wahiawa Elementary and Intermediate School, Leleihua High School and went on to earn a degree from Rice University in Texas and her JD from William S. Richardson School of Law at Manoa.

In addition, Ms. Hong is deeply involved in the community. In 2005, she was named Bank of Hawai’i’s Community Leader of the Year. She is a 2005-06 Pacific Century Fellow, a 2004 recipient of the Outstanding Woman Lawyer of the Year Award from the Hawai’i Women Lawyers, and serves or has served on a number of non-profit boards, including the Historic Hawai’i Foundation, Hawaii Women Lawyers, and Tau Dance Theater.

Ms. Hong’s appointment with The Trust for Public Land as director of the Hawaiian Islands Program will commence on August 21, 2006.

The Trust for Public Land is a private, nonprofit land conservation organization that works nationwide to conserve land for people. Founded in San Francisco in 1972, The Trust for Public Land specializes in conservation real estate, applying its expertise in negotiation, public finance, and law to protect land for public use. Since 1979, The Trust for Public Land has protected more than 28,000 acres throughout the islands-from beaches and gardens to koa forest and taro lo`i. For more information, please visit