Sonnet Kekilia Coggins
Intertwined interests in literature, objects, and stories of place brought Sonnet to the Conservancy in 2018. She spent her childhood in Virginia, making frequent visits to family on Oʻahu and Kauaʻi. After completing a Masters degree in Education at the University of Virginia, Sonnet moved to France, where she worked in the wine industry and delighted in learning about place names and terroir. She then completed a Master of Arts in French Language and Literatures, with a focus on cultural history and interpretation of historic sites. Sonnet’s interests led her to a career in museums, first at the Denver Art Museum, and then at the Williams College Museum of Art, where she co-curated The Field is the World: Williams, Hawaiʻi, and Material Histories in the Making. Her life and work are guided by a deep curiosity about the world, storytelling about place, creativity, and the arts.
Director of Programs and Communications
Sara has been a champion of Maui’s well-being since 2004. Born and raised on a different island (Long Island, NY), she graduated from the University of Southern California with a degree in psychology and before moving to Maui, worked for 8 years as a film and television producer in Los Angeles. On Maui, she has consulted for dozens of small businesses and nonprofits, co-produced three TEDxMaui conferences for more than 3,000 attendees, and co-founded Plant a Wish, a project that planted native trees with communities in all 50-states. Sara lectures in marketing and entrepreneurship at the University of Hawai‘i and has been part of The Merwin Conservancy team since its founding, joining the staff full time in 2015. She is a recipient of the Mālama I Ka ‘Āina award, given to Maui residents who further the protection of native habitats, serves as a board member at Montessori School of Maui and Nā Koa Manu Conservation, and is a member of Hālau ʻŌhiʻa, studying Hawaiʻi lifeways with Kumu Kekuhi Kealiʻikanakaʻole. Sara advocates for remembering our ancestral connections to nature, and enjoys gardening, reading, playing music, and learning from the wilds of Maui with her family.
Programs and Communications Coordinator
Originally from Salt Lake City, Utah, Andrea Perkins has lived on Maui since 2009 and started working with the Conservancy in 2018. After receiving a B.A. in Literature from the University of Utah, she moved to Cairo, Egypt, to teach English and ended up as the art and theater reviewer for Egypt Today magazine. Upon returning to the states, she worked for several years as a staff and freelance reporter for various newspapers and magazines in California’s Bay Area. She then switched tracks entirely and opened up a world dance studio in Chattanooga, Tennessee which thrived for 8 years, until she relocated to the islands to focus once again on writing. Her poetry and fiction have appeared in various publications, including Tin House and Hobart. She is currently working on a novel.
Olin Erickson, MauiScapes, LLC