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Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument Community Group

The Community Group will provide input to state and federal agencies on the management, proper care, and effective stewardship of the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument (PRIMNM).


Left to Right: Gina McGuire, Sol Kaho’ohalahala, Lance Morgan PhD, Sheila Sarhangi, Rick Gaffney, Sean Russell, Angelo Villagomez, Robert Richmond PhD, Matthew Onellion, Rick Reger, Donald Greenbaum.

The NOAA Fisheries Pacific Marine National Monuments Program and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service have partnered with the Udall Foundation to recruit and select members for the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument (PRIMNM) Community Group. The group will provide input to the agencies on the management, proper care, and effective stewardship of PRIMNM. It will also provide a forum to discuss ideas and opportunities regarding PRIMNM management, for consideration in the draft Monument Management Plan that’s under development.

The first in-person meeting was held September 4–5, 2019 in Honolulu. The next teleconference meeting will be held in the winter/spring of 2020.


PRIMNM Community Group Members

Angelo Villagomez

Conservation Representative


Mr. Angelo Villagomez fills the Community Group Conservation seat and has a B.S. in Biology and B.A. in Environmental Policy. A native Micronesian, Angelo works for The Pew Charitable Trusts in Washington, D.C., where he integrates scientific research and culture into messaging and communications to showcase community support for large marine protected areas. During his many years in the conservation field, Angelo has worked with over 25 island communities in the Caribbean and Pacific to create coalitions and manage campaigns to advocate for improved shark management and marine protected areas. He started his career in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, helping to found the “Beautify CNMI” coalition and “Friends of the Mariana Trench,” before moving on to advocate for conservation and cultural connections across the globe—and specifically the PRIMNM—in his role with Pew.

Donald Greenbaum

Citizen-at-Large Representative


Mr. Donald Greenbaum fills the Community Group Citizen-at-Large seat and has an M.B.A. in International Finance and Accounting and a B.A. in Economics. Donald has been a proprietor at Aurum Telemedia Company since 1992 and he holds two U.S. patents related to the ability of computers to recognize and translate human languages. Donald is a participant in the amateur radio community and frequently travels for this hobby. Having been to Wake Atoll, Midway Atoll, and Baker Island, he recognizes the need to balance recreation with protecting the valuable assets found in protected areas such as the PRIMNM and National Wildlife Refuges. As a business executive with 40+ years of experience, he brings the skills required to communicate stewardship responsibilities to others who also wish to visit the PRIMNM, either in person or virtually.

Gina McGuire

Youth Representative


Ms. Gina McGuire fills the Youth seat on the Community Group and she received her M.S. in Tropical Conservation Biology and Environmental Science from the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo. Gina's thesis focused on using narrative research and landscape-scale analysis to inform the future of a visitor program for the Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge, Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument. She is currently pursuing her Ph.D. in Geography and Environmental Science at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa. Growing up on a native plant conservation farm in Olaʻa, Hawaiʻi Island gave Gina an appreciation for the natural world, deep connection to place, and community-based management. She has previously researched humpback whales, dugongs, and Hawaiian monk seals, and she has served as a GIS analyst for the Hawaiʻi Coral Reef Initiative's 30x30 Program. Her interests include bringing indigenous voices and epistemologies to the forefront of research and management and using geospatial tools to visualize and analyze the relationships between rural communities and terrestrial and coastal ecosystems. She is actively engaged in representing the younger generation and Native Hawaiian cultural frameworks in the PRIMNM Community Group and sharing information and opportunities with students.

Lance Morgan, PhD

Research Representative


Dr. Lance Morgan represents one of the two Research seats on the Community Advisory Group. Lance is the President of the Marine Conservation Institute, and he holds a Ph.D. in Ecology, a M.S. in Marine Science, and a B. A. in Biology. Lance has authored numerous marine protection and conservation biology publications and co-authored a justification document for the designation of the PRIMNM. In addition, he has led workshops to guide the management of the PRIMNM and assisted with establishing the Johnston Atoll field camp in 2010 as a volunteer. Lance has well-established relationships with research scientists throughout the United States and the world. From his association with the California Seamounts Coalition and other deep-sea research experiences, Lance has extensive knowledge about seamounts that will help inform protection of the thousands of seamounts in the PRIMNM.

Matthew Onellion

Alumni Representative


Mr. Matthew Onellion fills the Community Group Alumni seat with 15 years of experience in Public Utilities Water Works Management and 6,000+ scuba dives throughout the central and south Pacific Ocean. Matthew is a Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI) SCUBA Instructor, a Project AWARE-Coral Reef Conservation Specialty Instructor, and an Emergency First Response CPR & First-Aid Instructor. Since 2017, he has been the Wake Island SCUBA Club Instructor & Divemaster, emphasizing Diver Safety, Dive Training, and Reef Conservation. He offers specialty courses for Wake Island scuba divers, snorkelers, and water enthusiasts; and through PADI Project AWARE, he teaches the importance of coral reefs, the complex nature of coral ecosystems, and ways to protect the reef.

Rick Gaffney

Recreation Representative 


Mr. Rick Gaffney fills the Community Group Recreation seat and he has a B.S in Political Science from Oregon State University. Rick has also studied at the University of Hawaiʻi Asian Studies program and at the University of Rhode Island Graduate School of Oceanography, where he won a fellowship in Marine Environmental Journalism. Rick has been engaged in MPA development and management in Hawaiʻi since 1972. He served on the MPA Federal Advisory Committee for 2 terms and on the Northwest Hawaiian Island Coral Reef Ecosystem Reserve Advisory Committee since its inception in 2000. He has been to Palmyra, Kingman, and Johnston Atoll—this first-hand experience informs his advocacy for the protection of the PRIMNM. Rick boated, fished, and dived in the Pacific Islands professionally and recreationally for nearly 50 years, and he assisted in the management of recreational fishing and diving in Midway Atoll. Rick is also an award-winning freelance journalist and member of several fishing and boating organizations, where he has the opportunity to represent the Community Group and share developments and accomplishments with the public.

Rick Reger

Fishing Representative


Mr. Rick Reger, a 100 Ton Master U.S. Coast Guard licensee and Charter Boat Captain, fills the Community Group Fishing seat. He has nearly 30 years' experience fishing commercially in Alaska, Bahamas, Hawai‘i (since 1991), Mexico, and North Carolina. He currently fishes on his own vessel, “Sea Spirit,” and is passionate about creating sustainable fisheries and giving back to the resource that sustains him. He has served as Captain of numerous vessels: the F/V Kealia and Makana conducting commercial fishing at the Cross Seamount and at NOAA weather buoys from 1999–2001; the commercial fishing charter vessel “Intrepid” from 2007–2012; various Ocean Ecotour companies from 2012–2015. Rick started “Fresh Hawaiian Seafood” in 2016 to catch, process, market, and ship premium Hawaiian seafood to various chefs, wholesalers, and restaurants. He currently works with NOAA Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center scientists to tag Oceanic white tip sharks and test acoustic monitoring systems attached to weather drones. Rick is an experienced public speaker, is proficient in social media advertising, and is engaged with the commercial fishing community to effectively represent and inform the PRIMNM Community Group.

Robert Richmond, PhD

Research Representative


Dr. Robert Richmond fills one of the two Research seats on the Community Group. He is the Director of the University of Hawai‘i Kewalo Marine Laboratory and has worked in marine research and conservation biology in the Pacific for over 40 years. His Ph.D. is in Biological Sciences, and he holds an M.S. is Marine Environmental Sciences and a B.S. in Biology/Geology. He has over 100 publications and over 3,000 citations in the scientific literature. Robert has led extensive research programs on coral propagation, restoration, impacts assessment, and climate change adaptation needs. He is currently the Chair of the Maui Coral Reef Recovery Team and has an extensive research and academic communication network—both nationally and internationally—that will effectively benefit the Community Group.

Sean Russell

Education and Outreach Representative


Mr. Sean Russell fills one of the two Community Group Education and Outreach seats. Sean has a B.S. in Biology and manages the EarthEcho Water Challenge Program, overseeing a global initiative that has activated 1.5 million citizen science volunteers in 146 countries. Sean is the founder and director of the Youth Ocean Conservation Summit, a program that equips young people with the knowledge, tools, and funds to launch solutions-oriented ocean conservation projects in their local communities. Since 2014, he has worked with SeaWorld Parks and Entertainment to create and coordinate their Youth Advisory Council, while helping to influence the development of youth leadership programs in zoos and aquariums across the nation. He serves on the Board of Directors for the National Marine Educators Association, where he created the organization’s Student Engagement Committee to provide professional development opportunities for high school- and college-age students interested in marine science education. He is also an advisor to The Ocean Project. Sean contributed to creating the PRIMNM Community Group by participating in the dialogue to discuss the “community concept” held in Palmyra in September 2016.

Sheila Sarhangi

Education and Outreach Representative


Ms. Sheila Sarhangi fills one of the two Community Group Education and Outreach seats and is the owner and principal strategist for Honolulu-based Cause Consulting. With a background in communications, policy, and behavior change campaigns, Sheila leads conservation initiatives that activate key audiences in some of the most biodiverse regions in the world. She has a knack for science communication, a passion for community organizing, and an unrelenting drive to get her mission-driven clients across the finish line. Working with a broad coalition, Sheila led the successful campaigns to expand the Papahānaumokuākea and Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monuments in 2016 and 2014, respectively. Today, she manages and coordinates the “Protect Papahānaumokuākea & PRI coalition.” Prior to launching her consulting firm, she served as a director for the nonprofit SeaWeb, focusing on strengthening the communications capacity to benefit ocean health throughout the Pacific Rim, including Papua New Guinea, Fiji, Palau, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Indonesia, and Hawai‘i. She is also an award-winning writer, having penned 400-plus cover stories, features, columns, and blogs.

Sol Kaho’ohalahala

Cultural Representative 


Mr. Sol Kahoʻohalahala fills the Community Group Cultural seat. Sol is a seventh generation native Hawaiian descendent from the island of Lānaiʻi. He currently serves as the Papahānaumokuākea Native Hawaiian Elder on the Reserve Advisory Council and is the Chair of the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary Advisory Council. He has been a crewmember on the Hōkūleʻa since 1975 and his Uncle, Joseph Keli’ihananui, was one of the men killed during the Japanese attack of Howland Island on December 8, 1941. Sol brings to the Community Group extensive cultural knowledge and dedication to protecting the Hawaiian and Pacific Remote Islands.   


Last updated by Pacific Islands Regional Office on June 18, 2020