Jeff Stallman

Jonathan (JP) Price

University of Hawaii at Hilo

I only took one class from Jonathan (JP) Price at the University of Hawaii at Hilo, but it sticks with me to this day. To learn about Native Hawaiian plants and vegetation types, our class visited the special habitats where they grew and learned their Hawaiian names, cultural histories and identifying characteristics.

JP made the class engaging by peppering us with puns about Hawaiian plant names, like, “Where does the ama’u fern grow? In the Saddle Area (a pun for the proper name, Sadleria)!” He also jokingly encouraged everyone to use the correct names of places: “If I hear anyone call it ‘A-Bay’ instead of ‘Anaeho‘omalu,’ it’s an automatic F!” JP also helped identify interesting plants found by his students on their weekend hikes.

JP recognized conflict can occur between conservationists wanting to protect these plants, homeowners not being able to grow something in their yards because it’s invasive, and others who are concerned about the diminishing hunting areas. He struck a balance by noting that hunters prefer to hunt in native forests and that the imprecise language of calling every non-native organism an invasive species can cause people to give up in frustration instead of helping an issue that only a subset of non-native organisms cause.

These memorable lessons led me to my own related research about the origin of Hawaiian fungi. JP’s class was taught outdoors with hands-on experience, so it was a refreshing way to learn — the content has stuck with me three years later!



Share your story with us! Our teachers are a great source of encouragement, inspiration and positive life transformations. Many of us have had a teacher who has made a major impact on our lives or helped us to simply do better.

HEA wants to showcase testimonials about amazing teachers to highlight the importance of our local educators. These stories will be featured throughout our website, newsletter and social media in 2021 as part of HEA’s 100th anniversary celebration.


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