Momoka Maeda was born in central Africa and moved to Orlando, Florida, with her family when she was eight. Family vacations were spent traveling to various natural areas along the southeast coast of the U.S., or to the mountains and coastal towns of Japan. After graduating from the University of West Florida with a B.A. in Interdisciplinary Humanities, Momoka interned and worked in National Parks and Monuments in Arizona and Utah. She developed a strong interest in ethnobotany and attempted to learn about every plant she came across. Wanting to study about conservation in other parts of the world, she acquired a Master’s Certificate in Conservation Biology from the University of New South Wales, Australia, in conjunction with Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand. In the summer of 2013, Momoka worked as a Research Associate for GBI in southern Utah. The following year, she became a crew lead on that same project and in the fall of 2014, she was a crew lead for the Desert Tortoise project based out of Las Vegas. She helped to implement an Integrated Upland Monitoring project in Joshua Tree National Park with the NPS’s Mojave Desert Network and is now the Research Associate Program Specialist for Southern Nevada. Momoka enjoys backpacking, hiking, longboarding, swimming, working on 1,000+ piece jigsaw puzzles, and researching places she would like to explore.