Suzanne Case is a passionate conservationist based in Hawaiʻi with extensive personal and professional experience in the American West and the Pacific.
Suzanne was born in Hilo, Hawaiʻi Island, and raised in Hilo and Honolulu, with family roots going back four generations in Hawaiʻi. She also lived in the San Francisco Bay Area for twenty years.
Case is a 28-year veteran of The Nature Conservancy, where she served fourteen years as in-house legal counsel for the Western Region and the Hawaiʻi and Pacific Region, and fourteen years as Hawaiʻi State Director. Some of her favorite conservation project great places include the Sacramento River in California; Pyramid Lake, Ruby Valley Ranches and Red Rock Canyon in Nevada; the Sawtooth Mountains and Silver Creek in Idaho; the Strawberry River and Moab in Utah; the Gunnison Basin and the Arikaree River in Colorado; Kīpahulu, Kona Forests, Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park, Kīholo Bay, and watershed partnerships and marine conservation in Hawaiʻi; Komodo in Indonesia; Walindi Bay in Papua New Guinea; Pohnpei in Federated States of Micronesia; and Palmyra Atoll.
Case was appointed In 2015 by Governor David Ige as the Director of the State of Hawaiʻi Department of Land and Natural Resources, and re-appointed in 2019 for a second four-year term through 2022. The DLNR has a staff of 1,000 and a $160 million budget, and is responsible for the protection and sustainable use of Hawaiʻi’s forests, streams, reefs and ocean waters, state parks, small boat harbors, conservation and coastal district regulation, historic preservation, public lands management and disposition, land title records, and natural and cultural resource law enforcement. Case chairs the Board of Land and Natural Resources and the Commission on Water Resource Management, co-chairs the State Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation Commission and the Hawaiʻi Invasive Species Council, and serves on the Board of Agriculture and the Kahoʻolawe Island Reserve Commission.
Case attended Williams College and then Stanford University, graduating with honors in History. Her honors thesis covered the work and writings of Eliza Farnham, who lived and traveled in upstate New York, Illinois, and California in the 1820s to 1860s, in the context of nineteenth century American social history and women’s history. Case also authored Join Me In Paradise: The History of Guenoc Valley, in Lake County, California, owned by English celebrity Lillie Langtry and operated as a horse farm, ranch and winery from 1888 to 1906. Case has a J.D. from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law, and practiced real estate transactions law for four years at Pettit and Martin in San Francisco before joining The Nature Conservancy.
Suzanne and her family live in the mauka forests of Honolulu, where she hikes daily and enjoys history and genealogy, Hawaiian studies, and puttering, and looks forward to annual backpacking adventures in parts far and wide.