Aloha Outdoor Circle!
I recently had someone describe our organization in this way: “An invisible and powerful force that protects our sense of place.” I thought about that description later and decided it was quite profound. Without much fanfare, and often without any recognition at all, The Outdoor Circle continues to protect our sense of place in a countless number of ways. So please allow me to begin by extending a well deserved mahalo to each and every one of you for what you do every day. Collectively, YOU are the powerful force that protects our sense of place.
While our tag line keeping Hawai‘i “Clean, Green and Beautiful” will continue to guide us, we find ourselves in a period of transition at The Outdoor Circle. To steer us through this transition we have been blessed with our new Executive Director Winston Welch, our new Operations Director Jackie Wah, and of course, Myles Ritchie whose work you all are familiar with. Although our “Dream Team’s” efforts have been largely invisible to most of you, their hard work is now starting to show everywhere around The Outdoor Circle. All you need to do is to step foot inside of our offices to notice, and even feel, this transformation taking place.
Thanks to your membership dues, some diligent fundraising, and a generous gift by The Sally Edwards Foundation, I can proudly report that we are once again on solid financial ground as an organization. Our board is now thankful for the opportunity to now consider investing in our core staff who have done a full-time job up until now on a part-time salary. Looking forward in the second half of this year, we will be turning our focus on finding ways that will allow us to refine our development and fundraising programs. These essential steps should set the foundation of stability for the next century, and beyond.
Our Exceptional Tree Map is a continued source of organizational pride and also become a key component of our transformation. Since we completed the daunting task of collecting the data last summer, we have been talking a lot internally about our next steps with our map. With Myles in the lead, we are moving away from the Google Map platform to ArcGIS online. This is going to not only make the map far more user friendly with its mobile application, but this new cutting edge platform opens the door for the possibility of our map funding itself by allowing us to share our unique data with other online maps. I am very excited to announce that we have been approached by the City and County of Honolulu and are working on a memorandum of understanding. When complete, this will forge a partnership that would allow the Exceptional Trees to be pinpointed on their maps for planning and permitting. In turn, this partnership will open up funding sources for map development that have been previously unavailable to us.
Lastly, I hope that you will join us at the Nutridge Estate on Tantalus for our first annual “Sunset in the Forest” concert on May 7th featuring Na Hoku Hanohano award winning musicians Sean Na‘auao, HAPA, and Waipuna. It will be an opportunity to listen to wonderful music under the trees and reflect on the past, present, and future of The Outdoor Circle. Please check our website at outdoorcircle.org to get more information and purchase your tickets. It is going to an amazing evening you will not want to miss!
On behalf of our Board of Directors, it has been an honor to serve you for the past six months.
A hui hou,
The Greenleaf is the online newsletter and blog of The Outdoor Circle. Here you will find updates on the projects and accomplishments of our many branches throughout the state, as well as programs with statewide impact.