The 2015 Full Circle and Annual Meeting was consolidated into one full-day event which took place on August 8, 2015 at Honey's Restaurant at the Ko'olau Golf Club. For those who missed it, the following is a report on the programs and discussions that took place.
The Outdoor Circle
Full Circle Meeting – Saturday August 8, 2015
Morning Session - Branch Reports
Kaneohe Branch (Mary Yannell)
Projects: Their Wa’a Garden project has been very successful; they have involved a Hawaiian immersion school (Puahala Elementary) to help.
They present “Sunday in the Park” where they invite people to join them for an exploration of Ho’omaluhia Botanical Garden. They held events in April (12 adults and 5 kids attended), June (with similar attendance) and will do it again in September. Their goals are to offer more tours and recruit more members since they are losing some dedicated members.
Awards: They gave a beautification award to a local contractor for his re-landscaping of the Kaneohe PO, which had become very shabby. He was able to get funding for this project directly from the PO. Several branches shared that they just went in on a weekend and did a re-landscape, when the local Post Master was wishy washy on giving permission.
Public Affairs: A continuing controversy is HECO’s plans to install extra high poles. The complaints range from individual residents to condos. It is very controversial (TOC Treasurer pointed out that TOC bought a few HECO shares so its voice would potentially be heard at HECO’s Annual Meeting, and maybe this would be something to bring up there). Kaneohe is monitoring and trying to stop Hawaii Memorial Park, which is attempting to expand their burial sites onto conservation land.
Communication: This branch finds out about various environmental/conservation issues by working to build relationships with other like-minded organizations. They also attend the Neighborhood Board meetings. They are not as active as they would like to be.
Membership: Kaneohe has 25 current members and an additional 11 Life Members (with an additional 20 lapsed). General Meetings are held twice a year and BOD meetings every other month.
North Shore Branch (Carolyn Sandison, Gidget Germain, Diane Anderson)
Work Days: This branch has put in a few work days at Weed Circle. The Haleiwa Chamber of Commerce donated $5000 to plant the triangle next to Weed Circle (work was just completed).
Education: The branch is very involved in educating the community about pesticide drift; also holds classes in tree pruning.
Projects: They are putting together a map of all the plantings and projects they have done in Haleiwa (on paper for now, but want to digitize it eventually). It was suggested that they work with TOC (Myles Ritchie) regarding adding this information as another layer of the Exceptional Tree Map.
They also want to put together a tree tour of their plantings; they are approaching the Chamber of Commerce to develop the tour brochure.
Historical Archives: they have archived all their historical records (1950-present) into spiral bound notebooks, (with scannable pages), that they intend to have digitized professionally.
Signs: continue to stop unwanted signs by walking the streets; they send a follow up letter to thank those businesses that remove their signs.
Sign contact at C&C DPP is Paul Zacharias: email@example.com
Email photos to:
Alex Sugai (C&C DPP) firstname.lastname@example.org
Communication: There is a local Haleiwa newspaper that they use regularly to get the word out.
Membership: North Shore has around 50 members and an additional 9 Life Members (with an additional 50 lapsed). BOD meets at Waimea Falls Park.
Manoa Branch (Mike McFarlane)
Projects: Cleanups around Tantalus; removed 1.3 tons of trash; partner with 808 Skate; alert public through Facebook.
They did a 1000 tree giveaway; partner with Malama Manoa
They adopted the Manoa Library as a landscape project
They are planning an Exceptional Tree event (with a pruning seminar and a tour through Manoa)
Memberships: They give away 25 memberships a year to encourage new members to get involved.
Public Affairs: They are fighting the Paradise Park improvement and expansion into an amusement park at the back of the valley, which has the potential to bring 500,000 people a year to the site; they are partnering with “Save Manoa Valley”
Communication: There is a local Manoa newspaper that they use to get the word out, as well as Facebook (through TOC)
Membership: Manoa has around 35 current members and an additional 6 Life Members (with an additional 21 lapsed)
Waimea Branch (Cheryl Langton, Jean Bassen)
Projects: On going park mainteneance days; periodic median clean up days; They made work vests with W.O.C on them to wear during the median cleanups, to advertise who they are;
Waimea Tree Park: They get a discounted rate from the C&C on their water for the park. They have gotten the police to ‘police’ the park after hours. It is now a trash-free park (no garbage cans) They are trying to get a grant from Hawaii Tourism Authority to redo the park brochure; to do so, they are doing a survey of park activity to show the number of tourists who go there.
Awards: They give out beautification awards.
Communication: they pay someone to set up their website and run it.
Challenges: getting new members; getting board members (maybe change board meeting time)
Membership: WOC has around 80 current members and an additional 24 Life Members (with an additional 98 lapsed). They do their own membership drive in the summer.
Lani-Kailua Branch (Diane Harding)
Projects: Hope to expand the Womens Community Correctional Center “Learning to Grow” program, to include the selling of produce locally (to sustain the project), and to award certificates in horticulture and gardening to the participants; asking for a grant from Castle Foundation.
Fundraising: had a very successful year with the Town Party (got $14,000 in sponsors), and the Holiday House Tour (netted over $9,000)
Membership: LKOC has 230 current members of which 70 are Life Members (with an additional 345 lapsed). General Meetings are held twice a year and BOD meets at private homes every month.
Waikoloa Village Branch (Ali Blackmore (not present))
Communications: They do a monthly article in the Waikoloa Breeze (our local village paper) to put the WVOC in front of Village Residents and keep a presence. The Breeze is not circulated as widely as it was and is more of a proactive read now, meaning people have to go in on-line to read it over receiving it in their mailbox (unless they specifically request a copy be mailed to them).
Projects: They are a small chapter and most of the projects they are working on are "in progress" because they require getting different groups to agree/co-ordinate and that's proved difficult. For example Beverly Brand has been working on getting graffiti proof wraps for the electrical transformer boxes in select places around the Village. They have the artwork, they have the manufacturer, they have HELCO agreement in principal BUT the manufacturer can't seem to co-ordinate with HELCO the installation. It's the same scenario with planting of trees in parks. They have a source for the trees, they have consensus on where to put them and agreement in principal BUT resistance on the ground from park's workers.
Membership: WVOC has around 30 current members and an additional 7 Life Members (with an additional 62 lapsed).
East Honolulu Branch (Susan Spangler (not present))
Public Affairs: Susan was elected to the State Arborists Council
Membership: EHOC has around 30 current members and an additional 8 Lifetime Members (with an additional 34 lapsed).
Kauai Branch (Maureen Murphy (not present))
Communications: They would like to get their website up and running again.
Projects: Maureen is called on by media for comment, but no activity at present.
Membership: Kauai has around 5 current members and an additional 15 Life Members (with an additional 35 lapsed).
Afternoon Session - Looking Ahead
Discussion of TOC central office restructuring: (Kathleen Bryan)
TOC Budget will be reduced significantly for the coming fiscal year (cut by a third)
TOC Board will hire a part time Executive Director of Administration;
TOC Board will be do a fall concert series to raise funds;
TOC board will approach corporate sponsors to raise funds
Discussion of “Planning for a Green Honolulu” (Steve Mechler)
The concept of the Greening plan was given: raise money to green the urban core along the rail route; Discussion ensued about how the program would allow us to reach out into communities without a current voice; Who potential investors would be (developers, tourist industry, etc. who all benefit from what we do).
Members expressed concern that the ED and TOC board (President, Branch Rep) need to visit each of the branches at least once per year;
Branch member Diane Anderson indicated she’d like to see all information distributed by the Branch Representative go to the entire branch board, not just the branch president.
New member Bryan Bagnell indicated he had gotten no response after his initial join and donation (other than an email confirmation that it went through), so this prompted a discussion of how to insure that all members (including statewide, and those that join branches without good email access) get a welcome or thank you for joining or renewing;
Members expressed an interest in having an improved TOC website, more conducive to accessing branch information;
It was suggested that a calendar of all branch BOD meetings be available to all branches, on the website (Note: it is available in Salesforce, but not all branches are accessing Salesforce).
Branch Rep presented a document regarding what they can expect in the way of support from the central office.
Grant Opportunities: (Cheryl Langton)
Cheryl suggested several opportunities to explore: Hawaii Tourism Authority will fund things that attract tourists; Attend Hawaii Community Foundation symposiums
Waimea has gotten grants for small items (like a park drinking fountain) from Matson, Young Brothers, Bank of Hawaii;
When you put your grant budget together, always include ‘in-kind’ matching funds;
Always follow up with a final report.
Invite a photographer to your functions for a free lunch, and you’ll get free publicity.
Annual Meeting 4:00 – 5:00
Presidents Welcome and Report (Alexandra Avery)
Alexandra presented the years highlights and achievements:
Our Exceptional Tree mapping program success (all Exceptional trees have been mapped on all islands);
(A short video of the tree mapping process and benefits of trees was shown)
The passage of the State Environmental Court Act;
Our “Keep America Beautiful” Award
Our successful stoppage of bus advertising and aerial advertising;
Our successful stoppage of the nomination of a DLNR head without proper environmental background;
TOC Audited Financials: (Kathleen Bryan)
Incoming TOC treasurer read the Financial Report for Fiscal year 2013-14. These were our last audited financials.
A Brief History of TOC: (Cheryl Langton and a cast of thousands)
Cheryl put together a series of small written vignettes describing the significant achievements of TOC over the last century. Each member stood up to read a small passage. It was very informative and entertaining as well.
Election of Officers: (Alexandra Avery, Kaui Lucas, Rep. Chris Lee)
Nominating chair, Kaui, presented the slate of officers for 2015-16;
Alexandra called for a vote; Slate was approved;
Party adjourned to the lawn outside the building for the induction of officers by Representative Chris Lee; Rep. Lee spoke eloquently about the establishment of Environmental Court and how TOC participation will be a lasting legacy;
Mahalo to the Outgoing Board: (Dave Cheever, Mike McFarlane)
Party returned to meeting room where Dave recognized and thanked the outgoing board;
Incoming president thanked the outgoing board and thanked the members for their support.
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.