When trees lose their value the community suffers. This fact was shockingly exhibited in the recent tree massacre at the Madge Tennent historic property. Even the stiffest fines, which need to be firmly applied, can not replace the value of the 50 trees lost. The severity of the pruning to the two Exceptional Trees is also of concern to the community. These are among the few left on the Punchbowl Special District estate. The community members have lost the green scape of their street, and much more.
This is an unfortunate story of land stewardship. It began a few years ago when the Friends of the Tennent Art Foundation passed the property to Waimea's Issacs Art Center. The agreement, according to grandson Hugh Tennent, was that the Art Center would act as a conservator of the paintings on the estate and of the land. It was decided to sell the land to conserve the large paintings that were displayed in the gallery on the property. Dr. Kang bought the property from the Foundation.
Grandaughter Madge Tennent Walls, remembers playing in the lush garden on the property, learning all of the plants names from her grandfather Hugh. She is appalled that the Mayor is letting Dr. Kang apply for tree removal permits with no apparent repercussions, and is outraged that Caldwell gave him a retroactive permit. She agrees with TOC that this shameful act sets a very dangerous precedent.
There are many who remember when Madge Tennent died. The Hawaii Legislature stopped in session to note the passing of a great lady. The flags were flown at half mast. In a district that is already hot and dry, the only remedy is to replant as many trees as he cut down, perhaps in a more suitable placement to his ambitious plans of providing housing, but to replant the same number as were cut down.
The Environmental Court does not act retroactively, but if it did, this infraction would most likely be on the docket. There is a consideration within this new court for Esthetic Environmental Grievances which encourage a Citizen Participation Standing.
TOC in the past has sponsored city tree trimmers through educational trainings. This is a service we would like to be able to better fund through donations from the community. TOC has a committee of Arborists and Landscape Designers who offer tree planting advice for a donation. We would like your help in promoting good tree stewardship in your community. Find out more about tree planting and Exceptional Trees on our website, and look for the link to the Exceptional Tree Mapping App. You’ll see why members are dedicated Tree Huggers!
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.