By Diane Harding, Branch Representative
As many of you know, the Outdoor Circle and all its branches have been going through changes over the past year, and as a result, we are now a more resilient and sustainable organization both fiscally and structurally.
One of the major changes has been to our policy on memberships, which included standardizing the membership dues rates for all branches Island-wide, and standardizing the membership term associated with your renewal or join date.
The new term of membership policy now sets a 'Date of Record' for all members of the organization. This is the date on which all dues paying members are 'counted', for a variety of reasons, including determining who is allowed to vote at TOC's yearly Annual Meeting held in late August, and for determining how many members each branch has, for the purpose of disbursing TOC funds back to them. This date is set to June 1 of any given year.
In the past, each branch kept track of its members' status similar to how magazine subscriptions are handled. In other words, if you joined in May, your membership was good till the next May. Now, all branches are moving to a new schedule, where your membership term always goes for at least one year, and always terminates on June 1 of a given year. For example, if you joined in February 2014, your membership is good through June 1, 2015.
Regarding this point, June 1, 2014 is just around the corner, and many of you have not renewed, and are set to expire on that date.
Please consider renewing your membership if you have not done so already. It’s very easy to do.
You can go to the Outdoor Circle website (outdoorcircle.org), click on Membership, and then pay on-line (via 'Click & Pledge', which is similar to Paypal). Simply add the Individual Membership ($25) to your cart and at 'checkout', when you give your name and address, you can specify your branch affiliation (Lani-Kailua).
If you prefer to pay by mail, there is a Membership Form there for you to print and mail in to the Central Office.
Your support is important to us, and enables us to continue the great work we do. TOC will do its best to accommodate late joiners where possible, but it is important to have a final count by June 1, so please try to renew by that date. Also, please consider inviting a friend to join as well!
By Marti Townsend, Executive Director
Two aggressive pests threaten the future of Banyan trees in Hawai‘i. The Lobate Lac Scale, known as the “vampire bug” sucks the life out of Chinese Banyans, native Hibiscus, Koa, and about 300 other tree and plant species. So far this scale is found only on Oahu. The Stem Gall Wasp burrows into branches at the base of each stem making it impossible for Chinese banyans to grow new leaves; it has already invaded O‘ahu, Maui, and Hawai‘i Island.
In less than two years, these two aggressive bugs have forced the removal of dozens of banyan trees for safety reasons. Iconic banyan trees have been removed due to these pests at Moanalua Gardens, Thomas Square Park, Kapiolani Park, Washington Place, along the Ala Wai, and the International Marketplace. Chinese banyans at the National Cemetery, UH-Manoa, the Catholic Cemetery on King Street, and Ala Moana Park are infected and undergoing treatment. Despite considerable effort, arborists have yet to find effective treatments for the pests, and in some cases the treatment can be as bad as the disease.
While experts continue the search for a cure, The Outdoor Circle is working hard to plant new trees to replace the those being lost to these infestations. It is important for City and State officials, as well as private land-owners to undertake tree-planting with a determination equal to the feracity of these tree-killing bugs.
“We can’t just plant any kind of tree where these Exceptional and majestic trees once grew,” said TOC President Alexandra Avery. “We need to have the vision and commitment to plant trees now that have the same potential for greatness as the iconic trees we are now losing. This is the only way to ensure there are still Exceptional Trees in the ground for the future generations of Hawai‘i.”
TOC is pleased to report that Washington Place is already preparing to plant trees to replace the 75-year-old Chinese Banyan lost there. Replacement tree plantings and tree relocations are currently being planned for Kapiolani Park and the International Marketplace, while planting plans are being developed for Thomas Square and Ala Moana Park.
Oahu’s banyan trees under attack, many dying by Denby Fawcett, Civil Beat
Tree pest leads to removal of Waikiki Banyan Trees, KITV News
You can help!
Counter the loss of iconic and Exceptional trees on Oahu and throughout the Hawaiian Islands by becoming a member and supporting The Outdoor Circle’s “Exceptional Tree Initiative.” Click here to make a secure, online donation now. We are committed to planting as many trees with the potential to become truly “Exceptional Trees” as possible.
By Alexandra Avery
The 2014 Legislative session ended with a big win for the environment (and The Outdoor Circle): establishment of a statewide Environmental Court. This new approach to enforcing our environmental laws will facilitate future efforts of our branches and volunteers to keep Hawai’i Clean, Green, and Beautiful. I want to especially thank the members who showed up at public hearings and spoke for the Circle. This was a major accomplishment for the Circle, considering this was our first Legislative Session without our long-time lead advocate and veteran lobbyist, Bob Loy. It was not easy, but volunteers worked hard to keep up our legislative presence in his absence. We should all feel good about the achievements made during this year’s session.
I have been encouraged by our branches outreach into the communities they serve. The good stewardship of Outdoor Circle members is evident throughout the state. We are a volunteer driven group that depends on annual memberships, donations and grants to make our projects and advocacy possible. We count on you to be stewards of the land and to help further our commitment to the environment.
Please help us to expand our membership and raise donations by telling your neighbors and friends about The Outdoor Circle and the work of its nine branches throughout the state. Share this newsletter with your friends and visit our website (www.outdoorcircle.org) and facebook page (www.facebook.com/TheOutdoorCircle). Download membership forms by clicking here and help encourage new people in your neighborhood to join-up. Call us for more ways in which you can easily be a Circle ambassador or to get involved in one of our committees: 808-593-0300.
We are lucky to have so many kupuna in our Circle, since of course we are such an ‘old organization.’ All of our branches are working to mentor in the next generation of Outdoor Circle leaders. Our leadership circle is available to speak to your neighbors or organization. We will be honoring these kupuna at our Annual Meeting in August. Hope you will join us and bring a future leader.
We are pleased to initiate a new column in the Green Leaf: Under The Canopy. This is YOUR column to share news of and from our membership. The first report is from East Honolulu branch member Christiane Kau‘i Lucas. What would you like to contribute to this column? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Volunteers with the Lani-Kailua Outdoor Circle mentor female prisoners through gardening and life in the “Learning to Grow” program at the Women’s Community Correctional Center. This hydroponic vegetable and herb garden was one of many projects showcased for visitors from the World Indigenous Peoples Conference on Education (WiPC:E 2014) in May. Conference participants -- indigenous leaders in education from around the world -- were introduced to current program participants, program graduates, and LKOC volunteers who showed them how the inmates raise the nearly 1,000 heads of lettuce, herbs and other vegetables used in prison meals every week. LKOC’s “Learning to Grow” program helped usher in several other food-growing projects at the center including groves of ‘ulu (breadfruit) and mai‘a (banana), and lo‘i (taro patches).
Twice a week, every week of the year, LKOC volunteers visit WCCC bringing soil, seeds, and their know-how to support inmates in the program. Inmates learn to cultivate food crops from seed to harvest and then prepare them for fellow inmates through the culinary program.
The Learning to Grow program is supported solely by donations from individuals and the proceeds of an annual plant sale. If you would like to support LKOC’s “Learning to Grow” program, click here to make a donation through our website (before completing your transaction, add “WCCC” or “Learning to Grow” in the notes section).
Black tarps currently surround Mother Waldron Park, a registered historic landmark and a beloved urban park in downtown Honolulu. The park is undergoing renovations as part of the mitigations for the newly completed Halekauwila Place. Stanford Carr Development committed to improving the park by planting 15 new trees, including a new Royal Poinciana on the ewa-makai corner of the park, as well as repair the park’s irrigation, re-seed the grassy open area, and renovate the playcourts. Renovations are expected to take several months to complete.
The Outdoor Circle will be keeping watch over the renovations, so you can expect project updates to be posted here.
Volunteers from our five branches on O’ahu worked hard to stop the passage of Bill 69, which would have allowed billboards on the outside of city buses. Councilwoman Ann Kobayashi, chair of the Budget Committee, committed to deferring the fundraising measure for one year. The City Council passed a buget that restores key bus routes without resorting to bus billboard advertising to raise funds.
The challenge now is to identify additional sources of revenue for the City that can help to sustain basic city services (like buses and parks) without undermining the best interests of our community. Some of your suggestions for revenue sources have been proffered to the Council members in private meetings. Stay tuned as this issue continues to be discussed.
In the meantime, continue to build support for maintaining Hawaii’s ban on billboards by collecting signatures of the petition against bus billboards, talking to your Neighborhood Board and City Councilmember, and supporting The Outdoor Circle.
In case you missed it, click here to watch Andrew Pereria's story on transit trees.
Also, here is the story from The Star Advertiser regarding bus billboards.
Local woodworkers volunteered to turn trees killed by vandals into beautiful works of art, and donate the majority of proceeds to the Waimea Outdoor Circle. 20 years ago, WOC helped volunteers landscape and plant trees in the newly opened Anuenue Playground. Two years ago, vandals stripped the outer bark from seven of the trees, ultimately killing them. While WOC volunteers set to work re-planting the playground with Ohia trees, woodworkers set to turning the dead Koa trees into bowls, bracelets, and another beautiful works of art. The woodworkers have generously given 75% of all proceeds from the sale of these pieces to WOC in support of keeping this amazing community clean, green, and beautiful.
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.