TOC Programs Manager Myles Ritchie has spent several months tromping all over the state to digitize and update TOC’s landmark Exceptional Tree map. Volunteers have helped in identifying these trees for Myles to map.
Up mountains, down into valleys, through jungles and open fields, Myles has been a stalwart in identifying and mapping these wonderful trees statewide.
It is important to keep in mind, however, that while the map is a great guide for all of us who want to admire these treasures, Myles' work is much more than pins stuck on a map.
What he is doing for each of these over 700 trees is to scientifically formulate the value—the worth, the benefits—to all of us. These benefits include: financial savings, storm water runoff diversion, energy conserved, and the reduction in atmospheric carbon. Pinpointing the benefits of these trees provides a basis for each of us to realize the worth of all trees, even those that grow in our own yards.
As an example, trees offset the heat island effect by reducing the average temperature under a tree canopy by 5-10 degrees. Apply that to your yard and you realize your own trees are probably keeping your house cooler. Even if your house is air conditioned, your trees still mean less strain on the AC.
And next time you are cruising around in your air-conditioned car, consider that a tree canopy over the road reduces the surface temperature by 35 degrees. Saves tremendously on tires. And roads don’t get as beat up.
Stay tuned as we put together a video showcasing Myles' recent statewide effort.
The Outdoor Circle applauds the Honolulu City Council and Mayor Caldwell for passing the Exceptional Trees bill. From the City & County of Honolulu Press Release:
Honolulu – Mayor Caldwell today signed Bill 84 (2014), CD1 into law, amending the city’s register of exceptional trees and clarifying the powers, duties, and procedures of the Honolulu Arborist Advisory Committee.
“O‘ahu’s exceptional trees are an important part of our history and identity,” said Mayor Caldwell. “It’s our responsibility to protect them as a part of a lasting legacy to our fragile environment and to the people who live here. I’m grateful to the Outdoor Circle, Department of Parks and Recreation, Arborist Advisory Committee, owners of property where these precious trees are located, and the City Council for working together to craft this important update. Bill 84 helps keep our island home clean, green, and beautiful for generations to come.”
Bill 84 was introduced by request of the Department of Parks and Recreation and supported in testimony by the Outdoor Circle. With a 9-0 vote on May 6, 2015, the bill was unanimously adopted by City Council and sent to Mayor Caldwell for his signature.
The bill adds 36 notable trees and a grove of 8 palms to the register of exceptional trees. The newly-designated trees include: historic trees at Washington Place linked to Queen Lili`uokalani, a grove of `Ohe Makai trees at Waimea Valley, and trees at several homes listed on the National Historic Register, such as the Cooke Estate in Mānoa. The property owners are commended for their diligent work in assuring that these truly exceptional trees are preserved for future generations to enjoy.
Additional highlights of Bill 84 include:
In advance of the official start of the environmental Court on July 1, there will be a daylong symposium at the UH Law School in late June to bring lawyers and judges up-to-date on the law.
There will be speakers from India, which has a strong Environmental Court system.
As background, last year the legislature passed a bill—championed by The Outdoor Circle and its partners—that seeks to improve the efficiency of Hawaii’s court system and encourage more effective enforcement of existing environmental statutes.
The Environmental Court will hear cases related to certain public health and environmental laws on single court dockets or calendar. In each jurisdiction, these cases will be heard at the same time, by the same judge, instead of intermingled with other felony and misdemeanor cases.
“This strong move towards improved environmental protections indicates that our leaders value the important role that our unique environment plays in our economic stability,” said Alexandra Avery, president of the Outdoor Circle. She added, “Environmental Courts have been successful in other communities where a sensitive environment is key to the wealth and health of its residents.
While Hawaii is well known for its natural environment, state enforcement of environmental laws has been uneven. Chronic illegal dumping, improper harvesting of natural resources and contamination of streams and near-shore waters are common experiences in the Hawaiian islands. Establishment of the Environmental Court signals Hawaii’s renewed commitment and focus on protecting the environment.
January 28, 1917 – April 17, 2015
Member of the NSOC Branch
The brightest of smiles—the bluest of eyes—the charm and utter pleasure that she always showed when you arrived at her door. These were always such a part of Ruth Leinau that, like the Pied Piper, we wanted to be near her and listen to her stories with such an outpouring of joy. Beauty was such a part of her—the flowers she loved to arrange—and the decorations in her home were always something we looked forward to admiring.
Entertaining was a delightful event at Ruth's. "I'm just having a few good friends and family—will you join us?" Who would dare miss it? The See's candy and Harry & David gourmet nuts and warm brie and, of course, champagne.
At one time she graciously accepted the presidency of the North Shore Outdoor Circle—and what a wonderful time we had! Special lunch meetings, light refreshments at the Proud Peacock once a month, interesting guest speakers—and always well attended.
Ruth will be remembered and loved by all ages as she was just as comfortable with the younger members as she was with her peers. Ninety eight years of age was so easy for our lovely lady. She blended into the age of exceptional women, a marvelous volunteer with the charm and beauty of spirit and gentility.
In her honor donations will be accepted by the NSOC. P.O. Box 1011, Haleiwa, HI 96712.
The Waimea Outdoor Circle recently had a group of children from the Waimea Country School come and work in Ulu La`au the Waimea Nature Park. WOC volunteer members, Carol Hendricks, Chacha Kohler, Balbi Brooks and Roz Wright were on hand to help direct the energetic young helpers.
Waimea Outdoor Circle held its Annual Luncheon/Meeting on Saturday, May 16th at the Waikii Ranch Clubhouse. "Discover what you never knew about the Circle, its history and accomplishments" was the theme of the event. A delicious buffet lunch provided by Red Water Café and awards were presented to special Nature Park volunteers. Special guests talked about Hawaii’s Blue Zone and there was a short meeting with election of new officers for 2015-2016.
The search for a new Executive Director will formally get underway on Monday June 15 when the Board of Directors Executive Committee, working as the Search Committee, convenes to work out a timeline and approve the Job Description and qualifications.
It takes considerable time to go through all the steps of recruiting, screening and selecting the best candidate, so if all the steps in a tentative timeline work out as planned, a new Executive Director will be in place by September 25.
The position will be advertised locally and placed on the HANO (Hawaii Association of Non-profit Organizations) job board.
We encourage any of you who might have a likely candidate in mind to contact Alexandra Avery at 295-5495 or email@example.com.
TOC is making strides in its effort to become more active in fundraising among both individuals and companies.
A Case Statement has been approved and the next step is for our fundraising professional to visit a select list of opinion leaders to find out their perceptions of TOC in order to be able to better assess a realistic annual fund raising goal.
As a further step in this crucial process, a Development Committee is being formed to be led by a new Board of Directors member after that person is voted on at the Annual Meeting August 8.
At a recent meeting, the Nominating Committee decided to:
Our Executive Director Marti Townsend has completed her mission with TOC. Marti brought just the right expertise and malama to The Outdoor Circle when she joined the staff three years ago. Her critical eye and inclusive working style have brought us through a restructuring of operations while maintaining a range of services and support to our nine branches. Both office and operations have been streamlined to work more efficiently and within budget. Marti is a person of passion and persistence. She made it fun to develop a distinctive Development Plan, and a learning adventure to take a public stand on county, state and federal statutes, many of which she can recite by heart. We extend a Circle-wide Mahalo for all she has contributed to The Outdoor Circle.
Marti is now serving as ED for the Hawaii Chapter of The Sierra Club. We will miss her skilled competence and bright spirit as our Director and we are looking forward to her continued involvement as a member and volunteer. You can bet Marti will be one of the most quoted legal experts in future Environmental Court hearings!
The TOC Executive Committee has chosen Dave Cheever to serve as our Interim Executive Director. Dave brings years of non-profit board service and directorship to TOC. The Executive Committee will serve as the search committee to find Executive Director. We will be looking statewide. We invite you to submit names of likely candidates whom we can follow up with. We will be posting the job description and qualifications on our website and will be placing a public ad soon.
Renee Nakagawa, our Administrative Assistant and Myles Ritchie, our Projects Manager continue to serve the canopy of branches from the office and the field. Myles is finishing the statewide mapping of the Hawaii collection of Exceptional Trees. The phone app for discovering Hawai`i's Exceptional Trees will be available soon. The branches have been helpful in this tree mapping project, and with Myles' scientific scrutiny, we have learned so much more about the trees that protect us.
As we transition into second century of environmental stewardship, our Branches are ever busy with projects reflecting their community needs. You’ll learn more about the value of our Branch influence in this issue. Your membership renewals help to further the Branch beautification efforts. Thank you for your ongoing support of the branch work which in turn supports the overall health of our protective canopy.
The TOC Board, with the help of Sanae Tokumura of Solid Concepts, have just completed an ambitious Development Plan. Now the exciting part will be to match funds with our projects! I hope this issue inspires you to up your commitment to the work we do. Your Kokua makes our work possible.
The Lani-Kailua Branch Annual meeting, held at Ho'omaluhia Botanical Gardens, was highlighted by a talk on the historical significance of hibiscus in Hawaii. The featured speaker was Jill Coryell, the "Hibiscus Lady," who has devoted the last few decades to researching and continuing the hybridization of native hibiscus in Hawaii, since early in the last century. Her fascinating, informative, and entertaining lecture gave us all a unique perspective on the hibiscus, incidentally depicted in our original Outdoor Circle logo, and how most hybrid hibiscus everywhere are descendants of the Native Hawaiian hibiscus. Note also that the Hawaiian native white hibiscus is the only one in the the world with fragrance, and is the ancestor of all hybrid hibiscus with fragrance! Jill demonstrated how we could hybridize our own hibiscus in our own back yards, for color, fragrance and other features, and brought numerous examples of her unique specimens.
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.