A Message from Our Executive Director
As we celebrate the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday, we are reminded of what touches our hearts—loved ones, friendships, treasured memories of past events, the daily aloha we share with others, and the beauty we are so blessed to be surrounded by here in Hawai‘i.
The enduring strength of The Outdoor Circle is due to its incredible volunteer leaders at the state and branch level who do so much to carry on the vital mission of this storied institution. I offer my sincerest thanks for the enormous support they provide our small staff of three.
In December, we are delighted to celebrate the six-year anniversary of Jackie Wah coming on board as Operations Director. She keeps everything running smoothly and deserves much praise for her talent, dedication and the many gifts she brings to The Outdoor Circle. Myles Ritchie continues to shine brightly as Programs Director while he continues to advance professionally, nearly halfway through his PhD program at the University of Hawai‘I at Manoa. We can expect many good things from him in the decades to come.
By now, some of you may have received a letter for Planned Giving that asks you to include The Outdoor Circle in your gift planning. These bequests have sustained us throughout the decades and are vital for the health of the organization. We know the mission and work of The Outdoor Circle has been important to you, and this is a wonderful way to honor that through a legacy gift bequest that will truly live beyond your years.
As we begin our 110th year in 2022, we can share in the knowledge that we are an important link in the threads that bind us into the beautiful tapestry that is The Outdoor Circle and its branches across the state. Thank you for being a part of and for supporting the enduring mission and vision of our founders.
Warm aloha and mahalo,
Executive Director, The Outdoor Circle
We were deeply saddened to say a hui hou to Jennie Martinez Peterson, who served as a member of The Outdoor Circle Board of Directors, and was a member of the Manoa Outdoor Circle. Jennie passed away in August, shortly after suffering a stroke.
Filled with a joy for life, Jennie possessed a brilliant smile and gorgeous laugh that filled the room. She was always interested and interesting, enlightened and engaged, generously giving of her time and energy to people, organizations and causes.
Her passion about the protection and promotion of nature in Hawai‘i, as well as her devotion to protecting the environment in general, was seen in her many years as an anthropologist and then as Environmental Education Program Manager, Curriculum Specialist, and Natural Historian at the Hawai‘i Nature Center. During her long career at HNC, Jennie, an enthusiastic educator, was able to reach tens of thousands of Hawai‘i’s students during their visits to the center. Her role as an educator, to those of all ages, as well as her warmth and kindness, will be greatly missed and her legacy will live on in all those she touched during her life.
Jennie was serving as Chair of The Outdoor Circle’s Education Committee at the time of her passing and was working on an article about the 40th Anniversary of the founding of the Hawai‘i Nature Center, whose creation was spearheaded by The Outdoor Circle. She held deep institutional memory of both organizations and was always eager to shared information about our collective history. Her love of history extended to being the "unofficial historian" of Tantalus, as well as being deeply knowledgeable about Hawaiian natural and environmental history.
As a tribute to Jennie, please be sure to read her final article on the shared history of The Outdoor Circle and the Hawai‘i Nature Center as both organizations were important to her and were emblematic of her love and respect of the environment.
Executive Director, The Outdoor Circle
Jennie Martinez Peterson was working on this article when
she passed away suddenly in August (see "A Hui Hou” article).
Did you know The Outdoor Circle helped start the Hawai‘i Nature Center?
The Outdoor Circle was instrumental in starting The Hawai‘i Nature Center, which celebrated its 40th anniversary in June 2021. Since its inception, the center, nestled next to the stream in Makiki Valley, has been serving Hawai‘i’s school children and the community, giving visitors access to over 20 miles of Tantalus trails.
In 1972, The Outdoor Circle’s Parks Committee, chaired by Margaret Kidwell, submitted a proposal to the Department of Land and Natural Resources Division of State Parks for an environmental education center in Makiki Valley. Margaret Smith Young, an active, long-time Tantalus resident and Outdoor Circle member, was asked by the Makiki Community Association to chair a committee to begin a plan for the valley. She went on to become the primary founder of the new education center.
When federal funds became available for a “people’s park” in 1970, under the Bureau of Outdoor Recreation, the Hawai‘i State legislature set aside matching funds, and 2,000 acres were designated as the Makiki–Tantalus State Recreation Area. The nearby communities of Makiki and Kewalo met federal requirements that the park and new trails be located near densely populated areas.
Led by Margaret Smith Young’s efforts, it took 9 more years of TOC, community and government planning before the nature center was realized. Heated discussions ensued in the effort to juggle the interests of valley residents and state and government officials including the Department of Land and Natural Resources-Urban Forestry, DLNR State Parks, Makiki Nursery, and Hawaiian residents living in Maunalaha, a sub-valley of Makiki.
In June of 1981, the Makiki Environmental Education Center began in a corrugated iron warehouse which it shared with the DLNR State Parks. Faith Roelofs, a University of Hawai‘i botany graduate student was the first Director.
In 1986, the name was changed to the Hawai‘i Nature Center (HNC). In order to reach as many students as possible, outreach field sites were developed at Westloch Shoreline Park, Pu‘u ‘Ualaka‘a State Park, Waimanalo Beach Park, and in 1991, a center was opened in ‘Iao Valley on Maui.
After nearly 40 years of dedication by volunteers, staff, board members and funders, HNC has achieved maturity, receiving local and national recognition for its efforts. From the 2,000 students served the first year, over a million children and adults have been benefitted from the Hawai‘i Nature Center’s hands-on, place-based, environmental education programs. The dream lives on!
Compiled from Notes by Jennie Martinez Peterson, Former Outdoor Circle Board Member & Former Environmental Education Program Manager, Curriculum Specialist, and Natural Historian at the Hawai‘i Nature Center
The Outdoor Circle (Statewide) acquired funding from the Arbor Day Foundation for the third iteration of the East Hawaii Branch’s annual tree giveaway event held on November 6, 2021. The giveaway provided free fruit/food trees to residents of the East Hawai‘i community. While this event started in 2019 as a response to the volcanic eruption, hurricanes and floods that took place in 2018, the event has evolved to also include a food security focus, in addition to planting trees in the areas that saw impacts from these natural disasters.
This year’s event was held on Hawai‘i’s Arbor Day so it was fitting that the Arbor Day Foundation supported it for the third straight year, with financial sponsorship by International Paper for the second time.
510 trees were given away consisting of 15 species of fruit/food trees (see species list below) obtained from Plant It Hawaii and AAO Farms, both of which provided large and vibrant trees as they have during the preceding two giveaway events. Residents from over 27 East Hawai‘i communities received trees from this event (tree distribution map) and the feedback was overwhelmingly positive of the new online reservation system with time slots to manage traffic congestion.
Going forward, The Outdoor Circle and the East Hawaii Branch are already planning on putting on a 4th iteration of the tree giveaway and are looking forward to working with the Arbor Day Foundation, International Paper and new local sponsors to make this event even larger, which will see more local residents receive fruit/food trees which will continue to help improve food security on Hawai‘i Island.
A big mahalo once again goes out to the Arbor Day Foundation, International Paper, the East Hawaii Outdoor Circle Tree Giveaway Team, The Outdoor Circle office staff and all volunteers who helped make this event the most successful yet!
To learn more about this event, or if you know someone who would like to be a potential sponsor of next year’s giveaway, please reach out to The Outdoor Circle’s Programs Director, Myles Ritchie (email@example.com), to discuss collaboration possibilities.
“Giving Beyond Your Years” Planned Giving Opportunities & Sample Bequest Example Language
As you know, your planned legacy gifts are a key to the continued sustainability of The Outdoor Circle and allows you to bless the community now and in perpetuity by allowing our mission to continue. Gifts may be made in any amount, large or small and all are sincerely appreciated.
Many options exist for you, including simple bequests of a specific asset or percentage of your estate, IRA distributions and transfers, naming The Outdoor Circle as a named beneficiary of your retirement fund or life insurance policy, or gifts of stocks and mutual funds you may hold.
Below we highlight just one of some simple ways to include Bequest Language for your Wills and Trusts. We encourage you to consult with your financial advisor for the best ways to make an annual or planned giving legacy gift to The Outdoor Circle that are specific to your circumstances.
Sample Bequest Language for Wills and Trusts
You can simply leave a gift outright to The Outdoor Circle or you may state how you would like your gift to be used. For example, you may:
· Designate “wherever the need is greatest” so that The Outdoor Circle can best decide to how to best utilize your gift to fulfill our mission. This is the most flexible and best option for the organization.
· Direct your gift to one of our programs such as “Christine Snyder Education and Tree Fund.”
· Direct your gift to our Annual Fund or our Endowment Fund.
I give to The Outdoor Circle, a 501(c)3 non-profit, FEIN 99-0085044, located in Honolulu, Hawaii the sum of $_________ to be used wherever the need is greatest.
I give to The Outdoor Circle, a 501(c)3 non-profit, FEIN 99-0085044, located in Honolulu, Hawaii the following described property [insert description of asset] to be used wherever the need is greatest.
I give to The Outdoor Circle, a 501(c)3 non-profit, FEIN 99-0085044, located in Honolulu, Hawaii, all of my right, title, and interest in the following described real property [insert legal description of property] to be used wherever the need is greatest.
Portion of the estate:
I give to The Outdoor Circle, a 501(c)3 non-profit, FEIN 99-0085044, located in Honolulu, Hawaii, _______% of my estate to be used wherever the need is greatest.
Residual estate (after other bequests or designations are named):
I give to The Outdoor Circle, a 501(c)3 non-profit, FEIN is 99-0085044, located in Honolulu, Hawaii, the rest and residue of my estate to be used wherever the need is greatest.
Portion of Residual estate (after other bequests or designations are named):
I give to The Outdoor Circle, a 501(c)3 non-profit, FEIN is 99-0085044, located in Honolulu, Hawaii, _______% of the rest and residue of my estate to be used wherever the need is greatest.
More information is available on our website at www.outdoorcircle.org or by contacting our office.
Mahalo for including The Outdoor Circle in your current and planned giving. Your philanthropic support sustains our extraordinary legacy and vision of protecting Hawaii’s unique beauty for generations to come.
Kamānele Park Clean-Up
It was another successful Kamānele Park clean-up! On November 6, 2021, 40 volunteers cleared the invasive vegetation from the heiau site. The volunteers included five of our Mānoa Outdoor Circle board members (Jackie Osumi, Allison Fisher, Noah Lum, George Herbst, and Vanessa Distajo), Mālama Mānoa Directors, UH Wellness Warriors, the UH Wahine Beach Volleyball team, two archaeologists, and two City staffers from DPR. The City permitted us to work in two separate groups, which helped us to clear a larger area. We ended up with 81 bags of green waste, 1 bag of rubbish, and a large pile of fallen branches.
The University of Hawai‘i News posted an article about the two students groups, UH Wellness Warriors and the UH Wahine Beach Volleyball team, who volunteered their time and energy to the day:
Students Connect with Community Through Heiau Clean Up
Mahalo for your support of the Kamānele Park Project!
Vanessa Distajo, Vice President, Manoa Branch
For more information about the Manoa Outdoor Circle, please check their website at: Manoa Outdoor Circle.
Waimea Valley Work Day
A few years ago, Melani Spielman, who is the Volunteer Coordinator for Waimea Valley, spoke at one of our North Shore Outdoor Circle General Membership Meetings. She told about the valley needing help keeping the many botanical areas healthy and looking good. It is a massive job. The valley is almost a mile in length, and is home to over 5,000 documented types of tropical and subtropical plants including some native Hawaiian plants and globally endangered species that are found nowhere else on earth. In other words, too much for a small modestly paid staff to care for. She was looking for help. Keeping the North Shore clean, green, and beautiful is just what we do, so the NSOC signed up to adopt a garden in the valley. We adopted the Torch Ginger Alley, and we have been heading up there every last Monday of the month. (Of course, we were unable to help out last year, when the valley was closed for the pandemic.)
We arrive at 8:00 am, walk up to the garden with Melani, grab some gloves, and some garden tools and get to work pruning, dead-heading, raking, and weeding. In other words, we give the area some love. We also have the opportunity to get to know our neighbors. Shared physical activity, while helping your community, is a good way to get to know people!
Then at about 10:00 am, we put the tools away, congratulate each other on a job well done, and go about our day. Some of us (the lucky ones) walk up to the falls and jump in for a cooling swim, followed by lunch at the Wahi Aina Grill. All in all, it is a very rewarding time, for Waimea Valley, for the Torch Ginger Alley, but, perhaps most of all, for those of us who have the opportunity to give back to a magical place that has given us so much beauty.
Whether you are a member or not, please consider joining us. Many hands make light work. Our next workday is scheduled on Monday, November 29, 2021. If you are interested please contact our Events Coordinator, Kerry Germain at firstname.lastname@example.org. More information on the valley can be found here: Waimea Valley.
Vera Stone, President, North Shore Branch
For more information about the North Shore Outdoor Circle, please check their website at: North Shore Outdoor Circle.
Ulu La‘au the Waimea Nature Park
Ulu La‘au the Waimea Nature Park is Waimea Outdoor Circle’s most ambitious project to date. Our mission is to provide a peaceful, accessible native park, which cultivates life-long stewardship of the ‘aina, the earth, for the enrichment of the community and all who visit.
Though it now seems quiet and serene, this project has been an enormous undertaking. It was developed entirely with donations from the community, along with thousands of hours of work by volunteers. It continues to be maintained solely by volunteers, donations and grants. Currently on site is a long-planned education center completed and dedicated in 2016. Native plants continue to be introduced and different methods of stabilizing the stream banks have been successfully implemented with the help of the University of Hawai‘i in 2018. A new professional greenhouse was completed in 2020, which is used primarily to propagate native plants for the park, the community and for education purposes. Storage containers house tools and equipment for park maintenance and there are a number of memorial trees dedicated to extraordinary individuals who have given tirelessly to the Waimea Outdoor Circle.
Volunteers are welcome. We hold regular work days every Saturday starting at 9:00 am. No knowledge of Hawaiian plants is necessary, we will happily train and offer you a tour of the Park. At noon we adjourn to a picnic area where we gather in a large circle to enjoy homemade cookies, fruit and talk story.
Email us at: email@example.com or call (808) 443-4482 for our Saturday workday schedules, events and more information. Volunteering at Ulu La`au is a great way to learn about native plants!!
Thank you for supporting Waimea Outdoor Circle and Ulu La‘au the Waimea Nature Park!
Cheryl Langton, President, Waimea Branch
For more information about the Waimea Outdoor Circle, please check their website at: Waimea Outdoor Circle.
Climate change means a kind of climate confusion here in Hawai‘i. Drought is a constant threat, though our former dry seasons are often very wet. Tropical rainstorms can become flash floods and hurricane season seems longer and more threatening. Despite of all these issues, we want to continue to grow beautiful, healthy plants. This leads us to seek ones that have proven hearty in adverse conditions. One of these is the moringa tree. This drought tolerant plant can grow into an attractive shape with pretty flowers as well as leaves and seedpods that have many uses.
Moringa oleifera is in the Moringaceae family. These trees have been grown throughout the tropics, for millennia, but are likely native to dry areas of India and Pakistan. Moringas are known by many different common names around the globe based primarily on their principle use in that region. In some countries, the roots of the Moringa are harvested and used in place of horseradish, thus the name horseradish tree. The size and shape of the moringa’s seedpod gives it the common name drumstick tree in other countries. Another common name is the ben oil tree named for the high-quality oil that some cultures extract from the seeds. This oil is comparable to olive oil in flavor and properties, but has been used historically to lubricate watches and clocks.
Dr. William Hillebrand planted the first moringa in Hawai‘i around 1860 on his property in Honolulu. Though his land later became Foster Botanical Garden, seeds from his tree did not survive. About fifty years later Jose Magpoing brought seeds to Hawai‘i from his favorite moringa tree in the Philippines. The trees from his seeds are the parents of most of the moringa trees growing in Hawai‘i today.
Moringa trees are most often grown for their edible leaves, pods and seeds but are also attractive and useful plants for a small landscape. The trees have a lovely slender form with drooping branches and small compound dark green leaves. Their delicate foliage provides a textured accent and light shade.
Moringa trees also produce clusters of slightly fragrant, small, cream colored flowers year-round. The flowers are followed by long, ribbed green seedpods. The young pods are often prepared like string beans and used in stews, soups and curries. If left on the tree they can grow up to twenty inches long as they mature and turn brown.
The trees rarely grow over thirty feet tall, but they are easy to prune to keep them small and encourage new leaf and pod production. They are also often pruned to harvest leaves or pods for consumption. Beyond pruning, moringa requires little care, as few pests are attracted to this tree. Insects or diseases that do occur can be easily treated with oils and soaps or sulfur.
New moringas can be grown from either seeds or cuttings. Harvest seeds from mature dry pods, place them in a potting mix that drains well but maintains moisture. Seeds will usually germinate within two weeks and grow rapidly. For cutting success, choose plant stems that are between ten inches and three feet long. Dip the bottom of the stems in a rooting hormone and place them in a media that you can keep moist until they produce a root system and new leaves appear.
Once new leaves begin to grow, your seedlings or cuttings can be planted out, preferably into a hot, sunny location with soil that drains well. Moringa trees grow best at locations below 1000 feet in elevation and away from salt spray or strong winds that can break their brittle branches. Moringa trees grown from seed will have a long taproot and are more wind resistant. To use them as windbreaks or living fence posts, it is best to maintain the tree at four feet tall or less thus encouraging strong lateral growth.
Moringa leaves and pods provide nutritious food in many cultures. The leaves contain 20 to 35 % protein as well as ample amounts of essential amino acids, vitamins A and C as well as calcium and potassium. You can buy the dried leaves at many health food stores or you can harvest and eat those you grow. Local homeowners often grow several moringa trees to provide an adequate supply of nutritious food. Some simply put the fresh leaves in smoothies or salads. In many cultures, the leaves are used in a variety of dishes either fresh or dried. Recipes including those for the young pods are available online especially from the cuisines of India, Thailand and the Philippines. In Malaysia, the seeds are roasted and eaten like peanuts.
The National Institute of Health noticed the many favorable characteristics of moringa when in 2008 they named moringa the Plant of the Year. They declared, “Moringa has the potential to help reverse multiple major environmental problems and provide for many unmet human needs.”
Many of the uses of moringa including information on the ben oil that can be pressed from its seeds are available in the book edited by Craig Elevitch Specialty Crops for Pacific Islands. The 12-page chapter on moringa by the University of Hawai‘i’s Dr. Ted Radovich is very informative and is available as a pdf at www.moringainhawaii.org/background-information-about-moringa. In the article, Radovich compares ben oil to olive oil in taste. He also recommends seeking ways to press the oil for local use. The seed cake that results from pressing can be used as a fertilizer.
In some countries, Moringa leaves are added to animal feed, substituting for up to 45% of the feed. Moringa bark contains useful fiber for making mats, paper or cordage and the can be used to make a blue dye. Moringa also has medicinal qualities. For example, the seeds contain a natural antibiotic and moringa extracts have both antifungal and anti-bacterial qualities. That’s just the beginning of the story.
Several local nurseries carry moringa trees and moringa seeds and other products are widely available online and at local health food stores.
Whether you want to plant a small tree with many uses or are simply seeking an interesting and attractive specimen plant, you may choose to grow a moringa tree on your property. You will likely be happy with your choice.
Diana Duff, Plant Adviser, Educator, and Consultant; Lives in Manoa Valley
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.