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
A Message from The Outdoor Circle President
Due to the continuing pandemic, the past year has been full of continuing challenges, not just for The Outdoor Circle, but for all of us collectively. I am pleased to report that, even with these challenges, The Outdoor Circle was able to maintain its ability to be proactive in many areas.
The Development Committee continued its efforts toward effective financial stability for the organization and how we can best meet our needs. We recently undertook a membership survey and marketing study with the aim of better meeting member needs and expectations. We hope some of the results will be an increased public awareness of The Outdoor Circle, growth in our membership, and offer more ways for community participation and involvement in the stewardship of our islands.
Much of our work this year was, as it often is, “behind the scenes” pushing for protection or promotion of green spaces and quality of life issues. This involved testifying to ban noisy and polluting leaf blowers, working with the counties to staff and constitute their Arborist Advisory Committees, and working with the Board of Water Supply to repair damage to Diamond Head and prevent it from being marred with garish fencing. We also testified against zoning variances, opposition to encroachments on setbacks, and exceeding maximum building areas, all of which impact the character of our neighborhoods. We worked with city and state agencies to oppose and prevent unnecessary removal of trees in houseless encampments, pressing for community clean up events and reclaiming parks for public usage.
As The Outdoor Circle was instrumental in enacting the strict statewide signage laws that banned the billboard, this effort continued in revisions made to our policy positions to include murals that are increasingly becoming a part of our visual landscape. We will see more work in this area to come, as the challenges to our visual landscape are never-ending.
We remain forever dedicated to trees, not just for all the environmental benefits they provide, but for the many ways they beautify our streets, our parks, as well as our own backyards. The relationship we have nurtured with the Arbor Day Foundation enabled us to do another substantial tree planting at Camp Palehua, hold another hugely successful tree giveaway in Hilo with the East Hawai‘i Branch, and allowed us to maintain trees we planted at Windward Community College in 2019, which are now thriving.
Our branches kept up safety precautions during the pandemic while continuing their beautification projects and advocating for preservation of areas across the state as we continued to work with them to ensure that activities were safe for all those participating.
I am grateful and appreciative of the work of The Outdoor Board of Directors and our dedicated staff: Winston Welch, Executive Director; Jackie Wah, Operations Director; and Myles Ritchie, Programs Director. Together we maneuvered through a year of starts and stops, which was felt acutely as we mourned the loss of one of our trusted Board members, Jennie Peterson, who will be especially missed for her kindness and grace.
I want to thank all our members and donors who helped sustain us this past year. You are an important part of our organization and your support has helped our Circle to expand and grow.
Scott R. Wilson
President, The Outdoor Circle
In July 2020, a mural artist painted a bold message on the side of a 16-story building in Honolulu to make a statement about the importance of voting. Immediately people started calling The Outdoor Circle wanting to know how such a billboard could be allowed in Hawai‘i where The Outdoor Circle worked to ban billboards over a hundred years ago!
As a result of this incident the Public Affairs Committee and TOC staff went to work researching and advocating for definitions, limitations and standards to make sure that outdoor murals enhance the built environment while protecting Hawai‘i’s natural beauty and scenic view planes.
Upon hearing our concerns, the artist kindly agreed to remove the mural in question for now. However, several additional large murals have been proposed or installed on public and private property within the last year highlighting the need for a policy framework to protect the scenic landscape from being overwhelmed with visual clutter the way many cities are overwhelmed with signs and billboards competing for public attention.
TOC’s Board has amended our Public Policy Positions to add our support for limits on the placement and number of outdoor murals to ensure that individually and collectively they aesthetically enhance the built environment while protecting Hawai‘i’s natural beauty, scenic view planes and urban view corridors. Additionally, TOC advocates for protecting the tranquility and natural beauty of public parks and recreational areas.
Kathy Whitmire, Treasurer, The Outdoor Circle
On November 20 and 21, 2021, The Outdoor Circle returned to Camp Palehua to partner with Malama Learning Center and planted over 900 native trees. The event was funded by the Arbor Day Foundation and FedEx and saw 14 species planted on two sites located on the property. The tree planting acted as an educational learning center for elementary and high school students.
This restoration project saw 905 native Hawaiian plants (301 trees, 253 shrubs and 351 ground cover) go into the ground and were selected based on the complementary and symbiotic functions they have with one another. While our original total was intended to be 250-300 plants, we were able to surpass this amount by nearly three times due to the hard work of all those involved and that the plants themselves were grown on site, rather than being purchased by a third party as was originally anticipated.
Additionally, the event featured immersive education sessions where each group of participants learned about each of the native species being planted, why they were selected and how they will improve the former pasture land they were being planted on. The education component went beyond botanical and environmental concepts to include the invaluable cultural benefits these species provide and how these future native forests will restore the ‘aina.
This was one of the first planting events conducted since the COVID outbreak began which forced volunteer events to halt. There were groups of up to four volunteers (usually from the same household) in two-hour sessions that amounted to over 40 volunteers planting at the site over the two-day span.
Volunteers indicated their joy at being able to not only enjoy nature once again, but also participate in this educational restoration event that met all County and State COVID requirements.
Without the support of the Arbor Day Foundation and FedEx this extremely successful event would not have been possible and we are extremely grateful for their support.
Myles Ritchie, Programs Director, The Outdoor Circle
Wailoa State Park Beautification Project
The East Hawaii Branch held a planting event on March 6, 2021, Wailoa State Park in Hilo, to replant an area that had two beautiful healthy monkey pods cut down by the state because of complaints from the community.
We partnered with the JROTC from Hilo High School and were able to put in 2 golden trumpet trees, 10 brunfelsia, and 36 mock orange. Once they become established, there will be beautiful purple, yellow and white blossoms for everyone to enjoy.
The 22 high school students and their Sergeant Ryan Taniguchi, who was quite enthusiastic because it was a good educational event for the students, are interested in doing another event, perhaps with students from the athletic department.
We gained 3 new members that day and a mention in the Hawaii Tribune-Herald. And the ducks supervised!
Joan Gossett, Secretary, East Hawaii Branch
For more information on the East Hawaii Outdoor Circle, visit their website at East Hawaii Outdoor Circle.
East Hawaii Outdoor Circle Tree Giveaway
On October 24, 2020, the East Hawaii Outdoor Circle conducted a follow-up tree giveaway with funds procured by The Outdoor Circle Statewide organization. The event provided trees to residents of the East Hawai‘i community as a direct response to the natural disasters 2018, while also beginning to address the widespread food insecurity caused by COVID. By giving away over 655 trees consisting of 14 desirable fruit and native species, the community will now be able to help replant following the volcanic eruption, hurricanes and flooding that took place three years ago, which has produced negative impacts that continue to linger to this day and have been exacerbated by COVID. These trees will be able to help mitigate future natural disaster impacts, especially when flooding occurs and begin to provide food security for residents of Hawai‘i Island who received these trees.
This event also allowed us to reach-out to numerous demographics in the community to let them know about the wonderful work The Outdoor Circle is currently undertaking, as well as that of the Arbor Day Foundation and International Paper who sponsored the event. A third iteration of the event is scheduled for November 2021, and will once again be supported by the two aforementioned entities.
Myles Ritchie, Programs Director, The Outdoor Circle
LKOC Beautification & Educational Outreach Projects Continue During the Pandemic
Pali Palms Triangle
Landscaping is a dynamic entity, and sometimes designs must change over time to meet the needs and challenges of the environment. The Pali Palms Triangle on the corner of North Kalaheo Avenue and Mokapu Road is a good example. That plot goes from full shade to extreme sun and is exposed to car exhaust due to its location on a busy thoroughfare. The Pali Palms Triangle landscaping was originally designed and installed by the Lani-Kailua Outdoor Circle (LKOC) in 2011 to beautify this barren traffic triangle. Hele Mai Lawn & Garden has been maintaining the landscaping and irrigation for LKOC since then. LKOC is committed to making sure their projects continue to be sustainable and beautiful. In August 2020, over one hundred new bromeliads of three varieties were donated by our members and planted by Hele Mai in the triangle. Hele Mai also donated the mulch that they added in the planter beds to help the landscaping retain moisture. LKOC is happy to report that the drought tolerant bromeliads have been flourishing!
Alala Point 2020
Alala Point is the highest point at the entrance to Lanikai. In July 2019, LKOC completed a landscape refurbishment project in the upper parking lot across the street from the stone pillar overlooking Kailua bay. New lawn and wax ficus hedges were installed. The Community Service Workline (CSW) from the Women’s Community Correctional Center (WCCC) had been continuing its long-standing maintenance of the entire Alala Point area under LKOC auspices. Then with the arrival of the pandemic, WCCC was forced into a lockdown, and the new landscaping at Alala Point suffered. In the interim, a small group of LKOC volunteers and community members kept the area weeded and mowed. A spraying of the invasive grasses by our contractor, Steve Dewald, was also extremely helpful, and as a result, the new wax ficus hedge and lawn continued to do very well. In November 2020, the CSW women were back on line, and the area is once again beautifully maintained.
Oneawa Street Tree Project
Newly Planted Silver Trumpet Trees
The Oneawa Street Tree Project is LKOC’s latest beautification venture. In mid-August 2020, at LKOC’s behest, a city crew installed eight new white Tecoma and silver buttonwood trees along Oneawa between Kawainui Street and Kuulei Road to replace those that had been removed over the past twenty years due to age and deterioration. Each tree was fertilized, mulched, staked, and a water bag was installed. Thanks to Island Landscaping and Maintenance who did the installation for the city. Now we can all look forward to a nice bower of trees along the street.
Learning to Grow
Goats in the Garden
During the pandemic, LKOC’s “Learning to Grow” (LTG) students at the Women’s Community Correctional Center were still able to produce hydroponic lettuce crops for sale at Foodland stores on Oahu, even though the facility was in lockdown for eight months, and our volunteers were unable to enter. This is a wonderful testament to the outstanding job the dedicated LKOC volunteers have done over the years in providing training and expertise to these students who maintain LKOC’s garden nursery on the prison grounds. The students have handled the whole planting cycle from seed to harvest, and LKOC volunteers have continued to deliver the boxes of lettuce to Foodland.
In addition, the LTG students continued to grow vegetables for the prison cafeteria, as well as nurture and care for a small herd of four goats in LKOC’s “Goats in the Garden” program.
LKOC also owes a debt of gratitude to the prison staff for supporting the LTG program and the garden nursery in their absence. In November 2020, LKOC volunteers were once again allowed access to the facility on a limited basis, and they look forward to enhancing the program once pandemic restrictions are fully lifted.
Kalama Beach Park Clean-Up
Before and After Photos of Kalama Beach Park Green-Debris Cleanup
Despite the pandemic, LKOC continued its landscape cleanups on the grounds of Kalama Beach Park (the iconic Boettcher Estate) in Kailua, which it performs through the city’s Adopt-a-Park (Hoa Paka) program. In February, 2021, Pali Lions Club volunteers provided us with a workforce to tackle the removal of invasive elephant grass, as well as the removal of a large green-debris pile that had collected over time. Four truckloads of green waste were hauled away. More cleanups are scheduled for late Spring.
Diane Harding, President, Lani-Kailua Branch
For more information on LKOC, visit their website at Lani-Kailua Outdoor Circle.
Rendering of UH Atherton Redevelopment Project
In the Tao Te Ching, Lao Tzu gently guides, “Whatever is flexible and flowing will tend to grow; whatever is rigid and blocked will wither and die.” Seemingly inspired by the ancient Chinese wisdom, the Mānoa Branch of The Outdoor Circle had to make strategic changes as Honolulu went back into a lockdown and “safer at home” orders. Wishing they could revel in the success of the 1,000 Tree Giveaway in July 2020, and saddened that the invasive vegetation removal days at Kamānele Park had to be canceled, the Mānoa board members voted to focus attention on other meaningful projects that would benefit the community.
Over the course of many months, the Mānoa Branch collaborated with the consultants of the UH Atherton redevelopment project, Lori Lum of Watanabe Ing and Mike Lam of Hunt Companies, reviewing the landscaping plans. Via Zoom meetings, the board members, as well as the TOC Executive Director Winston Welch and Operations Director Jackie Wah, offered numerous suggestions for improvement. The consulting team genuinely listened and incorporated the necessary changes in the plan revisions. It was a positive experience to be involved with the planning process, and the Mānoa Branch is very excited to see the project completed in the next couple of years.
Another significant pandemic pivot for the Mānoa Branch has been partnering virtually with nine other local nonprofit community organizations to form a coalition called the “Mānoa Stakeholders.” The powerhouse group includes Be Ready Mānoa, Mānoa Chinese Cemetery, Mānoa Heritage Center, Mānoa Japanese Language School, Mānoa Lions Club, Mālama Mānoa, Mānoa Neighborhood Board, Mānoa Valley Church and Mānoa Valley Theater.
With the ambitious goal of community synergy, the first project was working together on a comprehensive community needs assessment survey. Faith Rex of SMS Consulting is facilitating the group to ensure the proper methodology of the confidential online survey, and the data was collected in aggregate for the various organizations to use the information in their strategic planning to better serve the community. The Mānoa board members are interested in the answers to their important environmental-minded questions since the results will shape their post-pandemic decision making.
Vanessa Distajo, Vice President, Manoa Branch
Kamānele Park Clean-Up
Thank you to our Secretary, Jackie Osumi, and her boyfriend, Jeren Nishimoto, for joining me to volunteer at Kamānele Park on July 24, 2021. We had fourteen volunteers, including an archaeologist from OASES, participate in the invasive vegetation removal at the heiau site. It was an ideal, collaborative service project because we had volunteers representing various organizations including Mānoa Outdoor Circle, Mālama Mānoa, Blue Zones Project 4M, and the Army National Guard. Council Member Calvin Say and the City officials in charge of the Adopt-a-Park Program even came out to join us for a while.
In two hours, we filled 25 bags of green waste, each weighing about 20 pounds. Also, we were able to stack up a large number of dead branches that we had found on the ground throughout the site. It was a very productive day! Imua!
Mahalo nui loa for your support!
Kānewai Community Park Clean-Up
Fourteen people of all ages volunteered at Kānewai Community Park on August 21, 2021, to pick up litter. Special thanks to everyone who helped, including our Mānoa Outdoor Circle board members Jackie Osumi and Gerry Ralston. I really appreciate them making time on a Saturday morning to join me at the park clean up.
Vanessa Distajo, Vice President, Manoa Branch
For more information about the Manoa Outdoor Circle, please check their website at: Manoa Outdoor Circle.
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.