The 2015 Full Circle and Annual Meeting was consolidated into one full-day event which took place on August 8, 2015 at Honey's Restaurant at the Ko'olau Golf Club. For those who missed it, the following is a report on the programs and discussions that took place.
The Lani-Kailua Outdoor Circle participated in the Kailua Fourth of July Parade, with a float depicting their lettuce growing program at WCCC. Volunteer marchers, along with Mr. Mynah and Auntie Litter, passed out 1,000 packets of Manoa Lettuce seeds, with planting instructions, along the parade route. LKOC hopes to motivate people to grow their own lettuce and other vegetables. The seed packets were assembled by the volunteers at the Women’s Community Correctional Center who are in the “Learning to Grow Program” there, a project of LKOC.
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 23rd annual “I Love Kailua” Town Party was held April 26 in downtown Kailua. This street fair, put on by the Lani-Kailua Branch of the Outdoor Circle, celebrates the diversity of Kailua, with local crafters and artists, food vendors and plant sales, souvenir t-shirt sales and live local music, and a variety of activities for the whole family to enjoy. This year, thanks to our wonderful sponsors, an enthusiastic crowd, and the hundreds of dedicated LKOC volunteers who make this happen, it was a great success!
by Myles Ritchie, Graduate Intern
Natural, beautiful and majestic: these are the characteristics defining the many varieties of Exceptional Trees throughout Hawai`i. From koa to monkeypod, this state is fortunate to have trees that are not only aesthetically pleasing, but extremely beneficial to society.
Knowing the location and physical characteristics of the various exceptional trees across the state is crucial to documenting and understanding the benefits of protecting our urban trees. In response to this need, The Outdoor Circle has begun a statewide Exceptional Tree Mapping (ETM) project which aims to do just this with the hopes of maintaining and increasing the beauty of Hawaii.
Benefits of Exceptional Trees
In an ever-increasing urbanized environment, the need for trees (especially exceptional ones), has never been more apparent. In such urban areas, trees can help offset the heat island effect by reducing the average air temperature under a tree’s canopy by 5-10°F and the surface temperature of a paved road by 35°F. Furthermore, these trees are able to not only remove increasing levels of carbon dioxide from our atmosphere and replace it with oxygen, but also other harmful pollutants such as: carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide and sulfur dioxide. Trees are also able to prevent stormwater runoff, which is a significant vector for pollutants in streams and nearshore waters. Reducing stormwater runoff occurs as a result of the increase in available permeable surfaces that trees provide when compared to alternatives such as paved roads. The roots of trees also hold valuable topsoil in place, which is essential to the tree’s survival, along with the ability to facilitate future growth of vegetation in the area.
Aside from the benefits trees provide for the environment, they are also helpful when it comes to the mental and physical well-being of humans. Countless studies have shown that surrounding oneself with trees and other natural settings improvements: cognitive function, learning capabilities (especially in children) and memory skills. These studies have also shown that exposure to natural environments reduces stress levels and reduces depression symptoms as effectively as anti-depressants. Most interestingly, studies show that having access to this natural resource helps to facilitate community interaction and involvement.
The Exceptional Tree Act
Established in 1975 with the help of The Outdoor Circle, the Exceptional Tree Act designates an exceptional tree as “a tree, stand or grove of trees with historic or cultural value, or that by reason of age, rarity, location, size, aesthetic quality or endemic status, designated by a county arborist advisory committee as worthy of preservation”. Currently there are over 1000 exceptional trees throughout the Hawaiian Islands; with more about to be added to the registry when Bill 84 adopted by the Honolulu City Council. While the majority of these trees reside on Oahu (926), each of the other major islands also hosts many exceptional trees. Though large, this number does not reflect the many trees in Hawaii that are worthy of exceptional tree status. It is critical to add new exceptional trees to the list through the nomination process.
The nomination process for exceptional trees is a fairly easy process to complete and offers incentives for homeowners wishing to nominate a tree on their property. The first step is for landowners to fill out a tree nomination form. Then, a certified city arborist assesses the tree and the Arborist Committee makes a recommendation to the County Council on whether to recognize the tree. Once approved by County Council, a tree owner can receive a tax break of up to $3,000 every three years. Additional information about the nomination process, as well as county nomination forms are available at this link.
The Exceptional Tree Mapping Project
In response to the need for an interactive map that can be easily accessed by the general public, as well as a database consisting of useful information related to the state’s exceptional trees, The Outdoor Circle has begun its Exceptional Tree Mapping project. Over the next several months, each tree will be verified and data from each tree will be gathered. This process involves physically visiting each registered tree and obtaining various characteristics including: geographic coordinates, height, circumference, condition and any other notable facts when available (year planted, who planted it, etc…). This data is complied into our open-source ETM database. Click here to see the map and learn more about our process.
We need your help
The Outdoor Circle is looking for community support to gather data about these exceptional trees. For those wishing to volunteer, click here, which includes a PDF of how to obtain data in the field, as well as a FAQ section.
The Outdoor Circle will be holding an Exceptional Tree Map volunteer training exercise on Saturday, February 28, 2015 at 9 am outside of the Iolani Palace Band Stand. For those wishing to attend this exercise, please RSVP by emailing TreeMap@outdoorcircle.org and prepare to have an exciting couple hours learning about ground-truthing and other aspects of conducting fieldwork!
With the completion of the Exceptional Tree Map, The Outdoor Circle hopes to increase the number of nominations for exceptional trees, helping to preserve one of the state’s most valuable and beneficial natural resources. The Outdoor Circle hopes to not only provide a valuable resource to the general public who wish to learn more about exceptional trees, but also to identify areas in need of tree nominations. Public participation is essential for the long-term success of the Exceptional Tree Map project and hopefully this interactive map is the first step in obtaining this much desired long-term goal.
Waimea Outdoor Circle announces another volunteer day in Ulu La'au, the Waimea Nature Park, this Saturday, December 13, 9:00-Noon.
Jobs to do:
Taking down a multi-trunk mao hau hele which is leaning over a walking path in lower bed "E".
Taking down a dead koai'a in bed "D".
There are jobs for all ages and abilities, no knowledge of Hawaiian plants is necessary, we will happily train. Water, gloves and tools are provided as is a snack of fresh fruit and home baked cookies served at noon.
Waimea Nature Park is a project of Waimea Outdoor Circle created joyfully by 100% volunteer work from everyone, including people like you. The park is open during daylight hours and closes at 5:30 PM. The park is located directly behind Canada France Hawaii Telescope offices on Mamalahoa Hwy. Look for the Hawaiian Warrior sign on the CFH lawn and turn into the no name road there that leads directly into the park. Please do not park on the CFH lawn, the Nature Park has plenty of parking available. See waimeaoutdoorcircle.org for a map and other information. Or contact park co-chairs Carol Hendricks at 885-4453, Roz Wright at 885-2763 or park maintenance chair Ken Block at 885-4753.
Photo credit: one of our banners mounted on Ken's truck, ready for the Christmas parade, photo by Ken Block
Kapolei just got a little bit cooler thanks to nearly 300 trees gifted to area residents last week.
TOC partnered with the Kaupe‘a homestead for a community outreach and tree giveaway event. The giveaway featured 10 species of trees and plants -- most native, some fruit-bearing, all non-invasive.
Residents met and mingled, while deciding which trees were right for their yards. TOC volunteers were on-hand to help answer questions -- thank you Myles, Gloria, and Gracie! See more pictures from the Kaupe‘a tree giveaway here.
There was even talk about possibly forming a branch of The Outdoor Circle in Kapolei.
A very special thank you to Jeremy Lam and the Manoa Branch for propagating over one third of the plants at the giveaway. Also, thank you to Hui Ku Maoli Ola Native Hawaiian Nursery for working with us to identify and provide native plants ideal for the Kapolei climate.
Future events are planned. Connect with us if you are interested in participating.
2014 Full Circle Meeting
Saturday November 15th
9 AM to 3 PM
Waimea Valley Park’s Peacock Room
59-864 Kamehameha Hwy.
We are so honored to have the North Shore Outdoor Circle host our annual Full Circle meeting this year. All our branches throughout the state will be gathering at O‘ahu’s Waimea Valley Park in Haleiwa on Saturday November 15th. All members of The Outdoor Circle are invited to attend this day-long event.
Come learn about the actions and programs of all our nine branches. After the Conference, we will be able to take a guided tour with Botanist David Orr.
Snacks and lunch will be provided with your $20.00 Registration.
You can register online by clicking here or send your check to TOC’s office (1314 S. King St. #306 Honolulu 96814).
PARK(ing) Day 2014
Long time Outdoor Circle supporter Joel Kurokawa and his staff at Ki Concepts held a demonstration to bring awareness of parklets. A parklet is a small area next to the sidewalk that provides amenities and green space in urban communities. Despite being exceptionally hot, Joel and his staff provided information to everyone using the sidewalk fronting Waialae and 12th Ave. The City and County of Honolulu, has adopted an ordinance for parklets, and we look forward to more green space in urban areas. Click here for more information.
Photos from PARK(ing) Day 2014!
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.