President's Message February 2015
Our volunteer force and The Outdoor Circle staff thank-you for your membership and continued support of our mission, now 104 years old, to help keep Hawai'i clean, green and beautiful. It has never been more important to support sensible and sustainable Land Use policies, which are at risk of erosion.
Thanks to our capable Executive Director Marti Townsend and our Public Affairs Chair Rep. Barbara Marumoto, we have a legislative agenda that she, our interns and our Public Affairs Committee volunteers will follow. It is good to be on the lookout for our Legislative Session E-Alerts so you can learn about how policy is made and changed and have a hand in providing testimony on issues important to you
Marti and I attended the 2015 Keep America Beautiful Awards and national Conference in January. Though we arrived in 7 degree temperatures, we had a fabulous time representing The Outdoor Circle and Hawai'i in receiving a Community Service Award. KAB noted that Hawai'i is just the second state to vote in an Environmental Court (Vermont is the other) and that we are a vanguard to inspire other states to follow in suit.
While in DC, we had the opportunity to share The Outdoor Circle concerns with Rep. Mark Takai, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard and Sen. Brian Schatz, whose office took us on a special tour of the capitol.
There is a lot of work to get done this Legislative session, and we would love your help in putting your money where our mouth is. We promise to do our very best to protect the good policies and help change the defective ones.
Our Top 12 in 2014
As 2014 begins to wind down, we are reflecting on a very successful year for The Outdoor Circle. Please help us celebrate!
From new laws to improve the protection of our environment to on-going beautification projects that improve our communities, we have been hard at work keeping Hawai‘i clean, green, and beautiful. Your donation today will help continue this work for tomorrow.
Here are the top 12 things we are grateful for from this past year.
There is still time to get your donation in and receive a tax deduction for 2014. You can mail your donation check to our office in Honolulu (1314 S. King St. #306 Honolulu, HI 96814) or just click here for a secure and immediate credit card transaction. Your donation benefits the work of The Outdoor Circle and our branches throughout the Hawaiian Islands.
Thank you and happy holidays!
In the Spring, the Land Use Division in Hawaii’s Office of Planning will release a report on the state’s Land Use System. In particular they are focusing on the Land Use Commission’s process for changing the designation of land between urban, agriculture, and conservation.
As part of this report, the LUD staff formed a task force and are seeking public comment. Here is a link to the website for the task force. Public comments should be directed to:
Rodney Funakoshi at Rodney.Y.Funakoshi(at)dbedt.hawaii.gov or by phone at (808) 587-2885.
For our part, TOC is recommending that the Legislature commission a study of Hawaii’s Land Use System -- not just the Land Use Commission proceedings, but the entire system for protecting and using land in Hawaii. This includes the State Plan, the county plans, the Land Use Commission and all of its processes, and the county zoning processes. What works well and what doesn’t? With this information, objectively collected and reported, we will know what changes -- if any -- are needed to meet the best interests of our communities.
There is no hard deadline for public comments, but the sooner you jump in, the better.
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.
In the first weekend of December the Waimea Outdoor Circle hosted their annual wreath-making class. They also gave away 250 trees at the Holiday Parade through Waimea town.
The wreath-making class was held at the Waimea Nature Park and featured greenery gathered from the slopes of Mauna Kea.
Waimea Nature Park -- ‘Ulu La‘au -- 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.
Tis the season of giving and gratitude, of honoring the year almost past, and of gathering friends and family in joy and remembrance. It is with deep gratitude that I acknowledge the hard work of each of our eight branches and of the diligent overseeing of The Outdoor Circle Board of Directors. It has been a busy year, capped with our Full Circle Meeting of the membership.
This year, our Full Circle Meeting was hosted by the North Shore Branch at Waimea Valley Park. Members from all five Oahu branches participated and annual reports were given by representatives of all branches statewide. We shared ideas and discussed directions for the coming year.
It was determined that our main focus for the coming year is to promote green and open space, planting trees where appropriate, and helping to preserve uncluttered view planes by advocating for full compliance with our sign laws. It is one of the most treasured legacies of The Outdoor Circle that we have some of the most comprehensive sign laws in America.
I also want to thank each of our members who through your membership and annual donations, help to make the work we do possible. In this way, you are each ambassadors of environmental beauty and protection! So many of you recently showed your support in meeting our goal for the #GivingTuesday campaign.
We ask for your continued good stewardship to keep our canopy of protection strong. Help us to expand our membership by reaching out to your friends, neighbors and community members to join us in our efforts. Buy a few loved ones a membership during this season of giving.
I am deeply honored to serve in the capacity of President at this exciting and challenging time for Hawai‘i. I see our Boards as mentors for the new leadership required to move our Circle through the next few decades. If you have a strong desire to contribute to the greening of our islands, we have a place for you to be effective in doing so. Check us out on our website and our facebook page.
Enjoy this season of light!
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).
President's Message Fall 2014
By Alexandra Avery
Trees, Trees, Trees! This has been the autumn of discontent for so many trees around the state.
Earlier in the season, Hurricane Iselle blew down many Albizias in Puna. O'ahu's Lyon Arboritum and the UH Manoa campus have been diligently culling vastly overgrown Albizias. The State Highways Division has cut out all tree planting from their new roadway management policy, and cut off water sources to many roadway trees of significant stature. The Kaka'ako developers seem to forsake the public health value of large canopy trees in their ambitious building designs.
With so much to protect in the constant endeavor to capitalize on our natural beauty, we have been in a constant struggle to maintain and expand the far-reaching health benefits and aesthetics that our large canopy trees provide.
Enter Mayor Caldwell. O'ahu's Mayor gets a gold star in our Exceptional Tree Initiative for coming to the aid of an old Monkeypod tree on O'ahu Avenue in his neighborhood of Manoa. We thank the Mayor for reviewing this case and deciding in favor of these majestic trees.
You are all invited to our annual Nov. 15 Full Circle Gathering, this year at the North shore of O'ahu. Read more about it in this Green Leaf. I am proud of our TOC Board and all of our Branches for the community improvements that have been achieved with volunteer help.
All of our planting initiatives and projects are funded by you, our volunteers and members. Please scroll through our Greenleaf blog to learn more about our work, and consider how you can help us achieve a more healthy canopy across the state. Don't want to work a shovel; you can just donate! Click here to find out more.
OP wants to hear from YOU!
If you care about conservation lands; if you want agricultural lands protected for food production; if you want the right building in the right place, as much as the right tree in the right place... well, then the Office of Planning wants to hear from YOU!
The Office of Planning is a state agency charged with providing statewide comprehensive planning. Hawai‘i is recognized as a pioneer in land use and state planning. In 1961, Hawai‘i enacted the first land use law in the U.S., and in 1979 the first state plan law. Learn more about our Office of Planning here.
Today, they are conducting a periodic review of a foundational land use law, Hawaii Revised Statute Chapter 205. As part of this review, they are seeking public input from "stakeholders." If you want to see our limited land resources used wisely, then consider yourself a "stakeholder" and invited to attend these listening sessions.
Oahu: Nov. 20th at 6 - 8 PM Washington Intermediate School
Maui: Nov. 25th at 6 - 8 PM Maui Planning Commission Conference Room in Wailuku
Hawaii: Dec. 2nd at 5:30 - 7:30 PM Aupuni Center Conference Room in Hilo
Dec. 3rd at 6 - 8 PM Natural Energy Lab Hawaii Conference Room in Kona
Kaua'i: Dec. 10th at 6 - 8 PM Kaua'i Planning Commission Conference Room in Lihue
- We have no idea what they plan to do with our input
- We have no control over what they do with our input
- They may plan to do nothing with our input
- They may proposing sweeping changes to our land use laws (though not this Legislative Session)
Parklets Explained in Kokua Line
Long time TOC supporter, Joel Kurokawa (TOC President) is an advocate for The Complete Streets program. Joel and his staff at Ki Concepts invited TOC to participate in the parklet event in Kaimuki on September 19, 2014. Here is an article from the Kokua Line that answered questions on parklet information. Click here to be directed to the Honolulu Clean Cities website.
Mature monkey pods in Manoa saved
Thanks to the quick work of members in the Manoa Outdoor Circle, two giant monkey pod trees on Oahu Avenue will not be removed. Instead the sidewalk will be repaired and the planting space expanded so that the trees can grow strong and the cars can travel safely.
A neighbor happened to strike up a conversation with city workers investigating the trees and learned that they were being considered for removal because the sidewalk was lifting and the curb was uneven.
"Who was here first? The tree or the sidewalk?" she asked herself and then set about trying to find an alternative to cutting down these majestic old trees. She called Jerry Lam and the members of the Manoa branch. Thanks to their teamwork and advocacy (they collected 100 petition signers in just a few hours!), the trees remain in place and the sidewalk and curb have been reworked.
What in the world is a parklet?
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!
Joining the team: Gracie and Myles
Welcome to our two newest additions to The Outdoor Circle: Gracie and Myles. We continue to build our in-office internship program and very excited to have two interns this Fall. If anyone is interested in gaining work experience while pitching in to help keep our islands beautiful, please contact our office.
Myles Ritchie recently graduated from the University of Hawaii at Manoa in Environmental Geography and is working towards his Masters Degree in this field of study. He will be interning for The Outdoor Circle for a full year, helping us to better protect the natural beauty of our islands. He originally hails from Toronto, Canada where his work focused on the fields of EIS and GIS.
Gracie Thatcher is a graduate of Punahou School and Loyola University Chicago. She has a degree in International Relations and Business with a focus on multi-cultural communications. She is well-traveled, most recently returning from an internship in Italy. Over the summer, Gracie interned for The Circle while working part-time. This Fall she will continue her work helping us with data management, communications, and community outreach.
SB 632 is now Act 218, SLH 2014!
We celebrated this great victory for the environment with a luncheon at HASR Bistro in Honolulu. See all the pictures from the great event here.
We owe a very special thanks to our heroes:
Committee Chairs Rep. Chris Lee and Sen. Mike Gabbard, as well as advocates Jan Dapitan, Alice Greenwood, DOCARE Chief Randy Awo and Dean Denise Antolini. It is because of your leadership, determination, and willingness to work together that this bill became law after so many years of effort.
We also want to give a shout out to the many groups that helped this bill along the way, including: Keep Hawaiian Islands Beautiful, Get the Drift and Bag It, Kua‘aina Ulu ‘Auamao, Nani O Wai‘anae, Conservation International, Department of Land and Natural Resources, and students at the William S. Richardson School of Law's Environmental Law Program.
To learn more about the Environmental Court in Hawaii, click here.
Honolulu, Hawai‘i (July 21, 2014) -- City officials confirmed this afternoon that a pilot for Aerial Banners North was arrested today at Dillingham Airfield after flying banners over O‘ahu once again.
The Outdoor Circle applauds the City and County of Honolulu for fully enforcing the ordinance prohibiting aerial advertising in Hawaii.
"Thank you Mayor Caldwell and everyone with the City for enforcing Hawaii aerial advertising ban," said Marti Townsend, Executive Director of The Outdoor Circle. "This arrest sends a strong message that the people of Hawaii are serious about protecting our natural beauty. We will not tolerate attempts like this to circumvent our advertising laws.”
Mahalo to all the people who helped enforce this law by reporting plane-sightings to the Honolulu Police Department.
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.