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.
A group of five Korean students from the International Midpac College spent three Fridays in the TOC office
helping write notes to lapsed members encouraging them to renew.
In the first session the five volunteers very capably wrote almost 100 handwritten notes to statewide lapsed
members. Of the five, four are studying at their college in Korea subjects related to TOC: two are in the landscape architecture program; one in urban planning; and another in environmental science. The fifth student is studying electrical engineering.
Their notes said in part:
Dear former Outdoor Circle member,
As a volunteer exchange student from Korea, studying at the International Midpac College. I am thankful
for this opportunity to help a community organization like The Outdoor Circle while learning about America at the same time.
I understand The Outdoor Circle is a very important group that saves trees, plants trees and helps keep
Hawaii free of billboards and ugly signs.
I only wish we had something like The Outdoor Circle in Korea.
So far, this effort has raised $1,310 in membership renewals. Thank you, student volunteers!
A letter from two TOC Members
We are deeply disturbed with the way the city and county has handled the illegal tree cutting in the Punchboard special design district, at the Tennent Gallery. The reporting of the situation makes the city look confused and unable to take action on the preservation of our mandated tree protections.
We were grateful to speak to Alexandra Avery and The Outdoor Circle to clarify what we need to do in the future to keep our island safe of the devastating loss of our trees. We are glad we can look to TOC to assist in a plan that can prevent future losses of this sort.
I was a past Board member and President of the Friends of the Tennent Gallery. During my tenure, we did programs to serve the community, using both the indoor and outdoor space. At one such event, the Alvin Ailey dancer Earnest Morgan, featured the trees in his performance. It was such a gift to have the shaded outdoor space available to shade the events we hosted.
Errol and Nancy Rubin
Proud TOC Lifetime members
In Memory of Ruth Leinau
January 28, 1917 – April 17, 2015
Member of the NSOC Branch
The brightest of smiles—the bluest of eyes—the charm and utter pleasure that she always showed when you arrived at her door. These were always such a part of Ruth Leinau that, like the Pied Piper, we wanted to be near her and listen to her stories with such an outpouring of joy. Beauty was such a part of her—the flowers she loved to arrange—and the decorations in her home were always something we looked forward to admiring.
Entertaining was a delightful event at Ruth's. "I'm just having a few good friends and family—will you join us?" Who would dare miss it? The See's candy and Harry & David gourmet nuts and warm brie and, of course, champagne.
At one time she graciously accepted the presidency of the North Shore Outdoor Circle—and what a wonderful time we had! Special lunch meetings, light refreshments at the Proud Peacock once a month, interesting guest speakers—and always well attended.
Ruth will be remembered and loved by all ages as she was just as comfortable with the younger members as she was with her peers. Ninety eight years of age was so easy for our lovely lady. She blended into the age of exceptional women, a marvelous volunteer with the charm and beauty of spirit and gentility.
In her honor donations will be accepted by the NSOC. P.O. Box 1011, Haleiwa, HI 96712.
Mahalo Piha Noelani!
For ten solid years The Outdoor Circle was blessed to have the skilled support of Noelani Sugata. She worked her way up from Administrative Assistant to Operations Manager and learned every facet of the organization in the process. If you ever called The Outdoor Circle, then you have spoken with Noe. But she did so much more than answer the phones. She:
Yep, it’s true, she is amazing. She is a real trooper with a beautiful smile and great sense of humor.
Yet, as with all the good things, the time has come for Noe to seek out new adventures in faraway lands. Please join me in thanking Noe for all she has done for the Circle and wishing her all the best on her future endeavors. Noe: send us postcards!
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!
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).
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!
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.
President's Message for Summer 2014
by Alexandra Avery, President
Yes, big hugs all around. Thank you to all our members who have been hard at work this busy summer. Beside the incident with that little yellow plane towing banners through our beautiful skies, here is a run-down of what we have been doing to keep Hawai‘i clean, green, and beautiful.
In June, Marti Townsend and I attended the third Land Use Division Task Force. It is a fifteen month review of the process for changing state land use designations. We are aware that this is a state mandated review, and that the last one five years ago, imploded before any reforms were decided on. We are seeing the struggles involved in this process, where few people are experts in the changing stewardship of our public lands.
May brought the formation of three new Working Groups under Public Affairs:
As it has been our goal this past year to keep general Honolulu issues within the Oahu branches, we are very grateful that our Manoa branch volunteers are leading these three committees.
Our Bill 69 Working Group, chaired by North Shore branch member Kathy Whitmire, has achieved a temporary stay with the bill that would have allowed billboards on buses. It was a lot of campaigning and testifying, which involved volunteers from all Oahu branches. Thank you!
We are hoping the recent incident with that “little yellow plane” will turn the Mayor off to the idea of ads on our buses. Still, we are collecting petition signatures, and Oahu Outdoor Circle volunteers are participating in Neighborhood Board presentations of our position on Bill 69. This needs to be done from August through November. The two NB’s that have counseled NO on Bill 69 are Kailua NB and Hawaii Kai NB.
Our Public Affairs Committee is still seeking a Chair. It has been meeting the first Tuesday of each month, in the office at noon. Neighbor island members are encouraged to call-in to the meeting. Since we have divided the efforts into Working Committees with their own meeting dates, the Public Affairs Committee can better focus on and oversee statewide issues. In addition to a Chair, the PAC seeks representatives from all branches to be able to best represent statewide interests. Please call the office to lend your representation.
In late May, I represented The Outdoor Circle in a Community Forum on Kaka‘ako. It was extremely encouraging to see that there was almost total support of enlarging the public green spaces in the area. Parks were a big concern, especially Mother Waldron Park, the epicenter of the first phase of 450’ buildings. I thank Marti Townsend and Jerry Lam who attended the evening forum as well.
The meeting was filmed by Olelo and will be rebroadcast on Chanel 54 on June 20 at 2:30 pm. An audio recording of the meeting is also available on demand at the ThinkTech Hawaii website under the title "A Vision for Kakaako”.
The biggest concern coming out of the Kaka’ako Working Group is the diminished public green space, the ground level landscaping requirements, and the pressure being put on Waldron Park. As many towns are now privatizing public parks, the working group is taking into consideration this possibility for Honolulu. We would like your thoughts on this subject. When this question came up a few years ago, TOC recommended against the C&C allowing private sponsorship of public park facilities. Is there a way public-private partnerships could be used properly to benefit our public parks?
Thomas Square park is also going to be experiencing big changes with the designed rail station and the constant pressure from adjoining businesses to spill out and feed into the park. Several trees in the park have been recently removed due to a stem gall wasp infestation. Replanting will be done after the master planning process is completed. Steve Mechler and Marty Schiller seek other interested volunteers on this working group.
It was a pleasure to attend the Lani-Kailua annual meeting at Kane‘ohe Yacht Club, with great food and views, and to hear Heidi Bornhorst speak of the tree mapping project they have just completed at the UH Manoa Campus.
Several professional arborists and landscapers on our board have been moving toward the planting of the Exceptional Tree promised to the Washington Place garden when we met there last fall. It is a long and winding tale, including finally finding the appropriate tree on the Big Isle, and as of now, wading through the process of getting it in the ground. I thank Steve Mechler for finding the Pak Lan which is to compliment the existing one at the front entry of Washington Place. We are getting closer!
The Education Committee Chair, Cindie Ogata, is organizing a school planting project available to all branches as a partnership with the Polynesian Voyaging Society. More details coming soon.
The Lani-Kailua branch spearheaded comments criticizing the development proposed for Kawainui Marsh. And the Waimea branch participated in a major clean-up of downtown Waimea Town in partnership with Matson Company.
Please mark your calendars for our August 14th Annual Meeting and installation of new officers in Manoa. Our next Board meeting will be August 15th.
And support The Outdoor Circle with the purchase of a $5 pass to savings at Macy's on August 23rd.
Waimea Now Cleaner and Greener
On Sunday, June 29th, eleven WOC volunteers worked for about three hours cleaning, weeding, trimming and sprucing up the center of town by taking part in Matson's Ka Ipu Aina community program. We made a noticeable difference and it was a fun project. This event raised $1,000 for Waimea Outdoor Circle!
By Diane Harding, Branch Representative
As many of you know, the Outdoor Circle and all its branches have been going through changes over the past year, and as a result, we are now a more resilient and sustainable organization both fiscally and structurally.
One of the major changes has been to our policy on memberships, which included standardizing the membership dues rates for all branches Island-wide, and standardizing the membership term associated with your renewal or join date.
The new term of membership policy now sets a 'Date of Record' for all members of the organization. This is the date on which all dues paying members are 'counted', for a variety of reasons, including determining who is allowed to vote at TOC's yearly Annual Meeting held in late August, and for determining how many members each branch has, for the purpose of disbursing TOC funds back to them. This date is set to June 1 of any given year.
In the past, each branch kept track of its members' status similar to how magazine subscriptions are handled. In other words, if you joined in May, your membership was good till the next May. Now, all branches are moving to a new schedule, where your membership term always goes for at least one year, and always terminates on June 1 of a given year. For example, if you joined in February 2014, your membership is good through June 1, 2015.
Regarding this point, June 1, 2014 is just around the corner, and many of you have not renewed, and are set to expire on that date.
Please consider renewing your membership if you have not done so already. It’s very easy to do.
You can go to the Outdoor Circle website (outdoorcircle.org), click on Membership, and then pay on-line (via 'Click & Pledge', which is similar to Paypal). Simply add the Individual Membership ($25) to your cart and at 'checkout', when you give your name and address, you can specify your branch affiliation (Lani-Kailua).
If you prefer to pay by mail, there is a Membership Form there for you to print and mail in to the Central Office.
Your support is important to us, and enables us to continue the great work we do. TOC will do its best to accommodate late joiners where possible, but it is important to have a final count by June 1, so please try to renew by that date. Also, please consider inviting a friend to join as well!
President’s Message May 2014
By Alexandra Avery
The 2014 Legislative session ended with a big win for the environment (and The Outdoor Circle): establishment of a statewide Environmental Court. This new approach to enforcing our environmental laws will facilitate future efforts of our branches and volunteers to keep Hawai’i Clean, Green, and Beautiful. I want to especially thank the members who showed up at public hearings and spoke for the Circle. This was a major accomplishment for the Circle, considering this was our first Legislative Session without our long-time lead advocate and veteran lobbyist, Bob Loy. It was not easy, but volunteers worked hard to keep up our legislative presence in his absence. We should all feel good about the achievements made during this year’s session.
I have been encouraged by our branches outreach into the communities they serve. The good stewardship of Outdoor Circle members is evident throughout the state. We are a volunteer driven group that depends on annual memberships, donations and grants to make our projects and advocacy possible. We count on you to be stewards of the land and to help further our commitment to the environment.
Please help us to expand our membership and raise donations by telling your neighbors and friends about The Outdoor Circle and the work of its nine branches throughout the state. Share this newsletter with your friends and visit our website (www.outdoorcircle.org) and facebook page (www.facebook.com/TheOutdoorCircle). Download membership forms by clicking here and help encourage new people in your neighborhood to join-up. Call us for more ways in which you can easily be a Circle ambassador or to get involved in one of our committees: 808-593-0300.
We are lucky to have so many kupuna in our Circle, since of course we are such an ‘old organization.’ All of our branches are working to mentor in the next generation of Outdoor Circle leaders. Our leadership circle is available to speak to your neighbors or organization. We will be honoring these kupuna at our Annual Meeting in August. Hope you will join us and bring a future leader.
We are pleased to initiate a new column in the Green Leaf: Under The Canopy. This is YOUR column to share news of and from our membership. The first report is from East Honolulu branch member Christiane Kau‘i Lucas. What would you like to contribute to this column? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Volunteers with the Lani-Kailua Outdoor Circle mentor female prisoners through gardening and life in the “Learning to Grow” program at the Women’s Community Correctional Center. This hydroponic vegetable and herb garden was one of many projects showcased for visitors from the World Indigenous Peoples Conference on Education (WiPC:E 2014) in May. Conference participants -- indigenous leaders in education from around the world -- were introduced to current program participants, program graduates, and LKOC volunteers who showed them how the inmates raise the nearly 1,000 heads of lettuce, herbs and other vegetables used in prison meals every week. LKOC’s “Learning to Grow” program helped usher in several other food-growing projects at the center including groves of ‘ulu (breadfruit) and mai‘a (banana), and lo‘i (taro patches).
Twice a week, every week of the year, LKOC volunteers visit WCCC bringing soil, seeds, and their know-how to support inmates in the program. Inmates learn to cultivate food crops from seed to harvest and then prepare them for fellow inmates through the culinary program.
The Learning to Grow program is supported solely by donations from individuals and the proceeds of an annual plant sale. If you would like to support LKOC’s “Learning to Grow” program, click here to make a donation through our website (before completing your transaction, add “WCCC” or “Learning to Grow” in the notes section).
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.