The Outdoor Circle applauds the Honolulu City Council and Mayor Caldwell for passing the Exceptional Trees bill. From the City & County of Honolulu Press Release:
Honolulu – Mayor Caldwell today signed Bill 84 (2014), CD1 into law, amending the city’s register of exceptional trees and clarifying the powers, duties, and procedures of the Honolulu Arborist Advisory Committee.
“O‘ahu’s exceptional trees are an important part of our history and identity,” said Mayor Caldwell. “It’s our responsibility to protect them as a part of a lasting legacy to our fragile environment and to the people who live here. I’m grateful to the Outdoor Circle, Department of Parks and Recreation, Arborist Advisory Committee, owners of property where these precious trees are located, and the City Council for working together to craft this important update. Bill 84 helps keep our island home clean, green, and beautiful for generations to come.”
Bill 84 was introduced by request of the Department of Parks and Recreation and supported in testimony by the Outdoor Circle. With a 9-0 vote on May 6, 2015, the bill was unanimously adopted by City Council and sent to Mayor Caldwell for his signature.
The bill adds 36 notable trees and a grove of 8 palms to the register of exceptional trees. The newly-designated trees include: historic trees at Washington Place linked to Queen Lili`uokalani, a grove of `Ohe Makai trees at Waimea Valley, and trees at several homes listed on the National Historic Register, such as the Cooke Estate in Mānoa. The property owners are commended for their diligent work in assuring that these truly exceptional trees are preserved for future generations to enjoy.
Additional highlights of Bill 84 include:
By Marti Townsend, Executive Director
Two aggressive pests threaten the future of Banyan trees in Hawai‘i. The Lobate Lac Scale, known as the “vampire bug” sucks the life out of Chinese Banyans, native Hibiscus, Koa, and about 300 other tree and plant species. So far this scale is found only on Oahu. The Stem Gall Wasp burrows into branches at the base of each stem making it impossible for Chinese banyans to grow new leaves; it has already invaded O‘ahu, Maui, and Hawai‘i Island.
In less than two years, these two aggressive bugs have forced the removal of dozens of banyan trees for safety reasons. Iconic banyan trees have been removed due to these pests at Moanalua Gardens, Thomas Square Park, Kapiolani Park, Washington Place, along the Ala Wai, and the International Marketplace. Chinese banyans at the National Cemetery, UH-Manoa, the Catholic Cemetery on King Street, and Ala Moana Park are infected and undergoing treatment. Despite considerable effort, arborists have yet to find effective treatments for the pests, and in some cases the treatment can be as bad as the disease.
While experts continue the search for a cure, The Outdoor Circle is working hard to plant new trees to replace the those being lost to these infestations. It is important for City and State officials, as well as private land-owners to undertake tree-planting with a determination equal to the feracity of these tree-killing bugs.
“We can’t just plant any kind of tree where these Exceptional and majestic trees once grew,” said TOC President Alexandra Avery. “We need to have the vision and commitment to plant trees now that have the same potential for greatness as the iconic trees we are now losing. This is the only way to ensure there are still Exceptional Trees in the ground for the future generations of Hawai‘i.”
TOC is pleased to report that Washington Place is already preparing to plant trees to replace the 75-year-old Chinese Banyan lost there. Replacement tree plantings and tree relocations are currently being planned for Kapiolani Park and the International Marketplace, while planting plans are being developed for Thomas Square and Ala Moana Park.
Oahu’s banyan trees under attack, many dying by Denby Fawcett, Civil Beat
Tree pest leads to removal of Waikiki Banyan Trees, KITV News
You can help!
Counter the loss of iconic and Exceptional trees on Oahu and throughout the Hawaiian Islands by becoming a member and supporting The Outdoor Circle’s “Exceptional Tree Initiative.” Click here to make a secure, online donation now. We are committed to planting as many trees with the potential to become truly “Exceptional Trees” as possible.
Local woodworkers volunteered to turn trees killed by vandals into beautiful works of art, and donate the majority of proceeds to the Waimea Outdoor Circle. 20 years ago, WOC helped volunteers landscape and plant trees in the newly opened Anuenue Playground. Two years ago, vandals stripped the outer bark from seven of the trees, ultimately killing them. While WOC volunteers set to work re-planting the playground with Ohia trees, woodworkers set to turning the dead Koa trees into bowls, bracelets, and another beautiful works of art. The woodworkers have generously given 75% of all proceeds from the sale of these pieces to WOC in support of keeping this amazing community clean, green, and beautiful.
From the Alliance for Community Trees, Seattle, WA (April 2, 2014):
University of Washington researcher Kathleen L. Wolf recently made the case in "Stormwater Report" for trees and green infrastructure to both manage stormwater runoff and also offer a host of health benefits. According to Wolf, “Every small patch of nature in cities and built areas can be ‘hyperfunctional’ and provide co-benefits. While performing the primary purpose of stormwater management, green infrastructure also can be designed to augment park systems and provide places of respite, recreation, and delight.“
The article, “Water and Wellness: Green Infrastructure for Health Co-Benefits,” shows that “with careful design, green spaces can manage runoff and provide a range of co-benefits. Integrated planning of green infrastructure and parks systems helps to cost-effectively provide multiple benefits and contributes to more livable communities.”
Wolf studies the human dimensions of urban forestry and urban greening. In this roundup of research, she outlines the great opportunity for bridging urban forestry and urban greening into the realms of public works and civil engineering.
Wolf cites precedent for this approach. While once land use was segregated, today green infrastructure installations can be integrated with citywide parks and green spaces. And designing green infrastructure for stormwater management as well as co-benefits, particularly human health, can include a broader set of economic returns. “Green infrastructure that provides better human habitat is a win-win for community buy-in.”
Wolf reports on a the small but growing sample of evidence about the importance of nearby nature in cities and towns, and the benefits to the environment and human well-being. Here are a few of the benefits she highlights and how they can co-exist with green infrastructure to support stormwater management:
Read the full article, “Water and Wellness: Green Infrastructure for Health Co-Benefits.” Visit Green Cities: Good Health, a University of Washington project which features a collection of more than 2,800 scholarly works, most peer reviewed, which demonstrate how trees, parks, gardens, and natural areas enhance quality of live, and improve human health.
Photo credit: Kathleen Wolf
Thanks to our Board Member, Dr. Jeremy Lam, for contributing to this post.
The State agency which oversees the development of Kaka'ako has been criticized as being excessively pro-development. Bill 1866, which seeks to improve oversight and transparency at the Hawaii Community Development Authority (HCDA), passed the Hawai'i Legislature this week and was sent to the Governor for his signature.
This bill allows greater public input, promotes greater transparency, provides recourse for communities through a contested-case hearing process, ensures more balance to the appointed board, and emphasizes the importance of maintaining height and distance requirements in building projects.
The Governor has until April 24th to veto the bill, sign it into law, or allow the bill to become law without his signature.
Of the many bills introduced by Representative Scott Saiki to reform the HCDA, this is the only one that survived the legislative process. Representative Saiki told Pacific Business News, "House Bill 1866 will allow us to ‘reboot’ HCDA and allow it to refocus on its mission, provide greater transparency in its operation and decision making, and allow the public to have greater input in its deliberations. At the end of the day, it will help HCDA create a community that is more livable, more productive and that better reflects our island values, lifestyle and sensibilities.”
The Outdoor Circle is particularly concerned with ensuring that public greenspace and mauka-to-makai view planes are enhanced -- not undermined -- by the rush to develop the Kaka'ako area. Mother Waldron Park in the heart of Kaka'ako mauka was given to the city in the 1930's specifically to ensure the public had open green space to enjoy, as the downtown financial district expanded eastward.
Read TOC's position statement on Kaka'ako:
The 21st Annual "I Love Kailua" Town Party on Sunday was another huge success thanks to the Lani-Kailua Outdoor Circle. The best of Kailua was on display this past weekend from food, clothing, jewelry, art and more. People also learned about the bike share program in Kailua, the efforts to "Keep it Kailua", updates from the Kailua Urban Design Task Force, and the effort to protect Kawainui Marsh.
A special mahalo to everyone who helped to make the plant sale so amazing! There were orchids for days, as well as anthuriums, native plants, food-bearing plants, and lots of expert advice on gardening.
Proceeds from the "I Love Kailua" Town Party support community planting projects in the Kailua area, including maintenance for exceptional trees, traffic triangles in Kailua, and other beautification efforts. Thank you for your on-going support of LKOC's efforts to "keep Kailua clean, green, and beautiful."
Photos from the 2014 Town Party
See, Hear, and Taste Kailua, Midweek April 9, 2014
See more event photos and receive updates by liking LKOC on Facebook
Members of The Outdoor Circle came out to support Malama Manoa's regular 1000 tree giveaway this year. For several years, Malama Manoa has given away one tree per person with the help of countless volunteers. This year, more than 1,400 plants were available for pick-up at Manoa District Park and more than 100 volunteers pitched in.
They also had expert arborists and horticulturalists on-hand to answer people's plant questions. The Honolulu Woodturners demonstrated bowl-making and other interesting woodworking skills.
The plants were raised by volunteers -- at their homes and schools -- and donated to the give-away. If you are interested in helping to raise plants for the next tree give-away, contact the 1,000 Tree Giveaway Committee.
"Tree-For-All" by KITV news
Photo album for the 1000 Tree Giveaway
See more event pictures by liking the Manoa branch of The Outdoor Circle on Facebook!
The executive director of The Outdoor Circle is determined to protect Hawaii’s scenic environment
By Christine Donnelly
Marti Townsend walks to work most days, a 30-minute trip from Makiki to her office on King Street that not only serves as good exercise but also keeps her connected to Honolulu’s cityscape at the street level. That’s important to her job as executive director of The Outdoor Circle, leading several thousand members who all are devoted to keeping Hawaii clean, green and beautiful.
Founded in 1912, the group is well known for planting and maintaining exceptional trees throughout the state and for ridding Hawaii of billboards in 1926 — a victory
over visual blight the group is working hard to preserve in light of Mayor Kirk Caldwell’s proposal to sell advertising on the exterior of city buses. Townsend notes that she also is an avid bus rider, like many OC members.
“Some people try to create the perception that you have to be either for Hawaii’s scenic environment or for TheBus, but that’s a false choice,” she said. “We definitely support both.”
Townsend, who grew up in Aiea and graduated from Moanalua High School in 1995, earned a bachelor’s degree in political philosophy from Boston University and later worked for two sessions as a budget analyst for the House Finance Committee in Hawaii’s Legislature. She also volunteered at The Outdoor Circle after college, which inspired her to become a lawyer; she focused on environmental law at the University of Hawaii.
Married and the mother of two young children, Townsend took the lead position at The Outdoor Circle in May 2012, after serving as the acting executive director of KAHEA-The Hawaiian-Environmental Alliance. Heading any nonprofit means juggling many tasks. It’s no different at The Outdoor Circle, where Townsend oversees operations for 10 branches of the grass-roots group throughout the islands and takes the lead on statewide policy initiatives, fundraising and programs.
“Engaging people in the public process is a big part of what I do,” she said. “We all appreciate Hawaii’s natural beauty and the public green spaces that add so much to our quality of life. It does take a community effort to preserve and enhance that.”
Click here to read the article from the Honolulu Star Advertiser
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.