This has been a busy start to summer, with the passage of the Environmental Court Law and its opening on July 1. You will read about this and of the Environmental Court Symposium in this issue.
As I complete my Presidency, I wish to thank all of you who support the ongoing efforts to help TOC further our mission. Your contributions through membership, donations and direct service have furthered the effectiveness of our mission. I would also like to thank each of the eight Branch Presidents for leading your community projects and for your support of the full canopy of TOC.
It has been an honor and a privilege to have served TOC as President. I am grateful for the hard work that TOC Board of Directors has contributed toward our state wide goals. Together, we navigated through a structural change in our By-laws, worked on a development plan for mapping out our future, and added to the list of accomplishments under our state sanctioned Exceptional Tree Initiative. It is a great pleasure to have worked with Myles Ritchie to develop a state wide Exceptional Tree Mapping program. It is a state wide learning system to discover the Exceptional Trees of Hawai’i.
Here’s to our incoming President Mike McFarlane and to the continuation of a long lived legacy of keeping Hawai’i clean, green and beautiful.
A hui ho,
Our Executive Director Marti Townsend has completed her mission with TOC. Marti brought just the right expertise and malama to The Outdoor Circle when she joined the staff three years ago. Her critical eye and inclusive working style have brought us through a restructuring of operations while maintaining a range of services and support to our nine branches. Both office and operations have been streamlined to work more efficiently and within budget. Marti is a person of passion and persistence. She made it fun to develop a distinctive Development Plan, and a learning adventure to take a public stand on county, state and federal statutes, many of which she can recite by heart. We extend a Circle-wide Mahalo for all she has contributed to The Outdoor Circle.
Marti is now serving as ED for the Hawaii Chapter of The Sierra Club. We will miss her skilled competence and bright spirit as our Director and we are looking forward to her continued involvement as a member and volunteer. You can bet Marti will be one of the most quoted legal experts in future Environmental Court hearings!
The TOC Executive Committee has chosen Dave Cheever to serve as our Interim Executive Director. Dave brings years of non-profit board service and directorship to TOC. The Executive Committee will serve as the search committee to find Executive Director. We will be looking statewide. We invite you to submit names of likely candidates whom we can follow up with. We will be posting the job description and qualifications on our website and will be placing a public ad soon.
Renee Nakagawa, our Administrative Assistant and Myles Ritchie, our Projects Manager continue to serve the canopy of branches from the office and the field. Myles is finishing the statewide mapping of the Hawaii collection of Exceptional Trees. The phone app for discovering Hawai`i's Exceptional Trees will be available soon. The branches have been helpful in this tree mapping project, and with Myles' scientific scrutiny, we have learned so much more about the trees that protect us.
As we transition into second century of environmental stewardship, our Branches are ever busy with projects reflecting their community needs. You’ll learn more about the value of our Branch influence in this issue. Your membership renewals help to further the Branch beautification efforts. Thank you for your ongoing support of the branch work which in turn supports the overall health of our protective canopy.
The TOC Board, with the help of Sanae Tokumura of Solid Concepts, have just completed an ambitious Development Plan. Now the exciting part will be to match funds with our projects! I hope this issue inspires you to up your commitment to the work we do. Your Kokua makes our work possible.
You are going to learn a lot about us in this issue of our GreenLeaf!
Our tree preservation efforts and planting projects have kept the branches busy, and the advocating for open space protection, clean and green parks and public spaces, and signs concerns have kept our office busy. It continues to amaze me how our Executive Director Marti Townsend orchestrates the many functions that create the strong canopy of The Outdoor Circle, state-wide!
We share a collective mahalo to Noelani Sugata for her decade of service to our office. We welcome in our new office staffer Renee Nakagawa. We also bid a fond aloha to Gloria Taaffe, our tree mapping intern who will be leaving next month to finish her schooling from Florida. We are especially pleased that intern Myles Ritchie is going to stay on as Project Intern to help us finish our statewide tree mapping project. We are learning so much about the importance of the Exceptional Trees all throughout our beautiful islands.
We are looking forward to honoring Beatrice Krauss, Hawai'i's most beloved ethnobotanist, this Earth Day, April 22. Her legacy of ethnobotanical knowledge and public service lives on through her publications, course materials, plant collections and gardens, like the one at Lyon Arboretum. Bea enriched the lives of thousands of students, colleagues, friends and community groups by her teaching and spirit of aloha.
This is another in our series of micro-fundraiser Garden Tours. If you have a garden or know of one that can be the site for a Micro-fundraiser Garden tour, please let me know. It is a great way to discover more about the flora of O'ahu, meet new friends, and help support our efforts at keeping Hawai'i clean, green, and beautiful. Each tour is different but they are under 30 people, and sell out right away. Would you like to help us with a special Garden Tour in your neighborhood? We would love to hear from you!
I am so grateful to have such a hard working Board of Directors, who volunteer their expertise to best serve our nine Branches and the mission that has guided TOC for over one hundred years. I hope you will join us, reaffirm your membership, and consider volunteering through one of our Branches.
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.
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!
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.
Our Leaf touches ground this week with lots of news about branch engagement and statewide public affairs. I am very happy to report that the Exceptional Tree Initiative is being championed by Susan Spangler, appointed representative to the Mayor’s Arborist Advisory Council.
Things have been busy for our volunteers this first half of the legislative session. With “cross-over” completed earlier this month, we now know which bills have a good chance of making it to “conference committee” at the end of the legislative session. It is exciting to see some of the Senators and Representatives championing the environment with such knowledge and inspiration. This is a challenging time as we all reckon with the cost of development to our ecosystem. It is extremely hopeful to hear these leaders talking about carrying capacity on our islands, particularly on O’ahu.
We have a strong leader in our Honolulu City Council, who sees the danger in proliferation of advertising on our roadways. Moving ads on busses is proven to be a distraction to drivers, not to mention to the visual plane. It can’t be said too often: “Our beauty is the hand that feeds us.” A beautiful, calming viewscape is an intrinsic part of the much revered aloha spirit.
We hope that all of our Mayors will follow Mayor Caldwell in making our county parks a priority over the next few years. This is news The Outdoor Circle likes to move with!
We ask you to join us in being an active steward for The Outdoor Circle. Here's what you can ask of your friends and neighbors: Become a member (click here), volunteer some time (click here), and regularly visit our website and facebook page to catch up on our activities.
Winter is made more brilliant in Hawai’i with the fruiting citrus trees and blooming Hong Kong Orchid trees. These kinds of shade trees provide protective canopies that play many roles in managing a healthy ecosystem. Many of the giant canopy trees seen around the islands, and now deemed Exceptional Tree status, were planted by the founders of The Outdoor Circle.
Across the state, a good number of these exceptional trees have reached the end of their life cycle. The Outdoor Circle is committed to a state-wide Exceptional Tree Initiative, endorsed by our Governor and First Lady, both long-time members of The Outdoor Circle. This plan of action includes community members who steward the parks and other public areas where the legacy trees are planted. They will have our help in replacing their neighborhood trees with large canopied trees.A large canopy tree is definitive of the structure of The Outdoor Circle. Ten branches state-wide make a healthy canopy under which our organization fulfills our mission.
We start the New Year by welcoming our 10th branch in West Honolulu, seated in the verdant hills of Manoa. We look toward to Kapolei district to follow in these footsteps, and seeds have been planted for a new branch on the Big Island.
Our Administrative Board of Directors joins with me in thanking all of you who continue to keep the” clean, green and beautiful” legacy alive. We look forward to many opportunities to preserve and protect our environment during 2014. Our statewide Legislative Agenda is posted in this newsletter, a broad three-pronged action plan which was developed statewide during our Full Circle Meeting.
We ask you to join us in being an active steward for The Outdoor Circle. Here’s what you can ask of your friends and neighbors: Become a member, volunteer some time, and make visits to our website and fb page to catch up on our actions.
President of The Outdoor Circle
Working to keep Hawai`i clean, green, and beautiful since 1912
(Image: Hong Kong Orchid by Petter Johansen)
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.