Former graduate student intern Myles Ritchie, who created the Exceptional Tree (ET) map in June by visiting
nearly all the 700 ETs statewide, has returned this month to build on the valuable work he has done so far.
To see a great example of Myles' work with ETs see his short video at: https://youtu.be/mLaXRa2Memo
Myles' role is mainly outreach into the community to raise awareness of ETs, not just among the
public, but also among professionals like landscape architects, arborists and tree trimmers.
An example of what is included in his new program will be a presentation at the retirement home
Arcadia in early September. Myles will discuss the value of trees using the data he has assembled so far, then he will discuss the many trees on the Arcadia property.
If there is interest and it is appropriate, he will encourage the Arcadia residents to nominate trees on their
property as well in their close-in neighborhood.
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
TOC Programs Manager Myles Ritchie has spent several months tromping all over the state to digitize and update TOC’s landmark Exceptional Tree map. Volunteers have helped in identifying these trees for Myles to map.
Up mountains, down into valleys, through jungles and open fields, Myles has been a stalwart in identifying and mapping these wonderful trees statewide.
It is important to keep in mind, however, that while the map is a great guide for all of us who want to admire these treasures, Myles' work is much more than pins stuck on a map.
What he is doing for each of these over 700 trees is to scientifically formulate the value—the worth, the benefits—to all of us. These benefits include: financial savings, storm water runoff diversion, energy conserved, and the reduction in atmospheric carbon. Pinpointing the benefits of these trees provides a basis for each of us to realize the worth of all trees, even those that grow in our own yards.
As an example, trees offset the heat island effect by reducing the average temperature under a tree canopy by 5-10 degrees. Apply that to your yard and you realize your own trees are probably keeping your house cooler. Even if your house is air conditioned, your trees still mean less strain on the AC.
And next time you are cruising around in your air-conditioned car, consider that a tree canopy over the road reduces the surface temperature by 35 degrees. Saves tremendously on tires. And roads don’t get as beat up.
Stay tuned as we put together a video showcasing Myles' recent statewide effort.
Honolulu Community College (HCC) is home is to an epic true banyan tree with a storied history intertwined with TOC and the urban growth of Honolulu. If you haven't seen it, take a minute to swing by Kokea Street to take note.
HCC is preparing to build a new structure on campus in what is currently a tree-filled parking lot. The Outdoor Circle consulted with the Administration on the project proposal and this what we learned:
We strongly urged HCC’s Administration to find a way to keep the banyan tree and build their ATTC building. Current plans call for the building to be next to the banyan tree. Because banyans have aerial roots, it is possible to trim the banyan and train it to grow into the courtyard and away from the new structure.
This banyan has storied roots. It is the last known survivor of six cuttings taken from the banyan tree that once stood at King and Keeaumoku Streets. The Outdoor Circle fought long and hard to save that 100-year-old banyan tree from the widening of King Street. After a year-long effort, the wider road won and the tree was unfortunately removed. Before it died, however, six pieces were carefully cultivated and re-planted around Oahu in 1968. The only cutting known to have survived is this tree in the parking lot of Honolulu Community College.
This historic tree provides extremely valuable environmental services (for free), including sequestering carbon, capturing stormwater, and providing shade that reduces energy costs.
It would be a shame to lose such a value member of our urban forest, especially in these days of increasingly hot days in the city. If anyone is interested in helping to see how to save this tree and build the new ATTC structure at HCC, please click here to send us a note.
Historic bridges along Hana Highway are getting a structural make-over that is expected to take 50 years to complete. The painstaking process of dismantling the bridges and re-constructing them will result in stronger, safer bridges while preserving the historic feel of the area and the bridges themselves.
Unfortunately, this process will also have a dramatic impact on the trees along this historic highway.
The Chair of TOC’s tree committee is consulting with the project manager, Fung Associates, to ensure that every possible protective measure is taken to keep trees in the ground. As well as to ensure that where tree removals are necessary, replacement trees are planted when construction is complete.
TOC consults with Samkoo on new condo
Kapi‘olani Boulevard is expecting a new building this summer. Korean condo developer, Samkoo, is constructing a 45-story condo to provide affordable housing in downtown Honolulu. Mahalo to Board member, Steve Mechler, for meeting with developers, architect and landscape architect on March 20th to go over their plans for landscaping and area trees.
A representative of the project said that this is Samkoo’s first building in Hawaii and they wanted to be sure to make a good first impression.
The building will provide all affordable housing (1-3 bedrooms) and is designed within the existing zoning limitations. Their proposal calls for widening the public sidewalk and enlarging the planting wells for street trees. This is good because the current planting wells are too narrow, forcing tree roots to bunch up in the planting space and push up surrounding concrete. In the process of constructing the building, two monkeypod trees will be removed. These trees have been hit by cars and restricted by the small planting space, so they are not in good condition. When construction is complete, Samkoo will install two new comparable monkeypod trees nearby -- one immediately across the street and the other in place of the current driveway. They expect to breakdown this summer.
Save the Trees, Save the City
Culvert City in Los Angeles was featured in CityLab's article "You want your city to thrive? Look to its trees". It is a very informative, quick read that highlights the valuable information we can learn about our urban forests through the i-Tree program developed by the USDA. Check it out and find out the economy value of the trees in your yard and throughout your community.
The article also highlights the value of old-growth trees to the overall health of cities and the need to have an urban forest master plan to ensure our cities' forests thrive for future generations.
Of course, most interesting to us is what CityLab had to say about tree maps -- and it is all good:
"Mapping exercises are incredibly useful for urban forestry," says Pamela Palmer, a landscape architect and president of Artecho, the design firm that's working with Culver City on its plan. "They help us fine-tune which trees to plant where and identify areas where a change in planting strategy is needed." Herbertson adds that easy-to-read maps and charts generated from Culver City's tree inventory have been effective tools for generating public interest and feedback, and believes they'll encourage buy-in and approval from the city council.
And not to put too fine a point on it, they reminded us that:
Increasingly, cities have recognized that trees provide not only environmental benefits and curb appeal—they're also good for business.
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.
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.
Exceptional Trees Brochure
"OUR VIEW: Hawaii's parks need attention"
Editorial from the Honolulu Star-Advertiser on Saturday, Jun 07, 2014
Thanks to the editorial board of the Honolulu Star-Advertiser for highlighting the critical need to invest in our public greenspaces. Below are excerpts of their editorial. Also, big mahalo to the Trust for Public Land for publishing an excellent report ranking Honolulu against other major cities on the quality of its parks. We could not agree more! With your support organizations like The Outdoor Circle can collaborate to improve public park space throughout the Hawaiian Islands! Click here to show your support!
"As Oahu's population increases and urban redevelopment crowds more people into the close quarters of high-rise living, creating and preserving vibrant green spaces for recreation and relaxation must be a higher priority. It's much better for the city if those green spaces are on ground level, open to all, rather than private aeries limited to the wealthy denizens of a single luxury building.
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.
Mother Waldron Park Renovations
Black tarps currently surround Mother Waldron Park, a registered historic landmark and a beloved urban park in downtown Honolulu. The park is undergoing renovations as part of the mitigations for the newly completed Halekauwila Place. Stanford Carr Development committed to improving the park by planting 15 new trees, including a new Royal Poinciana on the ewa-makai corner of the park, as well as repair the park’s irrigation, re-seed the grassy open area, and renovate the playcourts. Renovations are expected to take several months to complete.
The Outdoor Circle will be keeping watch over the renovations, so you can expect project updates to be posted here.
In case you missed it, click here to watch Andrew Pereria's story on transit trees.
Also, here is the story from The Star Advertiser regarding bus billboards.
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.