Matson Cleanup program
Waimea Outdoor Circle volunteers recently participated in their 2nd annual Matson’s Ka Ipu Aina (container for the land) Program by cleaning up Waimea. The project included removing litter, weeding, trimming and generally sprucing up the center of town. The final workday included tackling the County of Hawaii’s Senior Center located at the main intersection of Waimea. The before and after results were quite noticeable to the community!!
Ulu La`au Educational Pavilion building under way
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!
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.
Mayor Caldwell is proposing a major, multi-year renovation of Ala Moana Park. He is seeking public input on how to improve Hawaii’s “People’s Park” through an online survey website:
Please jump in and get involved!
At the first public meeting on the idea of renovating Ala Moana Park, the Mayor said all options are on the table and that he is open to any and all ideas. That could be a good thing, it could also be a bad thing -- all depends on which ideas are floated. That is why The Outdoor Circle along with many other concerned organizations and residents are keeping a watchful eye on this process. We could use your help to make sure no important details are missed.
The Mayor did announce that the park will pilot a new form of public restroom and repave the running track around the park.
Some of the ideas and concerns already raised at the public meeting and online include:
More to come in the next few weeks! Please contact us here if you are interested in being more involved in this public consultation process.
By Myles Ritchie
“What is ground-truthing? The easiest response is that ground-truthing is physically going to the desired object (in this case an Exceptional Tree) and obtaining the data in person that confirms previously collected data, or generates primary data that has never been collected for the specific target.
The Outdoor Circle began its initial tree mapping process with two graduate students from the University of Hawaii at Manoa, Nate and Spencer. The two of them worked together to complete Phase One of the project, which involved inputting previously collected data about Hawaii's Exceptional Trees into an open-source program called “Google Fusion”.
Phase Two, which we are currently in, involves verifying or "ground trotting" all of the data inputted during Phase One. Much of the data is outdated. The Exceptional Tree Act was enacted in 1975 and counties have had varying success maintaining their paper records of protected trees. The results have been typical of what is to be expected with data collected long ago: removed/dead trees, inaccurate coordinates, etc.. This just further demonstrates the importance of the ground-truthing process is when it comes to generating an accurate map for the public to use.
Ground-truthing requires a GPS unit, a tree-height finder, and an industrial tape measure to get the circumference of the tree. It is faster to ground-truth trees with another person and it provides a second opinion. A second opinion is important when assessing the condition of a tree, and deciding which new trees should be potential nominees. Also, the average park-goer might be curious and want to ask questions. By having a second person, the ground-truthing tasks can still be carried-out by one individual (although slower), while the other does the equally important task of educating the public on our goals for this project. As a side-note, by having two or more individuals mapping, it also makes the process safer and a lot more fun!
On March 4, I (along with three other incredible OC members) went to Hawaii Island to collect data for the map, and I am proud to say that Phase Two for the entire island was completed. Furthermore, I would like to say mahalo to our #GIVINGTUESDAY donors. Your donations helped pay for an experience that I will use in my future career as an environmental impact researcher, which will involve documenting and mapping the various ways humans impact the environment. From this, the goal of implementing positive changes to current policies and practices regarding environmental conservation is something I am extremely passionate about and look forward to accomplishing.
About the Author:
Myles serves as Programs Intern for The Outdoor Circle. He received his bachelor’s degree in Environmental Geography along with minor degrees in geology/geophysics and history. He is studying for his master's degree at UH-Manoa in Geography. He is from Toronto, Canada.
Waimea Outdoor Circle announces another volunteer day in Ulu La'au, the Waimea Nature Park, this Saturday, April 18, 9:00-Noon.
There are jobs for all ages and abilities, no knowledge of Hawaiian plants is necessary, we will happily train. Water, gloves and tools are provided as is a snack of fresh fruit and home baked cookies served at noon.
We have the 3rd graders from Waimea Elementary coming next week and in preparation for them mulching trees with mac nut mulch we need to weed the areas they will be working in before the mulch is applied. Co-chair Carol Hendricks will direct you to the places she needs worked on.
Regular mowing and weed eating will also be done as the rain has everything growing rapidly.
Waimea Nature Park 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. For more information contact park co-chairs Carol Hendricks at 885-4453, Roz Wright at 885-2763 or park maintenance chair Ken Block at 885-4753.
Photo above is of one of the many memorial trees in the Park. This is Brigitte Rutger's ohia, located just above the waterfall in bed "G". It is full of liko and flowers, truly a living memory for a wonderful lady, one of Waimea Outdoor Circle's founders.
Photo by Ken Block
by Myles Ritchie, Graduate Intern
Natural, beautiful and majestic: these are the characteristics defining the many varieties of Exceptional Trees throughout Hawai`i. From koa to monkeypod, this state is fortunate to have trees that are not only aesthetically pleasing, but extremely beneficial to society.
Knowing the location and physical characteristics of the various exceptional trees across the state is crucial to documenting and understanding the benefits of protecting our urban trees. In response to this need, The Outdoor Circle has begun a statewide Exceptional Tree Mapping (ETM) project which aims to do just this with the hopes of maintaining and increasing the beauty of Hawaii.
Benefits of Exceptional Trees
In an ever-increasing urbanized environment, the need for trees (especially exceptional ones), has never been more apparent. In such urban areas, trees can help offset the heat island effect by reducing the average air temperature under a tree’s canopy by 5-10°F and the surface temperature of a paved road by 35°F. Furthermore, these trees are able to not only remove increasing levels of carbon dioxide from our atmosphere and replace it with oxygen, but also other harmful pollutants such as: carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide and sulfur dioxide. Trees are also able to prevent stormwater runoff, which is a significant vector for pollutants in streams and nearshore waters. Reducing stormwater runoff occurs as a result of the increase in available permeable surfaces that trees provide when compared to alternatives such as paved roads. The roots of trees also hold valuable topsoil in place, which is essential to the tree’s survival, along with the ability to facilitate future growth of vegetation in the area.
Aside from the benefits trees provide for the environment, they are also helpful when it comes to the mental and physical well-being of humans. Countless studies have shown that surrounding oneself with trees and other natural settings improvements: cognitive function, learning capabilities (especially in children) and memory skills. These studies have also shown that exposure to natural environments reduces stress levels and reduces depression symptoms as effectively as anti-depressants. Most interestingly, studies show that having access to this natural resource helps to facilitate community interaction and involvement.
The Exceptional Tree Act
Established in 1975 with the help of The Outdoor Circle, the Exceptional Tree Act designates an exceptional tree as “a tree, stand or grove of trees with historic or cultural value, or that by reason of age, rarity, location, size, aesthetic quality or endemic status, designated by a county arborist advisory committee as worthy of preservation”. Currently there are over 1000 exceptional trees throughout the Hawaiian Islands; with more about to be added to the registry when Bill 84 adopted by the Honolulu City Council. While the majority of these trees reside on Oahu (926), each of the other major islands also hosts many exceptional trees. Though large, this number does not reflect the many trees in Hawaii that are worthy of exceptional tree status. It is critical to add new exceptional trees to the list through the nomination process.
The nomination process for exceptional trees is a fairly easy process to complete and offers incentives for homeowners wishing to nominate a tree on their property. The first step is for landowners to fill out a tree nomination form. Then, a certified city arborist assesses the tree and the Arborist Committee makes a recommendation to the County Council on whether to recognize the tree. Once approved by County Council, a tree owner can receive a tax break of up to $3,000 every three years. Additional information about the nomination process, as well as county nomination forms are available at this link.
The Exceptional Tree Mapping Project
In response to the need for an interactive map that can be easily accessed by the general public, as well as a database consisting of useful information related to the state’s exceptional trees, The Outdoor Circle has begun its Exceptional Tree Mapping project. Over the next several months, each tree will be verified and data from each tree will be gathered. This process involves physically visiting each registered tree and obtaining various characteristics including: geographic coordinates, height, circumference, condition and any other notable facts when available (year planted, who planted it, etc…). This data is complied into our open-source ETM database. Click here to see the map and learn more about our process.
We need your help
The Outdoor Circle is looking for community support to gather data about these exceptional trees. For those wishing to volunteer, click here, which includes a PDF of how to obtain data in the field, as well as a FAQ section.
The Outdoor Circle will be holding an Exceptional Tree Map volunteer training exercise on Saturday, February 28, 2015 at 9 am outside of the Iolani Palace Band Stand. For those wishing to attend this exercise, please RSVP by emailing TreeMap@outdoorcircle.org and prepare to have an exciting couple hours learning about ground-truthing and other aspects of conducting fieldwork!
With the completion of the Exceptional Tree Map, The Outdoor Circle hopes to increase the number of nominations for exceptional trees, helping to preserve one of the state’s most valuable and beneficial natural resources. The Outdoor Circle hopes to not only provide a valuable resource to the general public who wish to learn more about exceptional trees, but also to identify areas in need of tree nominations. Public participation is essential for the long-term success of the Exceptional Tree Map project and hopefully this interactive map is the first step in obtaining this much desired long-term goal.
The 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.