East Hawaii Island Branch: Our 4th successful Arbor Day tree giveaway was held in November 2022, in conjunction with The Outdoor Circle’s Shade Tree Centennial, where 775 trees were distributed. Mahalo nui to Myles Ritchie, TOC Programs Director, our quintessential grant writer! Our membership is up to 50 members and growing, and our social media is reaching more folks all the time. We continue to work with Hawai‘i County Parks and Rec and private shopping areas on tree care and maintenance. We saved two mature monkey pods from being cut down and planted several kukui trees with the Boy Scouts. After several years of working to revitalize Banyan Drive, the East Hawaii Branch, in conjunction with The Friends of Historic Banyan Drive, is finally beginning to see work being done to save the banyans.
Lani-Kailua Branch: LKOC, in partnership with Smart Trees Pacific, held a highly successful November Arbor Day tree giveaway in Kailua, where hundreds of trees and native plants were given away to Oahu residents from East to West and North to South shores; LKOC continued its volunteer workday events at Kalama Beach Park to remove invasive plants from the grounds surrounding the historic Boettcher Estate home and continued its “Learning to Grow” education program at the Women’s Community Correctional Center, where hydroponic lettuce is grown and harvested by students for sale locally; LKOC was warmly welcomed back by the community when it hosted a very successful “I Love Kailua” Town Party this past April, after a three-year hiatus due to COVID.
Mānoa Branch: The Mānoa branch held its 1,000 Tree Giveaway in November 2022, a huge endeavor as many of the trees and plants were started from cuttings and seedlings. Keeping with community sentiment, as well as environmental concerns and the proposed site being preservation land, the Mānoa Board of Directors voted against the Manoa Banyan Court housing development, proposed by the Lin Yee Chung Association on the forested parcel adjacent to and owned by the Manoa Chinese Cemetery. The branch continued to be in contact and advisement with the University of Hawai‘i on building projects, such as the Atherton House; and continued community service projects like clean-ups of Kamānele Park and Mānoa District Park. The General Membership Meeting in May 2023 saw high attendance and ushered in a vibrant and varied new slate of officers, headed by new president Gordon Aoyagi.
North Shore Branch: The North Shore Outdoor Circle had another busy year. We continued to work in Waimea Valley on the last Monday of every month to give Torch Ginger Alley some love and attention, and collaborated to hold a successful tree and plant giveaway on Hawai‘i Arbor Day. We went on a rainy, but lovely, field trip to the Benedictine Monastery of Hawaii in Waialua. Also we won second place for best aid station for the Haleiwa Metric Century Ride for the Hawai‘i Bicycling League. Our biggest news ~ our Vice President, Rex Dubiel Shanahan, managed to secure funding of $500,000 from the City for the planning and design of a new and re-constructed Ke Ala Pupukea Bike Path.
Waikoloa Village Branch: Did you know that gardening could lower the risk of dementia by 36%, decrease stress, increase quality of life and sense of community? That's what the 50+ gardeners in WVOC's Community Garden enjoy. Four years into this effort, the garden boasts a safe house for Monarch Butterflies, examples of aquaponics and espalier trees as well as vegetable and flower garden plots. The Waikoloa Master Gardeners gather in the garden once a month to share seeds and information. WMG has plans to create a demonstration seed producing garden plot helping to create a sense of community.
Waimea Branch: The Waimea Outdoor Circle is in the final stages of our roadway paving project into Ulu La‘au the Waimea Nature Park. Construction began at the end of March 2023 but this has been an ongoing endeavor that began over four years ago, with the help of Senator Lorraine Inouye and the successful award of a State of Hawai‘i Grant-in-Aid. A true community project, with little cost to our branch, the generosity of Goodfellow Bros. and Ali‘i Builders made this possible through significant donations of labor and materials by each company. We navigated through the construction process by closing the park to vehicle traffic and limiting group activities, when we were in the middle of heavy equipment operation, open trenches and concrete pouring. We couldn’t be happier with our new road!
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.