Dear Outdoor Circle Family,
We are delighted to present this issue of The Greenleaf to catch you up on some of the activities of our statewide organization and the wonderful work and initiatives of our branches. You will also find some of our current projects and successes in this edition of The Greenleaf. We recognize our outgoing and incoming board members who do so much for this volunteer organization. Finally, we invite you to take advantage of Foodland’s “Give Aloha” Campaign through the end of the month—read below for more details and how to participate.
As the planet tilts north on its axis and we ostensibly leave behind some of the hottest months of the year, we all increasingly recognize the value of cooling shade trees. In Honolulu, working with partners, we continue to press for an agenda by the city and other organizations to increase our tree canopy in urban areas to 35% by 2035 from 22% coverage currently. This is not a Honolulu-only issue--statewide, urban or rural, we are seeing declines in canopy tree coverage, and we must reverse this trend. While this increase in canopy coverage is a lofty goal and will require a concerted and sustained effort by the state, counties, cities and large landowners and private individuals, we can achieve this and simply need to look back on all that The Outdoor Circle has accomplished over more than 106 years in planting canopy shade trees throughout our islands.
We are delighted to announce that TOC’s Exceptional Trees mapping project now has been updated with ‘geotags’ on virtually all ETs statewide. We have developed an app, available for download, to find out more information about exact locations and information about each tree, with photos and details. This same information is repeated on our website—please have a look and nominate more trees to this Exceptional Tree list.
We continue working with our friends at the Kaulunani Urban & Community Forestry Program and SmartTrees Pacific on programs to map trees using trained ‘citizen foresters.’ This map then becomes a comprehensive tool to determine exact locations where the need for new trees is the greatest and replanting will be in concert with the City and County of Honolulu. We hope to expand this program to other areas.
An exciting project we have recently completed is an all-islands ‘Google Trekker’ mapping of trails, parks, scenic areas, botanical gardens and more. Selected by Google as its partner in Hawai’i, a 360-degree view 11 camera backpack was worn to film and allow a viewer to ‘virtually’ hike or travel all around some of Hawai‘i’s most exquisite scenery and natural beauty from the comfort of their homes. This is perfect for those who wish to explore an area before a trip, in lieu of a trip or for other reasons and does not hinder those who cannot view these places directly for whatever reasons. TOC was uniquely identified by Google as a partner because of its storied history, continued advocacy and current programs such as ‘citizen forester,’ and use of technology in the mapping of Exceptional Trees statewide. TOC is proud to partner with Google on this innovative and cutting-edge program.
More recently, we have partnered with the University of Hawaii to begin a large-scale reforestation effort across Oahu that we plan on expanding out to all islands where there is interest. This program is called the “Carbon Neutrality Challenge” and teaches students about the benefits of trees and how planting them will not only help reduce/offset their carbon footprint, but also help increase the size and health of our urban canopy and important forests. As of now, we have already planted hundreds of native plants comprised of various species, with thousands more planned for this upcoming year. Our upcoming event on October 27thwill be the launch event of the second phase of this program, with the goal of planting 1,000 trees at our four sites in a single day.
TOC remains ever-vigilant regarding illegal signage and visual blight, with our visual landscape and view planes requiring constant attention as old and new threats emerge. This is a challenge that we confront daily and we appreciate your eyes and ears in the community to alert us to issues in your community. Newer challenges also include areas such as noise pollution or of light pollution and the destruction of dark skies and the problems excessive lighting brings. Our Waikiki Branch has been leading the charge on this and we expect more work on this area in the future.
Members, committee members and volunteers on projects locally and statewide are the lifeblood of our organization. We especially thank our outgoing board members Josie Bidgood, Kaui Lucas, Michael Moskowitz, and Paula Ress, for their dedication over their terms as board members and to the mission of The Outdoor Circle. We welcome new board members Mimi Bornhorst Gaddis, Christian Palmer, Jennie Peterson, and Scott Wilson, and know they will contribute much to the organization. They join continuing board members Steve Mechler, Diane Harding, Kathleen Bryan, Cheryl Langdon, Elizabeth O’Sullivan, Eric Hansen, and Lowana Richardson. We owe a great debt to all of our volunteers, serving as board members of the statewide organization and local branches, as well as the many others volunteers who give so much of their time and energy to the projects and concerns that keep our islands “clean, green and beautiful.” Thank you for all you do.
To continue to donate to The Outdoor Circle while you shop, TOC is again participating in Foodland’s “Give Aloha” program. When shopping at any Foodland or Sack N Save store during the month of September you can donate to TOC during the check-out process. Just use your Maika‘i card and mention to the cashier that you would like to donate, up to $249, to The Outdoor Circle (I.D. #77116). Foodland will match your donation on a percentage basis.
Because you value the work that The Outdoor Circle has done over the last century and will continue to do for future generations, an important way to maintain the health of this organization is to include us in your planned giving arrangements. Please contact your estate planner, attorney, or our office for more information on how to easily set this up. Future generations will benefit from your bequests, and you will join in the legacy of those whose generosity in estate planning has allowed their gifts to continue to ensure we will be able to thrive and keep Hawai‘i clean, green and beautiful.
We sincerely appreciate your continued support via your participation when a call to action is made, becoming active with your local branch, your gifts, and your membership, which allows us to speak with a louder collective voice to keep our islands clean, green and beautiful. Thank you again for your continued support of The Outdoor Circle.
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.