Message from the Executive Director
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 organization and its branches.
The Outdoor Circle was pleased to hold its annual meeting and optional luncheon at the Hale Koa Hotel on August 26th, 2017. There was a special informative tour of some of the plants and trees provided before the luncheon by the dedicated groundskeepers at the Hale Koa Hotel, which makes up a significant percentage of green space in Hawaii. This tour had a second component after the annual meeting where Dr Brian Bagnall, president of the Greater Waikiki Outdoor Circle led a walking tour of the heritages on the wider property of Ft DeRussy. During the annual meeting, members were provided with updates on the year of what The Outdoor Circle has been working on, including updates on legislation which could seriously weaken our existing signage laws, and members also heard of various successes that the organization and its branches had over the year. Dr Bagnall was also a guest speaker who eloquently spoke of the serious and continued need for The Outdoor Circle due to continued threats even after a century, and that there is simply no other organization which commands the respect and has the moral authority of The Outdoor Circle in protecting Hawaii’s scenic and natural beauty. Dr Bagnall spoke other topics relevant to the organization, mong these was the need to address visual light pollution and the dangers this presents to not only the beauty of the islands, but our health. Dr Bagnall’s talk also included a perfect introduction about some of the newer and exciting projects the organization is involved in and handed over the podium to Myles Ritchie, The Outdoor Circle’s Programs Director.
Myles led members through a fast-paced and informative presentation on some of the various programs that TOC has been working on, including the Carbon Neutrality Project, the Exceptional Tree Initiative Map update and the Kailua Citizen Foresters Project and its proposed expansion. One particular program of interest is the Google Trekker Program, where Myles updated the members on how TOC was selected at the first nonprofit in Hawaii by Google to work on this prestigious program to map scenic areas of interest that are off-road and inaccessible by car. When completed the project will cover a wide range of sites on most of the Hawaiian Islands, from parks to trails to gardens and much more. This work was supported by a grant from HECO, which we sincerely appreciated receiving and with whom we have been fostering a positive and productive relationship. You’ll read more about these projects in this and future issues of The Greenleaf.
Also at the annual meeting, we were delighted to present some awards to those whose work deserved some special recognition of contributions and unwavering support for The Outdoor Circle. We were delighted to honor with a President’s Meritorious Award to Kathy Whitmire, Chair of the Public Affairs Committee for her dedication to following a myriad of issues, especially those on the legislative front and keeping us informed and on track. It is only through our devoted volunteers that our organization remains vibrant and vigilant, and Kathy exemplifies the best in those traits. Our sincere thanks goes to all members of each committee and to the board of directors who work so hard on The Outdoor Circle’s behalf both statewide and at the branch level. As TOC only has part time staff members, we rely greatly on the help of members of our board and volunteers from the membership at large. This year, each staff member wanted to acknowledge the special contributions from one person with a Staff Meritorious Award, the one person without whom our work would have been virtually impossible to complete. Jackie Wah, our Operations Director, recognized Diane Harding for her positive can-do spirit and efforts on a wide variety of fronts in the operational affairs of the organization. Diane also exemplifies the best of our organization with her dedication and energy she devotes to TOC’s mission. Myles Ritchie, our Programs Director recognized Dr Brian Bagnall, who has worked with Myles on a many projects, from developing an excellent website template for branches to neighborhood board presentations, to assisting and attending a number of events representing The Outdoor Circle. Brian’s tenacious spirit and enthusiastic nature compelling the organization forward is vital for not only Myles, but for the organization at large. Finally, Winston Welch, TOC Executive Director recognized TOC Treasurer Kathleen Bryan for her great contribution of time and energy to ensuring that the organization’s finances and general health are sound and advancing positively and offers wise counsel throughout the year. TOC also awarded its Corporate Partnership Award to Hawaiian Electric Company for its support of the Google Trekker program and inclusion of TOC in a number of venues and events where TOC could display information and increase awareness of the organization, its mission and its programs. An award for new beautification landscaping for the Park Lane project was presented the McNaughton Group, which contributed significant funds to the city to offset tree loss during its development to benefit Ala Moana park across the street where many larger trees have been recently transplanted for general community enjoyment. Finally, our sincere thanks to our Community Partnership Award to Kaulunani, a longtime partner of The Outdoor Circle and supporter of its mission, vision and projects. Specifically, The Outdoor Circle has been working with Kaulunani on the Kailua Tree Street Mapping Project, with over 4000 street trees mapped, their benefits provided and other important information, all collected by Citizen Foresters of the area.
Many thanks to you for your continued support of The Outdoor Circle and its mission over the past year.
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.