Club Reaches High On Pruning Project

Lani-Kailua Outdoor Circle volunteer

The motto “Keep Kailua Clean, Green and Beautiful” took on a literal meaning last month for Lani-Kailua Outdoor Circle at Women’s Community Correctional Center.

The group contracted to have four Exceptional Trees expertly pruned by Trees of Hawaii Inc. on the prison grounds. The tree-trimming partnership began in 2002 between LKOC and certified arborist Abner Undan, owner of Trees of Hawaii, and it has remained a true community project.

For starters, Undan gives a generous nonprofit discount on the job, which costs thousands of dollars. Funds to pay for the trimming come from LKOC’s annual “I Love Kailua Town Party” and other donors. The trees, all monkeypods, were pruned Aug. 26-28, which also served to highlight the group’s two other ongoing horticulture programs with the women inmates:

* In “Learning to Grow,” members and volunteer experts spend three days a week in the prison garden, teaching the women to successfully cultivate and harvest their own produce for the cafeteria, as well as flowering plants and native species. Running since 2008, this program’s Hawaiian Garden was a showcase to the World Indigenous People’s Conference delegates in May of this year.

“This program also allows them to connect with their indigenous roots, as well as to go on to productive jobs in the private sector in agricultural and plant-related fields,” said incoming LKOC president Diane Harding. “We provide them with their gardening equipment, hydroponic system and hands-on educational classes.”

* Community Service Workline, launched 15 years ago, has a crew of WCCC inmates out in Kailua and Lanikai to clean and maintain LKOC plantings at Alala Point, the Kailua Road corridor and Pohakupu Park. Donations pay for weed eaters and other landscaping equipment, as well as crew lunches outside the facility.

“These co-operative programs not only save money in plant and street maintenance,” Harding added, “but provide the women an opportunity to give back to the community.”

So when you drive on Kalanianaole Highway, look for these Exceptional Trees, mostly visible from the highway, and enjoy their beauty.

Hawaii’s Exceptional Trees are selected by a committee of arborists who evaluate rarity, age, form, placement and more.