Sunday, April 29, 2012 at Manoa Valley Park Pavillion. Over a thousand trees and plants will be given away for free between the hours of 8 a.m. to 12 noon. You will be given choices of dozens of fruit, shade, and endemic trees. Arborists will be there to answer questions and give advice on the care and planting of trees. Our urban forest is diminishing day by day. In Manoa, new construction abounds with tons of concrete — for ohana additions, new homes, residential care facilities, added parking lots, space for boats and all kinds of storage.

Malama Manoa is taking a small step to increase the shade, diminish the glare, and make the island healthier. Trees offset many of these negative development impacts. Studies consistently show that landscaping increases the value of a property and its desirability. Mature trees enhance a property’s appearance. Planting trees, grass and shrubs will pay big dividends. It can cut energy bills and can reduce your water and electricity bills. It can keep house walls and roofs cooler while keeping the direct rays of the sun away.

Trees keep the ground cooler. Studies prove that neighborhoods with tree-shaded streets can be as much as 10 degrees cooler in the summer than nearby neighborhoods that have no shade. Shade produced by trees will save the amount of water used for watering. Another study revealed one mature tree can rid a home of heat that would have taken two central air conditioners to cool. The U.S. Dept. of Energy estimates that trees, properly placed around a home, can save as much as $350.00 in heating and cooling costs every year.

Air quality is improved. Trees help anchor soil to prevent erosion. Trees reduce runoff, saving the high costs of drainage ditches and storm drains. Noise pollution is an overlooked problem. Trees play an important role in deadening noise and absorbing unwanted sound. Studies have shown that belts of trees 100 feet wide and 45 feet long can cut highway noise in half. Trees reduce smog. And of course, trees play a vital role in defining a community’s character and sense of place. It is one of the special characteristics of Manoa and we would hate to lose this in the future. Negative changes in neighborhoods start very subtly, and over time the transformation is suddenly evident. So the importance of trees to our quality of life requires not only that we protect them and maintain them, but we must remain proactive and try to balance the destruction of so many mature trees that have grown for so long. We all have a sense that trees are a critical component of numerous ecosystems and provide habitat for songbirds, small forest animals and wildflowers.

The Outdoor Circle, who supports this community tree event, states “trees enrich our visual environment, break the monotony of endless sidewalks and miles of highway, and soften the outline of the harsh cityscapes.” By April 29th, over a thousand trees will be propagated for distribution to people from all over the island. This year, the varieties of trees and plants will include kukui nut (which is the State tree), monkey pod, hao, plumeria, papaya, mountain apple, red and green ti leaf, money tree, Hawaiian white hibiscus, avocado, false wiliwili, monsterra, valentine vine, snow bush, sea grape, coconut, areca palms, rosy apple, coffee, and many more. Our featured tree will be the taro plant, a staple for past and present Hawaiians. Boy scouts from Troop One will be on hand again to help load trees.

We hope everyone will spread the word through the community about this upcoming event. Mark your calendars! Do something about the hot weather. At the 1st tree giveaway in 2004, oil prices were selling at $50 a barrel. Oil prices are now over $100 a barrel. This little step of planting one tree will go a long way. You are sitting under the shade today because someone has planted a tree. Save our island. Plant a tree!

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