ELP took a few minutes to catch up with ELP alumnus Marti Townsend (’05) and find out more about her work as the Executive Director of the Outdoor Circle. The Outdoor Circle was formed by seven women in 1912 as part of the then – Kilohana Club. For over 100 years, the Circle has helped to keep Hawai‘i clean, green, and beautiful through environmental advocacy, beautification projects, and public education. Its accomplishments include: the statewide ban on billboards, statewide protections for “Exceptional Trees,” protected Diamond Head as a state monument and park, statewide requirement to underground utility lines in new residential areas, defended Chapter 343. The Outdoor Circle’s branches throughout the islands engage in hands-on beautification projects, including: a 10-acre nature park in Waimea, 275-foot predator fence to protect Uhiuhi and Wiliwili in Waikoloa, 4-mile bike path near Haleiwa, hydroponic vegetable garden at the Women’s Community Correctional Center in Waimanalo, Malama the Trees Educational Conference on Maui, hundreds of tree plantings and give aways, plant sales, and community workdays throughout the state.
Marti was hired as the Executive Director in 2012. She first became familiar with the Circle in 1999 as a volunteer on the campaign to prevent a 138 kV electrical line over Wa‘ahila Ridge in Manoa. Reviewing the Environmental Impact Statement for that project was one of the reasons she became interested in environmental law.