What Happened to the Trees?


Gisele Bisch

The trees are cut down after the windy and rainy weather from the past few months

Grown to be a part of the view at the upper campus, the trees behind the performing arts building were immediately noticed by students when they were cut down.

With the high winds and rough weather frequently occurring on campus in the past few months, the maintenance staff cut the trees due to safety issues. These safety issues were especially seen after a whole tree (as well as branches from other trees) fell in previous months. Members of the Kamehameha community determined that the best solution to avoiding these problems was to cut the trees down entirely.

Kai Wainee, Kamehameha’s head of landscape, confirmed how trees pose as a danger to those on campus. “In December 2018, a large Eucalyptus tree fell during a high wind event crushing one car and damaging others that were parked along Girls Road,” said Wainee. “Thankfully, no one was hurt, but the risk and concern became clear.”

In a recent Ka Mōʻī survey on Instagram, several students shared their perspectives on the issue. “They are liabilities in this stormy weather,” said one student.

“Admin wants to focus on student safety,” said another student. “I believe that [this] was their main focus.”

After seeing that tree fall in the middle of the road, I’m relieved they cut those trees down

— Kanoe Igarashi

Of course, trees develop their root structure to hold themselves upright, taking many years to create a composition strong enough to combat the weather. However, because the soil gets saturated in rainy, windy weather, many trees with weaker root systems are unable to support their weight. Likewise, some trees may begin to lean to one side due to disturbed root systems from the weather, and the hilly environment for these trees, in particular, sabotage their chances of remaining upright. Thus, the roots commonly move around in the soil as the wind is funneled below the tree’s canopy, soon tumbling over.

Ridge Kaauwai, a junior at Kamehameha, spoke about his perspective on the trees being cut down. “I don’t think it’s bad if the trees were going to fall down eventually. If they cut it, it can be facilitated instead of the trees falling unexpectedly and potentially hurting people,” said Kaauwai. “It causes a lot of unwanted traffic, too. I think it would have been better if they tried to relocate it instead.”

Current junior, Kanoe Igarashi, commented on the situation as well. “After seeing that tree fall in the middle of the road, I’m relieved they cut those trees down,” Igarashi said. “Considering how much traffic the road [to upper campus] gets, the trees served as a big hazard to the drivers. I definitely feel safer.”

“Of course, I’d be sad if there were no reason to cut down the trees,” said Igarashi. “But I think the safety of everyone is more important.”

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