From Debbie Ward (the Big Island DW)
Oct 5, 2010
Lorin, my mentor, the tree hugger
Lorin, more than any other person in Hawaii, influenced my botanical
passions and conservation activism. I met Lorin when I worked with
Bonnie Goodell and Geary Mizuno at Foster Garden during CETA days in
1978. He generously invited me to join and eventually co-lead Friends
of Moanalua Gardens hikes and expeditions, on O`ahu, Moloka`i and
Hawai`i island. Lorin had an exceptional wealth of knowledge of
Hawaiian history, culture and ethnobotany. He loved the endemic plants
that developed as a result of adaptive radiation in the islands, and he
cursed the invasive plant introductions. There were no grey
areas--native plants ruled!
Lorin loved puns and word plays; he described the horrifying road ruts
on the Poamoho access road--ka lua `ai ka`a (car eating holes). He told
the story of his friend, who in trying to recall the name of kopiko,
called it heso-li`i. Lorin explained the confusion: ko is small in
Japanese, and piko is belly button in Hawaiian, heso is belly button in
Japanese, li`i is small in Hawaiian. (The
kopiko, in the coffee family, has small glands on
the back of the leaf along the mid-rib that look like little piko.)
I was hiking with Fred in the Alaka`i Swamp on Thursday, and memories
of Lorin were with me many times that day, as I marveled about his
influence on my life, and on my friends. I thought at the
time that when I got home I would write to him again, to let him know
how grateful I am. I hope now that my intent reached him, although my
letter would be too late: Lorin passed the next day.
I will always love his passion for tree hugging, his generosity and
courtesy to me, and the tremendous influence he had on a generation of
youth, many of whom have become scientists, conservation professionals,
activists and hike leaders.
Thanks to all of you, too!