Deborah Ward

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!