The Lyon Arboretum recognized by the American Planning Association for its restoration efforts

University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
Posted: Oct 13, 2006

HONOLULU — The Harold L. Lyon Arboretum, operated by the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, together with local architectural firm Group 70 International, recently received the American Planning Association (APA) Hawaiʻi Chapter‘s Environment/Preservation Award for their planning efforts that included initiatives on how to restore the research facility. The award recognizes planning work done to nurture, perpetuate or enhance the environment or the preservation of an area‘s historic, and/or cultural resources.

"It was an unexpected surprise to learn that while our planning efforts were focused on a functional plan that would allow us to move forward with the Arboretum, APA found our efforts to be exemplary," said Gary Ostrander, UH Mānoa Vice Chancellor for Research. "We are both pleased and humbled by the award."

"This was a great collaborative effort of Lyon Arboretum and Group 70 International," said Clifford Morden, Interim Director of the Lyon Arboretum. "We are looking forward to making changes at the Arboretum that will help us rebuild a better facility in the coming years."

The awards jury commended the Lyon Arboretum and Group 70 International for their "diligent planning work to ensure that the Arboretum will continue to operate and grow as a research facility, education center, and cultural and environmental resource."

The winning entry was for the work prepared for an "After The Fact-Conservation District Use Application" (ATF-CDUA) that was submitted to the Office of Conservation and Coastal Lands of the Department of Land and Natural Resources earlier this year. Along with the ATF-CDUA, an environmental assessment and a management plan were also submitted.

The CDUA application outlined the facility‘s reconstruction plan to begin in 2007. The process will be carried out in three phases that will begin with renovation of the main building to meet ADA compliance standards. Restoration of the facility‘s full slate of children‘s, university and community education classes will resume once the building has been completed, scheduled for Fall 2007. Two cottages, including the education offices, will be rebuilt in Phase 2, followed by renovation of the remaining cottages in Phase 3.

The facility was closed to the public in late August 2004 because of health and safety issues, including the structural stability of some buildings, electrical shortcomings and the safety of pathways. Public access was allowed in early 2005, and limited volunteer activities and educational programs resumed, but some services and activities, such as the giftshop, remain closed. The Lyon Arboretum has increased full-time staff over the last year, and will continue to hire more in the coming year with the hope of resuming the facility‘s various commercial activities and services.


The Harold L. Lyon Arboretum is an independent organized research unit within the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa. Originally established by the Hawaiian Sugar Planters Association in 1918, the Arboretum encompasses 193.5 acres within Mānoa Valley on Oʻahu. It boasts one of the largest palm collections in any botanical garden, and major collections of Native Hawaiian, ethnobotanical, tropical and economic plants, as well as many others. Its major research emphases are on developing new plants suitable for Hawaiian gardens, and on utilizing micropropagation techniques in rescuing endangered Hawaiian plants. For more information, visit .

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