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Sunday, April 20, 2014

Knights love turtles

Mount Carmel School students gather for a photo after helping turtles. (Contributed Photo) By JANELA REVILLA and KUINO CAMACHO
Special to the Saipan Tribune

Mount Carmel School’s freshmen class took part in the preservation of marine life on Saturday, Nov. 11, gathering at Wing Beach early morning to observe and learn about sea turtles and their nests.

Every year, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration allows students to engage in a Sea Turtle Watch, a field activity in which participants are able to get a firsthand look at the early stages of sea turtle life. The program includes a census of hatched and unhatched eggs.

Thomas Manglona, the freshmen class president, coordinated last Saturday’s event in connection with Project Citizen, an initiative under teacher Rosiky Camacho’s NMI History class.

Students hiked to the location where NOAA biologist Tammy Summers gave a brief introduction regarding the site and its purpose. After the orientation, the freshmen class cleared up the shore to locate turtle nests. This process required the students to record the nests’ depth and temperature. Most importantly, they counted the number of eggs in the breeding grounds. Thirty baby sea turtles were later released into the ocean. Unfortunately, a few baby turtles were found dead in their nests and the students buried them in the sand along with farewell notes. In the end, the class dedicated a banner to the sea turtles.

The Turtle Watch provided the class with a greater understanding of sea turtles. Not only did it promote marine conservation, but it also encouraged these students to spread awareness.

Manglona was especially delighted with the result of the program and said, “My class is thankful to Tammy Summers for her time and support in providing us with this great experience. We look forward to more projects involving the CNMI sea turtles and public awareness.”

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