As part of its efforts to step up the conservation of precious marine resources in the CNMI, the Mariana Islands Nature Alliance recently posted “community rangers” at various beach sites on Saipan to help monitor prohibited activities as well as heighten awareness about conservation practices.
The 14 community rangers, who vary in age, have undergone numerous trainings so they can better understand their role as environmental stewards and be keenly aware of the many threats that human activities pose to valuable coral reefs and its inhabitants. Although the rangers receive a minimal stipend for gas and other expenses, the rangers receive no salary.
“It's an honor to be a community ranger because I know that I am doing my part to help protect our environment, not just for myself, but for future generations,” said Ben Saures, a resident of San Vicente.
The community ranger initiative is part of the MINA Tasi Watch Program, which was developed to build and strengthen local capacity involvement for near-shore marine management at Laolao Bay.
Primarily seen at Laolao Bay, the community rangers can be seen patrolling and cleaning the beaches, monitoring various sites for unusual activities and educating visitors and local residents about protecting our natural resources.
“While others in their generation are unaware or even indifferent to the CNMI's environmental threats and issues, these community rangers work together every weekend to ensure that the CNMI's visitors and residents are aware of the fragile nature of our reefs and other marine resources and the need to protect them,” said Sam Sablan, MINA executive director. “These men and women are here because they want to see environmental change in their community.”
MINA is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization whose mission is to conserve and restore the array of habitat that sustain the Commonwealth's natural biodiversity and heritage. The organization is composed of mostly volunteers. To learn more about the Tasi Watch Program, visit www.minapacific.org. (MINA)