4th, 5th graders exposed to nature at Environmental Expo


Fourth and fifth grade students on Saipan have been gathering at the American Memorial Park for the Bureau of Environmental and Coastal Quality’s Environmental Expo.

The expo is one of BECQ’s main events for the Environmental Awareness Month being observed this April.

The half-day events held for three days starting Tuesday showcase the CNMI’s environmental and natural resource groups in conducting widespread outreach.

“This is a one-stop shop for them to learn just what our natural resource agencies our doing,”BECQ-Division of Coastal Resource Management education and outreach coordinator Jihan S. Buniag said.

According to Buniag, they chose the fourth and fifth grade classes as these are when students begin learning about taking care of the environment.

“Usually during fourth and fifth grade they are already learning about coral reef learning systems, they’re learning about pollution, they’re learning about all these different threats and impacts at this age,” Buniag said.

“We based it on their curriculum and their content standards, we adjust our presentations based on what they’re learning,” she added.

Both BECQ’s divisions, the CRM and Environmental Quality were present to showcase their various programs such as Waste Water, Earthmoving, Erosion Control Branch, Pesticides and Storage Tanks, Safe Drinking Water Branch, Site Assessment and Remediation, Laboratory, Toxic Waste Management, Water Quality Surveillance & Non-Point Source, Coral Reef Initiative, Permit Section, Enforcement, Education and Outreach, Coastal Resources Planning, and Marine Monitoring Program.

“All of DEQ’s programs are here communicating the importance of their programs and how the community can help,” Buniag said.

“The presenters that we have lined up are all from the natural resource agencies as well as our partners,” she added.

These includes the Micronesia Islands Nature Alliance, Commonwealth Utilities Corp., Department of Lands and Natural Resources Sea Turtle Program, DLNR-Division of Fish and Wildlife Marine Protected Area Program, and DLNR-DFW enforcement.

Aside from having fun, the students also learn about how they can take care of the environment that they will inherit.

“They’re having being out of the classroom and just learning hands on what the different programs are and what we are doing to protect the islands for them,” Buniag said.

“We always reinforce the message of the importance of what we’re teaching and then also reinforcing what they can do to help,” she added.

Frauleine S. Villanueva-Dizon | Reporter
Frauleine Michelle S. Villanueva was a broadcast news producer in the Philippines before moving to the CNMI to pursue becoming a print journalist. She is interested in weather and environmental reporting but is an all-around writer. She graduated cum laude from the University of Santo Tomas with a degree in Journalism and was a sportswriter in the student publication.

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