About 400 fourth and fifth grade students from four elementary schools on Saipan arrived in droves at the American Memorial Park yesterday for the first day of the Environmental Expo hosted by the Division of Environmental Quality.
The students of Grace Christian Academy, and the Koblerville, Dandan, and Gregorio T. Camacho elementary schools learned about the various programs and projects of different agencies and organizations dealing with environmental issues from the 22 booths set up at the site.
Jihan Buniag, DEQ education and outreach coordinator, said the highlights of the expo included the Division of Fish and Wildlife booth, which brought one of its safety boats, and the Asia-Pacific Academy of Science, Education and Environmental Management with its whale vertebrae exhibit.
Other participating agencies and groups were Tan Holdings, Mariana Islands Nature Alliance, Saipan Seventh-Day Adventist Clinic, Public School System Special Education, Healthcare Corp.’s Non-Communicable Disease Bureau, Historic Preservation Office, the Youth Environmental Ambassadors, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service.
The three-day expo, which is open from 8:30am to 2:30pm, is part of the celebration of Environmental Awareness Month this April, with the theme “My Air, Your Land, Their Sea, Our Environment,” emphasizing the shared aspect of the environment.
Environmental engineer Emanuel Borja, who is the Environmental Awareness Month committee chair, said that they are pleased with the great turnout and expect more students to see the expo today and tomorrow.
“We also have a great set of presenters this year and that’s what makes the expo a success,” Borja told Saipan Tribune.
Some of the students who were at the expo yesterday have already written on the “Wish for the Environment” banner, which showed messages advising others on how they can help protect and save the environment.
The expo is particularly aimed at fourth and fifth graders as the expo is aligned with their learning benchmarks. “We hope that in the future, we can open the expo to more grade levels,” Buniag said.
She also expressed hope that the students’ visit will equip them with something they can share with their families and friends in school or in their homes.
“We want to provide the students with educational tools and help them become more aware about environmental issues. We hope to achieve that,” she added.