With this year’s Green Gala centered on the “Bring Back our Trees” campaign, the Micronesia Islands Nature Alliance honored three environmental tree-planting heroes—Tracy Burgess, PDM Promoters, Inc. (Kinpachi Restaurant), and Hopwood Middle School—at Friday evening’s gala at the Fiesta Resort & Spa Saipan.
Green Gala Environmental Champion awardee Tracy Burgess, who is an environmental science teacher at Saipan Southern High School, was recognized for demonstrating “extraordinary commitment to the environment and conservation of our natural resources.”
Burgess teaches and actively engages her students in environmental and community services. One example: “I made it mandatory in my class to get the kids be active outside of the classroom for at least 85 hours [and dedicate it for the environment].
The Green Business of the Year Award went to PDM Promoters, Inc. (Kinpachi Restaurant/Saipan Awaodori team). Kinpachi Restaurant CEO and director Misako Kamata received the award.
PDM Promoters, Inc. was recognized for embracing the green culture throughout its business, which has been initiating monthly cleanups in Garapan, with the help of student volunteers. Aside from this, they also maintain plants and trees and install storm drains.
Hopwood Middle School was this year’s recipient of the Environmental Heroes Award.
Despite Super Typhoon Yutu’s complete devastation of the Hopwood campus, its students have pulled together and implemented tree planting around their campus, as well as a recycling initiative to keep plastic bottles out of the ocean and out of the landfill.
Hopwood teacher Vinni Orsini recalls how the school, upon getting their tent campus, made it a mission to beautify the campus. The initiative converted what could have been a “very dusty school” into one with “beautiful grass that has been growing really well.”
“When we got our tent campus, we thought the most would be to beautify it with …flowers and plants,” Orsini said. “We started a program where students can learn how to grow plants and, at the same time, learn how to garden and landscape.”
Hopwood’s principal Dr. Rizalina Liwag, who received the award on behalf of the school, also dedicated the award to teachers who pooled their efforts to make sure that they provide a beautiful environment for the students.
The Green Gala is an annual fundraising event organized by MINA to fund its many environmental programs that protect and preserve the island’s natural resources. For more information about MINA programs, contact 670-233-7333 (REEF).