In a first for the Micronesia Islands Nature Alliance, the organization hosted its first “Mardi Gras”-themed mixer to raise funds for their biggest outreach program of the year called Schools for Conservation.
Over the weekend, MINA staff and supporters gathered at the Godfather’s Beach Bar at the Fiesta Resort & Spa Saipan where a portion of every drinks sold was given to the organization. MINA also sold beads and raffle tickets from 3pm to 10pm so that participants can appear in appropriate Mardi Gras outfit.
According to MINA executive director Roberta Guerrero, the event allowed MINA supporters to come together, discuss environmental conservation, and just enjoy the company of one another while also supporting the alliance.
“It’s basically just to have people come out and get together, get to know one another, and just mix and mingle,” she said.
Guerrero said funds would go toward operational expenses because the alliance has a lot of projects. “Every dollar really helps toward our mission,” she said.
A hefty amount of the funds raised will go to funding one of the alliance’s biggest outreach programs of the year that aims to educate high school and middle school students on what they can do to ensure safety for coral reefs.
“This year is the Year of the Coral Reef so we have a big project right now that is called Schools for Conservation and we have, I believe, seven schools participating in this program,” she said.
According to MINA program manager Becky Furey, the program started back in 2005 to encourage teachers to incorporate coral reef ecology in their lesson plans. The program has since transitioned to involving both students and the teachers.
According to Furey, the workshop and orientation will be held on March 3. Students will have the opportunity to meet with specialists to learn more about coral reefs.
The students will also learn about conservation action plans and will be tasked with the development of conservation action plan for their campuses.
Students and teachers will be provided stipends by the alliance at the end of the program.
The schools that will participate are Mount Carmel School, Dandan Middle School, Saipan Southern High School, Kagman High School, Francisco Sablan Mendiola Middle School, and Tanapag Middle School. MINA is still waiting for confirmation from other participating school.