Eleven sixth-graders from several middle schools on Saipan were treated to a tour of the NMI Museum last Friday as part of their participation in the Ocean Conservation Camp of the Mariana Islands Nature Alliance that ran from June 14 to 18.
MINA’s Tasi Watch Rangers and members of the Northern Marianas College’s Environmental and Natural Resource Organization joined the students in checking out the exhibits at the museum, which had docent Archie Ajoste walking the group through exhibits that featured artifacts and photos that depicted how early peoples of the Marianas lived off the land and ocean.
Since the tour served as a culmination of all that the students had learned at the camp, Ajoste focused on how NMI history relates back to the importance of ocean conservation.
MINA project manager for its Students for Environmental Conservation initiative Jolly Ann Cruz said that the museum visit was important for this upcoming generation of future ocean stewards.
“They were enthusiastic and fully engaged to see where we came from, how we are presently living, and what we can do to change our habits, so that our resources still provide and are sustainable for future generations. As Pacific Islanders who live off our natural resources, our actions on land affect the sea,” said Cruz.
Cruz said the tour was a first for many in their group. “This visit to the [NMI] Museum was a first for most of the participants, and as organizers of the tour, we feel that this is one of Saipan’s attractions that everyone can enjoy and learn from about our past. …We would like to encourage everyone to take the time to experience what the NMI Museum of History & Culture has to share about our collective heritage,” said Cruz.
Ajoste was happy to see that the camp members were engaged during the tour, and spoke of the importance of getting the youth educated on the CNMI’s rich culture and history.
“The kids…had fun and kept asking questions. … [They were a] very pleasant group. This is actually what we wanted to do, [keeping] traffic coming in, educating the young generation [on] our history and culture, and [passing] it on to others,” said Ajoste.
The NMI museum can be found along Middle Road, across the street from Sugar King Park. It is open Monday to Friday from 9am to noon, then 1pm to 4pm. On Saturday, its hours are 9am to 3pm. Those with further questions or inquiries should call 664-2160.