On Saturday, May 14, 2016, students from six Saipan schools attended the Micronesia Islands Nature Alliance’s 2016 Schools for Environmental Conservation final workshop, where they shared their final presentations at Pacific Islands Club.
In its eigth year, SFEC is a program that works with Saipan high schools to raise awareness about issues facing our island environment and is funded through generous support from the Department of Interior.
With guidance from MINA and their teachers, students developed school-focused Conservation Action Plans to address conservation issues they see facing their community related to the year’s theme. To address this year’s theme, “Learning About, Interacting With, and Actively Conserving Saipan’s Watersheds,” presentations at the beginning of the year were given by employees of the Bureau of Environmental and Coastal Quality, Jihan Buniag, Becky Skeele, Dr. Ryan Okano, Avra Heller, and intern Carey Demapan.
Focusing on the watershed theme, Mount Carmel School’s CAP aimed to prevent runoff by restoring walkways and plant-life by building a rain garden in an area on campus that frequently flooded. Their next steps are to integrate the rain garden project into the upcoming year’s curriculum for science classes and an expansion to other sites on campus.
According to senior Thomas Manglona II, “Participating in MINA’s SFEC program allowed us to learn outside of the conventional classroom. My classmates and I gained valuable environmental knowledge and were able to apply it in our projects directly. We did not read about it in a textbook—MINA allowed us to engage in real life discussion and be involved in the process firsthand. Every school ought to join MINA’s effort. As youth, it’s our moral obligation to take care of our environment and not stand idly by expecting someone else to take the lead. On a much larger scale, MINA has allowed us to do just that.”
Representatives from Kagman High School’s CAP team had a mission to conserve rain water and use it to restore the trees and plants around their campus that were destroyed by Typhoon Soudelor. To do this, they planted 20 native plants and trees around the campus and installed five rain barrels in areas on campus most affected by overflowing water to help water the plants. As a result of their project, they were able to successfully restore greenery on campus.
According to the KHS team, “KHS has never looked more green. We plan to pass on the responsibility to upcoming club officers, maintain all plants on campus, watering them with the water collected in the bins, and install a compost pile.” (PR)