Plant. Picture. Post: Join the #Plant500Marianas Trees Challenge

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Posted on Dec 10 2020
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Let’s plant 500 Trees by Jan. 31! Take on the #Plant500Marianas challenge by planting a tree, taking a photo, and tagging #plant500Marianas on Facebook and Instagram. Organized by the Lady Diann Torres Foundation, Miss Northern Marianas Earth Maria Lael Terlaje, and Miss Marianas Shannon Sasamoto, the goal is to plant 500 trees by Jan. 31, 2021 where for every tree that is planted, a dollar is donated to the Micronesia Islands Nature Alliance for their environmental projects. Photo shows community members during a tree planting activity organized by #plant500Marianas beneficiary MINA. (Iva Maurin)

Are you ready for a really easy but worthwhile challenge?

Yes? Then take on the #Plant500Marianas challenge, and ‘Plant. Picture. Post.’

First lady Diann Torres, with Miss Northern Marianas Earth Maria Lael Terlaje and Miss Marianas Shannon Sasamoto, is challenging all of us to collectively plant 500 trees by Jan. 31, 2021, where, for every tree that gets planted, a dollar will be donated to the Micronesia Islands Nature Alliance.

MINA is an environmental conservation organization that has been serving the CNMI community for 15 years now, through community-and science-based conservation programs that enhance and sustain the island’s natural environment, and culture.

In an interview with Saipan Tribune, the first lady shared that #Plant500Marianas came about during a filming of a recently released web event for the Lady Diann Torres Foundation where she challenged the two reigning CNMI queens, Terlaje and Sasamoto, to take on the “social media-powered” tree planting project.

“We were all discussing platforms, advocacy, and realized we all had one thing in common, we cared for our islands and the environment… Our islands lost a lot of trees due to recent disasters, invasive species so, what better way, better time to replace those,” Torres said.

Sasamoto shared that the project is a great way for the community to stay active all while seeing the fruits of their labor flourish. “We are able to provide fruits as healthy snacks, plant native trees, and strengthen our ties to our culture since our culture is heavily reliant on our environment.”

“Trees, we benefit so much from oxygen, to even beautifying [our island]. The more we plant trees, especially our native and endemic trees, [the more we] promote the prosperity of our islands for our future, especially for our young children,” Terlaje added.

Super Typhoon Soudelor in 2015 and Super Typhoon Yutu in 2018 both heavily devastated the islands and uprooted trees, and so all the more the need for everyone to support campaigns promoting the trees’ growth and regrowth, especially native ones.

How to take the challenge
“This pandemic started a trend and that is the love for planting. The challenge is to plant 500 trees. However they want to take a photo of it, whether it be a selfie with the plant, or a group photo with the tree, as long as they upload, tag us with a #plant500marianas,” Torres shared.
So what do we need to do to take part in the challenge? Simple, “Plant. Picture. Post.”

Plant. Plant a tree, could be native ones or fruit trees (coconuts, bananas, mango) in your yard or garden. You could support local business and purchase seedlings from local nurseries, or you could also ask relatives if they have some. If you have seedlings yourself, you could propagate, and share with others who would want to join the campaign.
If you don’t have your own space to plant trees, make sure to consult first with CNMI Forestry or MINA on where it is best to plant trees on the island. We need to be mindful as to where we plant the trees, as we don’t want to be planting trees where there is a sewer line or a power pole. It is always good practice to consult first with people who know where best to plant these trees.

Plant. Picture. Post. Take on the #Plant500Marianas challenge by planting a tree, taking a photo, and tagging #plant500Marianas on Facebook and Instagram. (Iva Maurin)

Picture. Take a photo with the tree that you have planted. It can be a selfie or a group photo, as long as it is with the tree, it doesn’t really matter.

Post. Post your photo with the tree on Facebook and Instagram. Tag and follow the social media accounts of the Lady Diann Torres Foundation (@ladydianntorres), Miss Northern Marianas Earth (@missnorthernmarianasearth), and Miss Northern Marianas (@missnorthernmarianas). Make sure to use the #plant500marianas so they can account for all those who have taken the challenge.

‘A little goes a long way’
Again, the goal of #Plant500Marianas is to reach 500 trees by the end of Jan. 31, 2021.

Sasamoto stressed that taking the initiative to be a part of the project will help MINA with their continued environmental efforts as well as the CNMI community as a whole.

“We want to promote the trees for growth and prosperity of the island. This is a great opportunity for the youth to get involved and for people to get involved in the environment. For every tree that is planted, a dollar will be donated to MINA, which is an organization that promotes trees and planting trees,” Terlaje added.

MINA is very thankful to have been chosen as beneficiary to the challenge. Aside from LDTF and the NMI queens, the environmental organization also extends its appreciation to all their donors and sponsors, volunteers and partners, schools and supporters who have been with them through the years.

“Please know that we are truly thankful and proud of the conservation progress you’ve helped make possible for the past 15 years. It is your continued support that sustains our mission and makes all the difference.”

As for other environmental projects by the LDTF, Torres shared that they have been supporting groups and individuals in their efforts to protect the environment.

“Because the focus of Miss Earth is the environment, this would be the second year we are assisting in a planting effort to help keep our air clean. In addition, I am working with first lady Debbie Remengasau of Palau and her team with other ocean campaign.”

The first lady also reminded everyone that every action towards environmental protection—planting trees, remembering to re-use, reduce, and recycle, helping in ocean cleanups—counts.

“Our islands are small and beautiful so we must do everything and anything to keep it safe, clean, and healthy for generations to come. A little goes a long way.”

To learn more about #Plant500Marianas, email ladydianntorres@gmail.com.

Iva Maurin | Author
Iva Maurin is a communications specialist with environment and community outreach experience in the Philippines and in California. She has a background in graphic arts and is the Saipan Tribune’s community and environment reporter. Contact her at iva_maurin@saipantribune.com
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