The Mariana Islands Nature Alliance honored environmental science teacher Tracy Burgess, PDM Promoters, and Hopwood Middle School for their nature stewardship initiatives at the last Green Gala. Who do you think should get the accolades this year?
After a break in the celebration last year due to COVID-19, MINA’s Green Gala is back, and is slated to be held on Sept. 10, Friday, at the Aqua Resort Club in Achugao.
The Green Gala is one of the major environmental fundraising events on island, where everyone can take part in raising critical funds needed to help protect and conserve the CNMI’s natural resources.
“The Green Gala is MINA’s largest fundraising event of the year and raises funds, enabling us to sustain our important work,” MINA program director Becky Ada Furey said.
For the past year, despite the pandemic, MINA worked on building and strengthening local capacity involvement in natural resource management through its Tasi Watch program and, in partnership with local natural resource agencies, it promoted active community involvement in conservation efforts.
“We currently have 12 Tasi Watch community rangers that serve as the eyes and ears of environmental enforcement. MINA always has the goal with the Tasi Watch program to give our rangers a comprehensive set of skills, on-the-job experiences, and basic environmental values that will help prepare them for future careers in natural resource management and responsible leadership roles in their local communities,” Furey said.
MINA, through its Schools for Environmental Conservation program, continues providing experiential environmental science learning to middle school students and teachers.
“Through experiential learning from these natural laboratories, students and teachers not only realize the critical role the CNMI’s natural resources play in the islands’ sustainability, but also promote and encourage environmental stewardship throughout the island. MINA has been leading this program since 2007,” Furey said.
To encourage island climate change resiliency, MINA also continues to partner with community groups in planting native plants and trees, with the support of CNMI Forestry.
Aside from these core programs, MINA also installed last January 10 monofilament recycling bins around Saipan, for the fishing community to dispose of their used fishing lines; and hosted a marine debris contest at this year’s 37th Annual Saipan International Fishing tournament where participants were challenged to collect any marine debris while fishing during the tournament.
“Our rangers also had the additional task to conduct weekly hauling of our Adopt-a-Bins located around Saipan. These public recycling bins help prevent trash from entering our waters,” she added.
MINA also has begun work for the assessment, removal, and disposal of marine debris from Super Typhoon Yutu, specifically in areas of concern such as the Tinian Harbor, and coastal areas, shallow waters and reef lines that surround the islands of Tinian and southern Saipan, according to Furey. “The projected outcome of this effort will be the restoration of wildlife and endangered species habitats that are at risk of degradation caused by marine debris.”
All these work from MINA are supported by project grants and generous contributions from local businesses and community members, and from fundraising events such as the Green Gala.
Tickets for the Green Gala are $100 per person and can be purchased at the MINA office in Gualo Rai. To become a sponsor and for more information on the Green Gala, or MINA’s various projects, contact 233-REEF (7333) or email firstname.lastname@example.org.