Yuknavage is 2018 Environment Champion


The Micronesia Islands Nature Alliance presented its 2018 Environment Champion award to the co-owner of a local pharmacy at the annual Green Gala last Friday at the Fiesta Resort & Spa Saipan.

The 6th Annual Green Gala, organized by MINA, presented the 2018 Environment Champion award to Brabu Pharmacy co-owner Kathy Yuknavage, among other environmental champions recognized that night.

The other honorees were the Mt. Carmel School Eco Club as the 2018 Green Hero and the N15 Architects as the 2018 Green Business of the Year.

The theme for the night was the International Coral Reef Initiative’s International Year of the Reef.

In an interview, Yuknavage told Saipan Tribune that she did not know what she did to receive the award, especially since her contributions to the environment consisted mostly of her acting as a conduit to connect stakeholders.

“…We [along with Kuen Hee Han of the Marianas Visitors Authority] have been trying to address some of the red flags we are seeing on beach locations,” said Yuknavage, adding that she also does work with the Bureau of Environmental and Coastal Quality’s water quality surveillance.

Yuknavage said they have been working with the Department of Lands and Natural Resources to reduce foot traffic in the Grotto, one of Saipan’s dive sites.

“My section, water quality, does the testing [of water]. I do water quality reports every two years, and these go to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and when we start seeing these upticks of red flags at the Grotto, it is very concerning for us,” she said.

“I do my best to partner with all the agencies that have a stake in [the environment],” she added. Those agencies include the MVA, the Division of Public Health, DLNR, and more.

Yuknavage told Saipan Tribune that she couldn’t take all the credit for the award.

“…I can’t take credit…because my work would never get done without all the people I have partnered with. There is not a project I have ever done on my own; it is always in coordination with other people and other agencies,” she said. “It was the only way it could have been done.”

Erwin Encinares | Reporter
Erwin Charles Tan Encinares holds a bachelor’s degree from the Chiang Kai Shek College and has covered a wide spectrum of assignments for the Saipan Tribune. Encinares is the paper’s political reporter.

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