Saipan Tribune, Tuesday, June 20, 2006
Beautify CNMI kicks off tree planting project
Story by Ferdie de la Torre
The Beautify CNMI's subcommittee on restoration officially kicked off yesterday morning its tree planting project with a symbolic planting of four flame trees along Beach Road near the 13 Fishermen's Monument in Garapan.
Rep. Cinta Kaipat, Saipan Mayor Juan. B. Tudela, restoration subcommittee chair Ken Kramer, Division of Parks and Recreation director Tony T. Benavente, and Department of Public Works special project coordinator Joseph Muna Mendiola led the ceremonial shoveling of soil for the Beautify CNMI's first planted tree.
Kaipat said it is only the beginning of their effort to beautify the CNMI by looking at various sites on island to plant flame trees and other beautiful trees and flowers "that will help enhance the beauty of our islands."
Kaipat recalled that his late father, Francisco Borja Kaipat, when he worked for the agriculture program for the Marianas in the 1960s, led a group of people who planted about 800 to 900 flame trees on Saipan.
"The old flame trees that we see today are the product of that work," said the representative, who is behind the Beautify CNMI campaign.
She said she is not sure where his father got all the flame tree seedlings, but she believes he got them from Hawaii where he did a lot of training then.
"This has become a kind of family tradition. My late brother, Saturn, who worked for the Marianas Vistors Bureau, also worked on the planting of flame trees in [the] Marpi area," she said.
"Now, I'm here sort of standing in to continue the tradition and I am so thrilled that people like Ken [Kramer] and all the wonderful people of the Beautify CNMI campaign who also believe that we need to plant more trees," Kaipat added.
Kramer said the four flame trees are symbolic of the many trees that their group is going to plant in various areas on the island.
When asked how many trees or plants they are aiming for, Kramer was quick to respond: " As many as it takes to make this place a nice place to live in."
Aside from flame trees, Kramer said they are also going to plant gold showers, plumerias, coconut trees, and other types of trees.
The Division of Parks and Recreations provided the flame trees for planting.
Tudela said the tree planting is one of the projects of the Beautify CNMI.
"Today we will be planting trees to show the public that we're still interested in having the trees grow for the shade and for the beautification of the island," Tudela said.
Angelo Villagomez, a member of the restoration subcommittee, earlier said that members and volunteers, in conjunction with some government agencies, are going to replace some of the damaged and dying flame trees on Beach Road.
Villagomez said the tree planting will also be along Airport Road, Middle Road, and the northern part of the island.
Beautify CNMI is a coalition of different government agencies and private sectors. Its mission is to support a "comprehensive and collaborative partnership between the citizens of the Commonwealth, the government and private sectors, and non-profit organization by establishing a comprehensive beautification campaign through enhancement and enforcement of legislation through public education on recycling, restoration and waste management."