Monday, July 31, 2006

Add 146 trees to that total

Super volunteers Kyle Kaipat, Josiah Lizama, Juanita Fajardo, Adam Sablan, and Captain Carl Brachear pose after the planting. They have participated in every single one of our plantings so far. We will plant trees on the hill in the background in two weeks. That planting should finish up the Lao Lao project until next rainy season.

You can probably surmise from the first photo in this post that we had another planting this morning up at the Lao Lao revegetation project. 29 volunteers and staff from RC&D, CRM, DEQ, and CNMI Forestry participated in this morning's plantings.

Tim Lang of CRM, Jeremy Shaw of DEQ, and Ben Cepeda and James Babauta of CNMI Forestry led the planting (with a little help from me). We drove the 146 saplings and 400 putting seeds to the start of the trail leading to the revegetation site and the volunteers and staff carried them up to the top of the mountain.

We've already planted a considerable number of trees (575!), so we had to carry the trees further into the revegeation site. We had to form and reform a human chain three times to get the trees to where we wanted to plant them. Another factor making this planting more difficult was the size of the saplings. Many were bigger than previous saplings. Some of them were in 3 gallon bags. Do you know how heavy 3 gallons of soil is?

In addition to the 146 saplings, we also broadcast 400 putting seeds. This is how the broadcasting works: Angelo carries a hundred pound bag of seeds up the mountain (each seed is about the size of a baseball) and then Josiah broadcasts them in every direction. See the photo below for a visual.

Then here are the obligatory pictures of volunteers putting trees into the ground:

During the planting, Adam said to his Mom, "look, a grenade!"

The fighting on Saipan stopped on July 9, 1944. This grenade has been sitting on the Lao Lao hillside for over 62 years. Great find, Adam!

Once again the volunteers from MOVER did an amazing job with the planting. This was the sixth consecutive week of plantings for them. Thank you, MOVER!

As we posed for our post-planting picture, a group of about 15 kids showed up at the revegeation site. They were on a hike being led by one of the teachers that participated in the Outdoor Classroom Experience with Koblerville Elementary School. I was really happy to see her bringing more kids up there. That means that our program is actually working!

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Beautify CNMI asks for help!

Saipan Tribune, Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Utah Boys Scouts' help sought for tree planting
By Marconi Calindas

A delegation of Boy Scouts of America from Utah's Trapper Trails Council, who are currently conducting a one-week summer camp for CNMI Boy Scouts, have been asked to help in a tree planting activities this week.

Beautify CNMI representative Angelo Villagomez went to the Camp Lao Lao Bay in San Vicente yesterday to ask the group to participate in the upcoming tree planting activity on Thursday where over 175 seedlings will be planted across the island.

Trapper Trails Council crew adviser David Stone said he and his 16 members would be glad to help, together with 42 other Boy Scouts from the CNMI, as part of the camp's service projects. However, they are asking the community to help them with a means of transportation that could carry at least 60 individuals. The visiting group, composed of 12 Boy Scouts and a female scout, flew in from Palau Saturday morning.

Stone and four adults are spearheading the Camp Lao Lao Bay since Monday. The camp attracted at least 42 young boys from the CNMI, with ages ranging from 11 to 18. The scouts will be camping out for one week and will be engaged in activities aligned with the Boy Scouts' mission and vision.

"We had an opening camp fire night on Monday and we will end the activity with the Friday camp fire night, inviting parents of the boys," said Stone.

Friday's activities will include presentations from the Boy Scouts to show what they have done for the week.

Stone and the visiting scouts said the children from the CNMI are quick to learn and fun to work with. Stone is hoping that the children would absorb values that would help them become better citizens, fathers and husbands in the future.

He said the CNMI used to have camps attended by more than 100 Boy Scouts. "We hope to see that again in the future," said Stone.

Yesterday's activities included basic archery lessons, leaf weaving and other group activities related to daily survival.


The Trapper Trails Council brought in the only female scout in the team, Angela Porter, 18. Porter said she joined the troop because there aren't many girl scouts back in her hometown, Ogden, Utah. She said she has been enjoying her experience both in Palau and on Saipan.

The other Boy Scouts with her are Mike Hyer, Aaron Semadeni, Kyle Loveridge, Phillip Stone, Jared Stone, Josiah Rupp, Cameron Porter, BJ Williams, Spencer Hall, Nik Stay and Scott Major. Assistant advisers include Dr. Charles Bean, Darrell Rupp, Rick Porter, Philip Eborn and local BSA executive Neil Rasmussen.

Aloha Council and CNMI Scout master Al Cabael also lent a hand in the camp since yesterday. The camp is still open to interested boys. Interested parents can still drive their boys to the Camp Lao Lao Bay in San Vicente for registration.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Up Next: Logo Contest!

Marianas Variety, Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Beautify CNMI to launch logo design contest
By Cherrie Anne E. Villahermosa
Variety News Staff

BEAUTIFY CNMI, a coalition of government agencies, private companies and community organizations, will launch a logo design contest, according to Division of Environmental Quality spokeswoman Reina Camacho.

Camacho, who chairs the coalition’s outreach subcommittee, said the contest is open to all CNMI residents.

The contest will be launched next month but a meeting about it will be held at 3:30 p.m. today in the conference room of DEQ.

Camacho said the winning design should be attractive, original and meaningful.

It should also highlight one of the CNMI’s environmental assets, she added.

For more information, call DEQ at 664-8500.

“We don’t have criteria yet but we will give the participants some guidelines. We will explain to them what we are looking for,” Camacho said.

The contest is among the Beautify CNMI’s projects which include tree planting and recycling activities.

The group has already planted more than 1,000 trees along Beach Road and at the Laulau revegetation site.

Their most recent tree planting activity was held on Sunday, July 23 when 46 volunteers planted 450 coconut saplings along Beach Road.

The recycling subcommittee chaired by Tina Sablan of DEQ collected 300 pounds of aluminum cans and plastic bottles during the recently held Liberation Day activities and Micronesian Games.

Among the community organizations that have joined Beautify CNMI activities are Mover, Power Inc, CNMI Power, Pepsi/Pacific Trading Company, the Mariana Islands Nature Alliance, Ace Hardware, the Saipan Chamber of Commerce and individuals from various government agencies.

Beautify CNMI aims to enhance the beauty of the islands’ environment and quality of life through public education on recycling, restoration, waste management and enforcement of laws.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Letter to the Editor by the P.I.C.

I sent out this email to all of the people involved with Beautify CNMI...and the newspaper published it! It didn't mean for it to be a letter to the editor, but thanks!

Saipan Tribune, Monday, July 24, 2006

Just wanted to let everyone know that we planted 375 trees last July 17! That brings our total since June 19 up to 651 trees. We had 57 volunteers show up to help with the planting. Cinta Kaipat provided water, Tina Sablan provided donuts, and MOVER provided sandwiches and spaghetti.

Angelo Villagomez
Public Involvement Coordinator

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Do you speak Japanese?

Somebody is writing things about us on the Internet...but it is all in Japanese! The name of the website, translated literally into English is Saipan de Ekoraifu (Saipan de Ecolife?).

Click HERE to read the website.

Using my limited Japanese skills, I can pick up that the post from 7/23 is talking about our coconut plantings and erosion on Beach Road. The post from 7/17 is talking about, among other things, our Lao Lao revegetation project.

I don't speak (or read) enough to understand any more than that. I hope what they wrote shows us in a positive light!

1000 Trees!

With our planting of 488 trees along the beach this morning, the total number of trees planted by our island revegetation project stands at 1,139...and that is only since June 19th.

46 community volunteers, with coconuts, gloves, and shovels in hand, showed up at the 13 Fisherman Memorial at 8 AM to participate in the planting. About half of the volunteers were members of MOVER, the community group that helped us plant our first flame trees only one month ago. The other half were other concerned citizens.

In addition to the MOVER volunteers, we had help from Emily Gironda, Diana Felix, Juanita Fajardo, Adam Sablan, Zachary Sablan, Sid Cabrera, Kyle Kaipat, Dennis Cabrera, Joe Taijeron, EJ Lee, Carl Brachear, Cinta Kaipat, Josiah Lizama, AJ Lizama, Franklin Lizama, Brandon Lieto, Glen Hunter, and Tina Sablan.

Here we are planting tree number 1000. When it came time to put the sapling in the ground, every volunteer took a fistful of soil and threw it in the hole. That was Cinta's idea. Great idea, Cinta!

Pull Over; Plant That Tree!!!

For those who remember this tv cartoon theme song (and you know who you are!), follow along: "George! George! George of the Jungle. Watch Out For That Tree!!!"

Well, how many of you have heard the Beautify CNMI! version? You haven't? Well, here goes...

"Dave! Dave! Dave Selepeo. Pull Over; Plant That Tree!!!"

On a rainy Sunday morning earlier this month (July), Dave Selepeo was driving south on Beach Road minding his own business when he saw something that caused him to hit the brakes and pull over. No, it wasn't a dead animal! What he saw were a bunch of Beautify CNMI! Coalition members planting coconuts on the beach, just south of the 13 Fishermen Pavilion. When Dave was interviewed by MCV, the local tv news, this is what he had to say:

"I was driving by when I saw a bunch of people planting coconuts and then I saw the Congresswoman (Cinta Kaipat) ... and I decided to pull over and I helped plant a tree."

Thank you, Dave! This is precisely the type of spontaneous act from our community members that the Beautify CNMI! wants to encourage.

In just a few short hours, the Beautify CNMI! Coalition will be at it again. We'll be planting coconuts along Beach Road for the second time. If you happen to read this before 8 a.m. and find yourself in the vicinity of the 13th Fishermen Pavilion (our meeting point), do what Dave Selepeo did and hit the brakes. Pull over and help us plant a tree or two. While it'll only take a few minutes of your time to plant a tree, the joy and benefits you'll derive from this simple act will last a long time.

Can't spare a few minutes to plant a tree? No problem. You can help in other ways, too. We welcome donations of coconuts, drinking water, and food. Normally, I'd ask you to please call Angelo at 483-1078 if you would like to volunteer or donate. But since we'll be meeting at the 13 Fishermen Pavilion in a few hours, why don't you just stop by if you'd like to donate something for today's planting. Si Yu'us Ma'ase! Olomwaay! Thank You!

We also want to thank the following donors who donated coconut trees for our first plantings: Eugenio Sablan, Jack Sablan, Abdon Kaipat, Joe Itibus and Jerry Facey.

Today's collaborative planting efforts will once again be led by Angelo Villagomez, of RC&D and Beautify CNMI!'s Restoration Committee; Tina Sablan, of DEQ and Chair of Beautify CNMI!'s Recycling Committee; and yours truly, Rep. Cinta Kaipat, of the House of Representatives and Beautify CNMI!'s Chair of the Legislation Committee), along with our hardworking partners, MOVERS, other agency staff, and countless community members of our Coalition.

Beautify CNMI! is a coalition of various government agencies, private sector, non-profit organizations, private citizens and visitors working together to foster community pride through a comprehensive beautification campaign aimed at enhancing the beauty of our island environments and our quality of life through public education on recycling, restoration, waste management and enforcement of our laws.

P.S. This is my first post, so I hope it works!

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Just another Saturday in Saipan

This island is so beautiful. You don't have to look far; the beauty is all around you. Just open your eyes and take a look around.

This morning as I was driving along Beach Road I saw this:

Then much later in the day, just as then sun was getting ready to set, I looked up into the sky and saw this:

Flame Tree Fact Sheet - First Draft

I'm working on a Flame Tree fact sheet - here is the text from the first draft:

The first Flame Trees were brought to Saipan by Francisco Borja Kaipat when he worked for the Marianas agriculture program in the 1960s. He led a group of people who planted about 800 to 900 flame trees on Saipan. The oldest Flame Trees on island are a product of their work.

The Flame Tree, Delonix regia (family Fabaceae), is the state tree of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. It is also known by the names Royal Poinciana, Gulmohar, Flamboyant Tree, Peacock Flower, and Flame of the Forest. It has been described as the most colorful tree in the world. The tree's vivid flame red/orange flowers (there is a yellow variety, too!) and bright green foliage make it an exceptionally striking sight. Although it is native to Madagascar, it is widely cultivated and may be seen adorning avenues, parks and estates in tropical cities throughout the world. In Saipan they line Beach Road, the road to Marpi and the road to Ladder Beach.

Blooming in late spring through late summer, the flowers are large, with four spreading flame red or orange-red petals up to 8 cm long, and a fifth upright petal called the standard, which is slightly larger and spotted with yellow and white. Seed pods are dark brown and can be up to 60 cm long and 5 cm wide; the individual seeds, however, are small, weighing around 0.4 g on average. The compound leaves have a feathery appearance and are a characteristic light, bright green. They are doubly pinnate: Each leaf is 30-50 cm long and has 20 to 40 pairs of primary leaflets or pinnae on it, and each of these is further divided into 10-20 pairs of secondary leaflets or pinnules.

There are about 20-40 seeds in every Flame Tree seed pod. The seeds are bean size and are covered with a shiny membrane. Germinating the seeds can be a problem if the membrane is not removed. To remove the membrane, first file the seeds and then soak them for 24 hours. An easier method is to dip them in boiling water for 3-5 minutes and then let them soak overnight in warm water. The shiny membrane will start peeling in about 24 hours.

After planting, the seedlings should start to sprout in about a week. Flame Trees are very fast growing, about 5 ft per year until maturity, and tolerant of a wide range of well drained soils from acidic to alkaline and from loamy to gravelly. They can tolerate direct sunlight, but it is best to provide protection from strong winds.


Thursday, July 20, 2006

Thursday's Environmental Page

Saipan Tribune, Thursday, July 20, 2006

Planting begins for Lao Lao Revegetation Project
Story and photos submitted by Tim Lang, CRM NPS Manager

After months of planning and preparations by CNMI Watershed Group agencies, tree planting is underway in the badlands of the Lao Lao Watershed. Following on-site instructions from Vic Guerrero of DLNR Forestry, over 60 volunteers planted 125 saplings and 250 cuttings high on the hills above Lao Lao Bay last Sunday, July 16.

The trees were planted in an area that had been burned, possibly by hunters illegally setting fires. When forest is removed from the land, whether by fire or other methods, soil erosion frequently results. This erosion causes soil depletion from land where it is needed, and sedimentation of streams and coastal waters, leading to algae blooms and loss of corals. In fact, the primary purpose of the Lao Lao revegetation project is to reduce sedimentation and subsequent coral loss at the Lao Lao dive site.

Sunday's volunteer planting effort was led by Beautify CNMI, in collaboration with Watershed Group agencies. Participants included the Filipino group MOVER; Beautify CNMI members, including organizers Rep. Cinta Kaipat and Angelo Villagomez of Marianas Resource Conservation & Development Council; teachers and students from Hopwood Junior High School; community volunteers; and agency personnel from the Dept. of Lands and Natural Resources Forestry Division, Division of Environmental Quality, and Coastal Resources Management Office.

According to Kaipat, one of the Forestry staff members was quite amazed with the teamwork shown by the Beautify CNMI volunteers.

"He stated that the Laulau tree-planting effort, which resulted in the planting of over 300 trees that morning, made their jobs so much easier," she said. "It was fun and it felt great to do something good to protect our environment and help beautify it. I was thrilled to see more new faces and was especially glad to see more young volunteers. Thanks to all the Beautify CNMI partners for another successful tree-planting effort."

Villagomez said the revegetation project "fits perfectly" into the Beautify CNMI's mission. "Not only will these native trees provide habitat and food for our native wildlife, they will also slow the erosion of the hillside into the bay. This will ultimately improve the health of the coral reef, which will in turn improve the diving for the tourists and the fishing for the locals," he said.

Following a revegetation plan prepared by the Natural Resources Conservation Service and DLNR Forestry, six species of tree saplings were planted: Sosugi (Acacia Confusa), Kamachili (Pithecolobium dulce), Banalo (Thespesia populnea), Gaogao flores (Erythrina sp.), Daok (Calophyllum inophyllum), and Madras cacao (Gliricidia sepium). These species were chosen for their ability to tolerate the harsh conditions of the badlands and, in some cases, for their nitrogen fixing properties. Pago (Hibiscus tiliaceus) cuttings were also planted. Once grown, these fire resistant trees are intended to serve as breaks should a fire occur in the future. However, the best defense against fires is to prevent them from starting, and all involved agencies encourage the public to report illegal burning activities to the Department of Public Safety at 664-9000, or 911.

Tree saplings for the project are being propagated at the DLNR nursery in Kagman. Forestry has already prepared more than 600 saplings for the Lao Lao revegetation project, in addition to the hundreds of other saplings they prepare for planting projects throughout the island. Fiesta Resort is also donating saplings for the project. Through grant awards from the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration, CRM has provided materials and supplies for an expansion of the nursery, propagation of saplings, and planting activities. DEQ is also contributing materials and supplies for propagation and planting through a grant administered by the U.S. Coral Reef Task Force. Overall planning, funding and coordination for the Lao Lao Watershed Restoration project have been conducted through the CNMI Watershed Group, which includes representatives from all of the aforementioned local agencies.

Volunteer planting activities at Lao Lao will continue on weekends for another two to six weeks. If you are interested in joining Beautify CNMI and/or the Lao Lao revegetation effort, contact Angelo Villagomez, RC&D Public Involvement Coordinator, at 236-0894, or Tim Lang, CRM NPS Manager, at 664-8322.

Hiking up to the revegetation site.

Volunteers forming a human chain to pass the trees up the hillside.

Vic Guerrero of CNMI Forestry explains the six different tree species we planted.

After Vic went over the trees the volunteers spread out to do the planting. Who gave that kid that pick? (Just kidding, Tim was next to him the whole time)

Gus and Kyle Kaipat pose for the camera.

PSS teachers Diana Felix and Bree Reynolds inspect their work.

Volunteers spread out to plant the trees.

Posing with the MOVER volunteers.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Getting the Word Out

In two months Beautify CNMI has been featured repeatedly in both of Saipan's daily newspapers, the Marianas Variety and the Saipan Tribune, we've been on the KMCV 6 O'Clock news, and we've been interviewed by local radio personality Harry Blalock on his morning show.

You can add Beach Road Magazine and Island Locator Magazine to the media outlets that have featured us. Both of the magazine are free, so pick up your copy today!

Island Locator July 2006 Issue:

Beach Road Magazine July 2006 Issue:

1000 trees?

This could be the weekend.

Beautify CNMI has planted 651 trees since our first planting on June 19. I think it is very likely that we will reach the 1000 tree milestone this weekend because we have two tree plantings scheduled.

On Saturday we are returning to the Lao Lao revegetation project to plant more local species. The volunteers for this planting are members of CTSI, another local community group. We are going to meet at the Santa Soledad Church at 8 AM and then hike up to the revegetation project.

This planting is part of a project to slow the erosion of the Lao Lao watershed. This project will improve the health of the coral reef in Lao Lao Bay because once the deforested watershed is reforested and once the illegal wildfires stop, the level of sediment caused by erosion will decrease.

The coral reefs and the animals that live there will benefit, but so will the SCUBA divers, the fishermen, and the other local people who use them.

On Sunday we are going to continue our coconut plantings along Beach Road with MOVER. We are again asking the community to donate coconut saplings for our project. We are going to meet at the 13 Fishermen Memorial at 8 AM.

This project will make the Beach Road area more attractive.

We are looking for volunteers to help us plant trees on both days, but we also need people to donate coconuts, drinking water, and food. Please call Angelo at 483-1078 if you would like to volunteer or donate.

In the news

Marianas Variety, Monday, July 17, 2006

375 trees planted at Laulau
By Cherrie Anne E. Villahermosa
Variety News Staff

MEMBERS of Beautify CNMI and 57 volunteers from various agencies and community groups planted 375 trees at the Laulau revegetation site yesterday morning.

The group met at the Sta. Soledad Church in Kagman and proceeded to the revegetation site.

The group planted six different species of saplings, 25 of which were donated by the Fiesta Resort and 100 by the Division of Forestry.

Angelo Villagomez, coral reef public involvement coordinator of the Marianas Resource Conservation and Development Council, said they aim to turn the wastershed area into a forest.

Villagomez said he and other members of Beautify CNMI such as Rep. Cinta M. Kaipat, Covenant-Saipan, and Tina Sablan of the Division of Environmental Quality were joined by volunteers from MOVER, Coastal Resources Management, the Division of Forestry and other community groups such as Stream Team.

The group started planting at 8 a.m. and finished by noon.

Villagomez said Kaipat provided water for the volunteers while Sablan and MOVER provided food.

The group will be planting coconut trees on Sunday along Beach Road and again in Laulau on following Sunday.

The tree planting project is spearheaded by Beautify CNMI’s restoration sub-committee chaired by Ken Kramer of the Marianas Resource Conservation and Development Council.

Since June 19, the group has already planted a total of 647 trees.

Beautify CNMI is a coalition of various government agencies, private and non-profit organizations as well as private citizens and visitors working together to foster community pride through a comprehensive beautification campaign aimed at enhancing the beauty of the island.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Trees so far: 651

After all those meetings, all those site visits, and all those outdoor classroom experiences, we've finally started planting trees up on the Lao Lao hillside.

This morning volunteers planted a total of 375 trees and broadcast 4600 seeds.

We planted a total of 125 saplings. The species were Sosugi (Acacia Confusa), Kamachili (Pithecolobium dulce), Banalo (Thespesia populnea), Gaogao (Erythrina sp.), Daok (Calophyllum inophyllum), and Madras Cacao (Gliricidia sepium). These species were all chosen by CNMI Forestry as species likely to grow in the damaged soils on the hillside.

We also planted 250 Pago (Hibiscus tiliaceus) cuttings. It might look like we just stuck a bunch of poles in the ground, but once it starts raining, those poles are going to grow into trees. These are going to serve as firebreaks that will hopefully help suppress fires in the years to come.

Then we broadcast 200 Putting (Barringtonia asiatica) seeds, 200 Kamachili (Pithecolobium dulce) seeds, and 4200 tangantanga (Leucaena leucocephala) seeds. These are very hardy species that will grow almost anywhere. We're hoping that these seeds will sprout and grow in the damaged soils of the badlands.

Today's effort was a collaborative effort between government agencies and community groups. Coastal Resources Management, CNMI Forestry, Division of Environmental Quality were involved in the planning and Beautify CNMI, MOVER, the Stream Team, and the Marianas Resource Conservation & Development Council provided the manpower.

Beautify CNMI will do it!

Saipan Tribune, Thursday, July 13, 2006

Lack of funds forces cancellation of junk cars bid
By Marconi Calindas

The Saipan Mayor's Office has cancelled its request for bids for the collection of junk cars on the island after learning that the funding for the project is insufficient.

Saipan Mayor Juan B. Tudela was supposed to release another bid bulletin for the collection of junk cars on the island after rescinding the erstwhile winning company's bid after it failed to meet the final requirement. But Tudela told Saipan Tribune yesterday that he ordered the procurement department to delay the release of the bid bulletin last week after finding that quotations from bidders would not meet the actual budget for the project.

"I cancelled it because at this moment we don't have much fund[ing] to cover the project," he said.

However, Tudela said there are several groups that have expressed interest in helping the CNMI alleviate the junk cars problem, which poses a health and environment hazard in the community.

A group from Guam, Balli Steel Guam, approached the mayor last month and told him that the company could provide services to collect the junk cars at minimal cost.

The company told the Saipan Mayor's Office that it would return with an offer, but nothing has come out of this.

Last year, the Legislature appropriated at least $30,000 to the Saipan Mayor's Office to help solve the problem of collecting junk cars in the CNMI. The money, according to the mayor, would also be used to fund the repair of its 12-year-old old boom truck.

The Saipan Mayor's Office first released its bid bulletin in February for the project but due to lack of necessary documents the awarding of the bid was forfeited. The same vendor has again applied for the bidding.

There are now an estimated 18,000 junk cars scattered all over the island, according to the Beautify CNMI's subcommittee on junk goods. Most of them are on private lots, auto shops, and other places.

Through his staff Tony Benavente, Tudela said his office is closely working with the Division of Environmental Quality to resolve the junk car problem on Saipan.

Benavente earlier said his subcommittee in the Beautify CNMI group wants to eliminate environmental hazard and risk by reducing the number of junk cars, scrap metals, and household appliances on roadways and residential area on Saipan. The subcommittee's concern is a lack of enough funding to buy the proper equipment, said Benavente.

Beautify CNMI is an environmental coalition of different government agencies and private sector.

In the meantime, Benavente said they are advising the owners of these junk cars to be ready when the time comes for the chosen firm to pick these items up

Friday, July 14, 2006

Trees so far: 276

Saipan Tribune, Friday, July 14, 2006

Beautify CNMI plants 276 trees, eyes 600 more
By Ferdie de la Torre

The Beautify CNMI's restoration committee is targeting to plant 600 more trees on the island this Sunday, according to Rep. Jacinta M. Kaipat.

In an e-mail to the Saipan Tribune, Kaipat said the tree planting will be held at the watershed area in Laulau at 8am.

The restoration committee needs volunteers to collect and propagate plants, especially the native ones, said Kaipat, chairperson for the House's Judiciary and Governmental Operations and one of the forces behind Beautify CNMI.

Since June 19, 2006, a total of 22 flame trees and 254 coconut saplings have already been planted along Beach Road in Garapan by members of the restoration committee, Filipino organization MOVERS, Department of Public Works, Division of Parks and Recreation and civilian volunteers.

Parks and Recreation donated all flame trees, while the public donated all coconut saplings.

With respect to other project, Kaipat said the Northern Marianas College's current issues class helped Beautify CNMI's plan for Middle Road.

Kaipat said the students interviewed residents and businesses along Middle Road and found that most people wanted more lighting, more plants and sidewalks.

Regarding the anti-littering/junk goods committee, the congresswoman said the group would launch its zero tolerance campaign this October. As part of the campaign, she said, a training for litter control apprehending officers will be conducted on Aug. 21.

Kaipat said Public Law 6-37 or the Commonwealth Litter Control Act identifies eight agencies to apprehend litter violators: the Marianas Visitors Authority, Department of Lands and Natural Resources, Office of the Mayor, Department of Public Safety, and Division of Environmental Quality.

On the recycling committee, Kaipat said the group is planning to expand recycling effort at other community events such as Street Market, Sabalo Market, and SCC Corporate Challenge.

For the school recycling project, the committee agreed to begin with a few schools for such pilot recycling project such as prioritizing elementary schools beginning with Garapan Elementary School.

The recycling committee kicked off its awareness program at the Liberation and Micro Games events.

The Filipino groups Power Inc. and CNMI Power were the key volunteers who assisted committee members and volunteers.

Kaipat said the publicity committee, on the other hand, is going to launch the Beautify CNMI logo competition in mid-August, ending in mid-September.

"The committee will draft guidelines and judging criteria as well as organize judges and artist meetings," she added.

Beautify CNMI is a coalition of various agencies, private sector, non-profit organizations, private citizens and visitors. Its mission is to foster community pride through a comprehensive beautification campaign aimed at enhancing the beauty of the island environments and the people's quality life through public education on recycling, restoration, waste management, and enforcement of laws.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Meeting Notes

Thursday, July 13, 2006
DEQ Conference Room

Present: Rep. Cinta Kaipat, Daisie Camacho, Rep. Absalon Waki, Dexter Mendiola (Legislature); Charles Reyes (Governor's Office); Marites Castillo, Nieves Casta, Fe Palimi, Yolanda Jurado, Jayce Jurado, Irvin Jurado, Juanita Micabo (MOVER); Frank Tudela (MVA); Marian Aldan-Pierce (SEDC); David Bell (Balli Steel/Green Island Alliance); Tony Benavente, Mike Malone (Saipan Mayor's Office); Angelo Villagomez (RC&D); Anthony Guerrero, Gary Camacho (CUC); Christine Parke (Saipan Chamber of Commerce); Victor DLG (DLNR Forestry); Steve Hiney (DPW); Reina Camacho, Tina Sablan (DEQ)


Restoration (Angelo) -- Beach Road tree plantings; Laulau tree planting on Sunday; Donations, volunteers still needed; Middle Road beautification project; Training for tree trimmers

  • 22 flame trees (donated by Parks and Rec), and 254 coconuts (donated by the public) planted along Beach Road by MOVER volunteers and others
  • Tree planting at Laulau this Sunday, July 16. Meet at Santa Soledad in Kagman @ 8am. Goal is to plant 600 trees!
  • Restoration Committee still seeking tree planting volunteers; empty containers for plant propagation; seeds and seedlings; water and food donations for volunteers
  • NMC Current Issues class beautification survey along Middle Road section --respondents said they want better street lighting, more trees, more sidewalks, and more clearly defined crosswalks. Contact Angelo for more detailed summary of survey
  • NMC Class also produced a 60-min DVD about the Middle Road beautification project (Angelo showed the first three minutes).
  • Tony Guerrero and Gary Camacho from CUC expressed support for training CUC personnel on proper tree trimming techniques
  • Vic DLG from DLNR Forestry said plans were underway to secure a federally-funded arboriculture training in August, and agreed to include CUC
  • CUC requested that Beautify CNMI only plant trees that grow no higher than half the height of the power lines (if planting under power lines), pursuant to PL 14-12

Recycling (Tina): Liberation Day carnival and Micro Games projects wrap-up; Street Market recycling; Recycling at public schools; Plastic bag manufacturer

  • Liberation Day carnival -- 30-day project managed primarily by POWER Inc volunteers, with support from Saipan Chamber of Commerce, Liberation Day Committee, DEQ, Pacific Trading Company, MINA, carnival vendors, and private individuals; still awaiting final results of recycling (estimate is over 200lbs of cans and plastic bottles)
  • Micro Games carnival -- weeklong project managed by CNMI Power and MOVER, with support from Micro Games Organizing Committee, Saipan Chamber of Commerce, and Pacific Trading Company; final results also pending (estimate is approx 100lbs of cans and bottles)
  • Street Market -- initial contacts made with Dept of Community and Cultural Affairs to set up recycling program; Committee will continue coordinating with DCCA
  • Public Schools -- PSS has one trash hauler (Artman) for all public schools who has agreed to provide recycling collection; Committee will continue coordinating with PSS and Artman
  • Plastic bag manufacturer -- Rep. Waki mentioned that there is a plastic bag manufacturer (Jin Yong Americana, Inc) on island who collects used plastic bags (and shrink wrapping) to make new plastic bags
  • Reina will coordinate field trip for anyone interested in touring this plant
Publicity (Reina): Logo contest; "Beautify CNMI!" website; Requests for updates, information

  • "Beautify CNMI" logo contest to launch mid-August; details and prizes to be announced; contest will be open to the general public
  • Angelo has created a "Beautify CNMI" blog -- . Check it out!
  • David Bell volunteered to sponsor an official website for Beautify CNMI (about $10/month)
  • Reina requested that the Publicity Committee be cc'd on all committee meeting notes; and also encouraged everyone to continue sending the Publicity Committee ideas for outreach projects; information about beautification-related grant opportunities can also be forwarded to Publicity Committee for dissemination
Litter/Junk Goods: Litter and Junk Goods committees have merged; Adopt-a-Road program; Anti-litter campaign and Zero Tolerance project; "Beautify CNMI" inmates (Div of Corrections); Scrap metal collection and recycling project; Solid waste mgmt at community events

  • MVA to spearhead the Adopt-a-Road program; Frank Tudela of MVA said that this program will be more comprehensive than just picking up litter along the roads. Volunteers will also be asked to assist with cleanups of eyesores -- including repainting dilapidated or graffiti'd buildings, replacing missing or damaged signage, reporting hazards such as illegal dumps, etc.
  • Adopt-a-Road guidelines still being modified; program will likely start in September
  • At Cinta's request, Charles Reyes said he would see if the Governor would be willing to send out a memo to all the agencies to ask them to re-adopt road sections
  • Litter Control Certification/Refresher training slated for late August -- DEQ will coordinate with DPS and other agencies mandated to enforce the Litter Control Act
  • Anti-litter campaign to launch in September, will coordinate with Publicity Committee
  • Zero Tolerance Against Litter month set for October
  • Cinta gave kudos to DPS Division of Corrections and inmates involved in recent cleanups along the roads; also called for coordination with Parks and Rec and DPW to pick up trash after cleanup in a timely manner
  • Tony Benavente and Mike Malone confirmed that the Mayor's Invitation to Bid for junk car removal and processing has been withdrawn because $30k appropriated for project is not enough
  • Steve Hiney (DPW) announced that the Secretary has signed the RFP for scrap metal recycling (which will include junk car collection and processing); RFP should be issued next week
  • Scrap metal recycling program will likely be a public-private partnership
  • David Bell (Balli Steel, Guam) said that Balli Steel will pursue the RFP, and that their scrap metal recycling program for the CNMI would be modeled on their program in Guam, and would be at no cost to the CNMI government

  • Chris Parke (SCC) passed out suggested guidelines for partnerships with volunteer groups (to help establish clearly, in writing the responsibilities of both volunteers and Beautify CNMI event organizers); will email out final template next week
  • Cinta reiterated the need to establish a Zoning Committee
  • Tina suggested that perhaps Zoning could be established as a subcommittee within the Legislation Committee, since Zoning Board members and the Zoning Administrator are members of that committee -- anyone volunteering to chair??
  • Tina now updating the Beautify CNMI contact list -- will send out via email next week
This meeting is open to the general public

Monday, July 10, 2006

More Coconuts in the News

Marianas Variety, Monday, July 10, 2006

Despite bad weather, volunteers plant 250 coconut trees
By Cherrie Anne E. Villahermosa
Variety News Staff

DESPITE the bad weather yesterday, members of Beautify CNMI and other volunteers still achieved their goal of planting 250 coconut trees along Beach Road.

Members of Beautify CNMI headed by Rep. Cinta M. Kaipat, Covenant-Saipan; Tina Sablan of the Division of Environmental Quality; and Angelo Villagomez of the Marianas Resource Conservation & Development Council were joined by 14 volunteers from MOVER, a Filipino organization, and nine other individuals.

The group started planting coconut trees along Beach Road between the Saipan Gold Beach Hotel and the Garapan Fishing Base starting at 8 a.m.

Villagomez, the coral reef public involvement coordinator of the Marianas Resource Conservation & Development Council, said the 250 coconut trees were donated by volunteers Eugenio Sablan, Jack Sablan, Abden Kaipat, Joe Hibus and Jerry Facey.

Villagomez said he also collected coconut trees from his father’s house, the late Justice Ramon Villagomez.

The group’s next “target area” is the revegetation site in Laolao.

Villagomez said they will be joined by personnel of DEQ, Coastal Resources Management, Forestry and other volunteers.

The group will meet on Sunday at 8 a.m. at the Santa Soledad Church in Kagman and from there they will drive to the big blue water tank and hike to the revegetation site.

The group started planting trees on June 19 along Beach Road as part of their objective to restore the natural beauty of the island.

Yesterday, besides planting trees, the group also conducted a cleanup drive along Beach Road.

Villagomez said someone left a big pile of trash next to the 13 Fishermen’s pavilion and the rain, wind and dogs had scattered garbage all over the park and the beach.

Aside from the volunteers from MOVER headed by their president, Maritess Castillo, the other individuals who helped plant trees were Gus Kaipat, Capt. Carl Brachear, Juanita Fajando, Adam Sablan, Emily Gironda, Corie Borja, Bob Schwalbach, Glen Hunter, Jed Horey, Josiah Lizama and Sid Cabrerra.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

What Tropical Depression?

Tropical Disturbance 05W brought heavy rain, wind, and rough seas to the Marianas this weekend, but it didn't stop 23 community volunteers from planting 250 coconuts on the beach along Beach Road.

The cost of this week's plantings: $0

That's right. Every single one of the 250 saplings was donated by the public and all of the labor was done by volunteers. Thanks goes out to MOVER, Eugenio Sablan, Jack Sablan, Abden Kaipat, Joe Hibus, and Jerry Facey for donating coconut saplings. My late father, Justice Villagomez, even donated some saplings (I just went to his house and collected them).

Of course we wouldn't have been able to plant the trees if our volunteers hadn't shown up during a rainstorm. In addition to the 14 volunteers provided by MOVER, we had help from Joe and Tina from DEQ, Rep. Cinta Kaipat and her brother Gus, Captain Carl, Juanita Fajando, Adam Sablan, and Emily Gironda.

Here are some pictures of trees going in the ground:

Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Here's a picture of the group after having spent several hours digging holes in the rain:

Do you see those things on everyone's faces? Those things are called smiles.

It wasn't all smiles though. Somebody left a big pile of trash next to the 13 Fisherman Utt:

The combination of wind, rain, and dogs had scattered the garbage all over the park and the beach. So after planting our 250 coconut trees we had an impromptu beach clean up:

Next week we will be planting trees at the Lao Lao revegetation site. We will be working with CRM, DEQ, and Forestry.

We will meet next Sunday, July 16 at 8 AM at Santa Soledad Catholic Church in Kagman. From there we will drive up to the big blue water tank and then hike the rest of the way to the revegetation site.

If you are reading this, I hope you can make it!

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Donations so far:

A while back Beautify CNMI put out a call for donations of 5 gallon water jugs. So far, Star Water, Saipan Ice Incorporated, and Marianas Ice & Water have made donations totaling 70 planters.

That is 70 fewer planters that we have to purchase. That is also 70 fewer water jugs in the landfill.

Thank You!

If you would like to donate 5 gallon water jugs, please contact Angelo Villagomez at the Marianas Resource Conservation & Development Council at 236-0894. If no one answers, please leave a message and someone will call you back.

Saipan the Beautiful

Obyan Beach: