Saipan Tribune, Monday, July 03, 2006
Beautify CNMI plants 11 more flame trees
By Ferdie de la Torre
The Beautify CNMI'S subcommittee on restoration, with the help of Filipino organization MOVER, plus some government agencies and volunteers, planted 11 more flame trees along Beach Road in Garapan yesterday morning.
There are now a total of 22 newly planted flame trees between Garapan Fishing Base and Gold Beach Hotel along Beach Road since the subcommittee on restoration kicked off its tree planting project on June 19, 2006.
Rep. Cinta Kaipat, Marianas Resource Conservation Development Council coral reef public involvement coordinator Angelo Villagomez, restoration subcommittee member Carl Brachear, and Division of Environmental Quality waste reduction & recycling coordinator Tina Sablan led the tree planting.
Kaipat told Saipan Tribune the project is part of their overall goal to plant more flame trees along Beach Road. She expressed appreciation to the volunteers and their partners, such as the Department of Public Workers, for digging the holes in advance so they can easily plant the trees.
"I would also thank the MOVER. They are here with bright smiling faces and energy, lots of enthusiasm, helping out to make sure that we plant these trees. Years from now, we all are going to come back and have a picnic under the blooming flame trees," said the representative, who was with two other volunteers-her brother, musician Gus Kaipat, and seven-year-old nephew Josiah Lizama.
Villagomez said their plan is to plant trees across the island. He said they want to replace the missing and the dying flame trees on Beach Road.
"Not too long ago we had a flame tree every 30 feet or so and we are trying to at least get back to having as many flame trees on Beach Road as possible," he said.
Villagomez also said that tomorrow's Liberation Day parade will pass by every single one of these newly-planted trees.
"If you are watching the parade, please be mindful of these young trees. A lot of planning, coordination, and sweat went into their planting. It would be a shame, not to mention a waste of valuable time and money, if one of these trees will be damaged by the crowd," he said.
Brachear said they feel that the beautification of Saipan is extremely critical especially with the trees that have been destroyed during construction activities. Brachear noted that some of agencies are also doing some damage to the trees.
"We're trying to develop an islandwide interest in the program, which is to start protecting the trees.The biggest concern.is we just don't protect the trees at all. We treat them as just something that we can chop down with a machete or chainsaw. So we're trying to change the attitude of people," he said.
MOVER president Maritess Castillo said the directors and officers really want the organization to be involved in this tree-planting project.
"As president, I pushed to join the project. It is a good project-to beautify the CNMI," Castillo said, adding that they have 87 members who volunteer their free time.