Saturday, September 30, 2006

Beautification on a Saturday Morning

Even though our island wide cleanup day, "1020 on 10/20," isn't for another 20 days, Beautify CNMI! cleaned up two areas of the island this morning.

The first group of Beautifiers consisted of the Church of Latter Day Saints and the Marianas Resource Conservation & Development Council. They removed litter from Marine Beach and painted over graffiti on the three pala palas in the park.

Most of the litter on Marine Beach was marine based (no pun intended). While there was some litter obviously left over from residents barbecuing on the beach, illegal dumping does not seem to be an issue here; Most of it just washes in from the Pacific Ocean. There isn't much we can do about this source of litter but to remove it periodically, which is really time consuming because it is mainly in the form of small bits of plastic. We could wait for the next big storm to come and wash away all the bits of litter, but then we'd also have to tell the tourists to stay on hold and that we'll let them know when we have clean beaches again.

In total we removed 80 pounds of litter. The garbage bags and paint supplies were provided by RC&D.

While one team was busy painting and picking up garbage on Marine Beach, on the South end of the island the Board of Parole was busy cutting grass and clearing brush at the Koblerville Substation.

The two pictures above were taken right in front of the substation, one looking left and the other looking right. Man, do those guys work hard or what!?

This substation and abandoned airfield is going to be turned into a neighborhood park over the course of the next year. Beautify CNMI! member DNLR is working with our partners to make this a reality. We will announce more plans on Arbor Day, which is October 16.

Finally, Beautify CNMI! members are not the only ones in these islands who have been working to make this a nicer place to live and visit. This past week, the Saipan Lion's Club refurbished the beach park area in San Antonio, just south of the Pacific Islands Club (they're the other P.I.C.) They painted over the graffiti and replaced the roofs of several pala palas along the beach. Thank you, Saipan Lion's Club...and, oh yeah, would you like to join us?

Our First Online Contribution!

We recieved our first online contribution today! Daisy from Oregon donated $50!

Thank you, Daisy. Your Official Beautify CNMI! T-shirt will be in the mail as soon as we get them printed. What size would you like?

If you would like to be like Daisy and donate to the efforts of Beautify CNMI!, please click on the "Make a Donation" button at the end of this and every post. Anybody who donates $20 or more will recieve a free Beautify CNMI! T-shirt.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Beautify CNMI in the News

Saipan Tribune, Friday, September 29, 2006

Beautify CNMI! partners with DPL for litter project
by Marconi Calindas

Beautify CNMI! has partnered with the Department of Public Lands in celebrating National Public Lands Day today.

According to Reina Camacho, Division of Environmental Quality public information officer and Beautify CNMI! publicity chairperson, the coalition has started an anti-littering campaign that will first focus on publicly owned lands.

"This historic and comprehensive anti-litter campaign will kick off in October with educational campaign about littering on public lands, gearing up to enforcement actions in November and beyond," Camacho said.

She said the community could participate in this first-ever CNMI-wide anti-litter campaign by adopting a beach, road or park, planting trees, painting over abandoned or graffiti-plagued buildings, or just beautifying a residential or commercial area.

Beautify CNMI! is aiming to recruit 1,020 volunteers to conduct their first beautification activity on Oct. 20, dubbed as "1020 on 1020," which will be coordinated similar to previous islandwide cleanups by various government agencies, with garbage bags, gloves and other items provided by the coalition and its various partner agencies.

Camacho said the anti-litter campaign was originally planned for the first week of October, but was moved to coincide with DPL's event.

"As this will be the first year the CNMI will celebrate National Public Lands Day, Beautify CNMI! wanted to unite efforts and kick off the anti-litter activities on the same day. We hope that our cleanup and beautification actions speak loud and clear that litter does not belong on the ground and it does not belong in our public lands," said Camacho.

Other activities slated for October are beach patrols, where newly certified Litter Control Apprehending Officers will scour public beaches, citing litterers, and the Eyesore Photo Drive.

"The drive is a challenge to any person handy with a camera to submit a photo of an eyesore, including litter, solid waste, graffiti-plastered buildings, and others," she said.

Rep. Cinta Kaipat, Beautify CNMI! legislation chairwoman, said the heart of the anti-litter activities is to beautify the islands through litter reduction.

"It is the intent of Beautify CNMI! to infect the beauty virus to everyone in our Commonwealth. This is our home, we should take pride and work cooperatively to make it beautiful for us and for our visitors to enjoy," Kaipat said.

The Litter Control Apprehending Officers and Public Safety officers will not tolerate any type of littering activity to give new meaning to Zero Tolerance starting Nov. 1, added Camacho.
In the CNMI, the improper disposal of trash or garbage has a minimum fine of $200.

Camacho said that passersby could also report litter violations to Department of Public Safety or DEQ at 664-8500.

Beautify CNMI! is a coalition of concerned citizens, private groups, and government entities united to enhance the CNMI's natural beauty and foster community pride in its residents and visitors. For more information or to join any activity of the group visit

National Public Lands Day

The National Public Lands Proclamation was a smashing success! In his speech, Lietenant Governor Tim Villagomez volunteered to be the 1st person in line to participate in "1020 on 10/20," Beautify CNMI!'s island-wide cleanup to take place on October 20th.

Now we only need to recruit 1019 more volunteers!

But wait, there's more!

DLNR Secretary Dr. Dela Cruz, Public Lands Secretary Del Rosario, Congressman Waki, Congresswoman Kaipat, and several of our other community leaders also promised to take the lead and to serve as an example that we all need to take care of our home, our islands. They all pledged to adopt a road, a beach, or a park on 10/20.

Thank you, thank you, thank you for your leadership and your service!


Super Volunteers! Adam Sablan and his mom, Juanita Fajardo, before the start of the ceremony. Adam and Juanita have participated in almost every single Beautify CNMI! tree planting, beach, community, and stream cleanup! Adam got to skip school to come to the ceremony. Shhh...don't tell his teacher at San Vicente!

She's the winner. Praween Banu (with Frank Tudela from MVA in the background) was the grand prize winner in the Beautify CNMI! logo contest. We've already used her winning design on a banner, buttons, bumper stickers, shirts, and our letterhead. Thank you, Praween!

Nice Programs! Representative Waki holds up the National Public Lands Day program while talking to American Memorial Park Site Manager, Chuck Sayon, and Franz Reksid of DPL.

The Steves. Newly certified Litter Enforcement Officer Frank Tudela of MVA poses for a picture with the Beautify CNMI Steves: Steve Tilley of Zoning co-chairs the legislation committee and Steve Hiney of DPW co-chairs the litter control committee.

Kicking off the event. (From left to right) Mayor Tudela, Representative Kaipat, myself, Antonio Benavente from the Saipan Mayor's Office, the Trash Man, Steve Hiney from DPW, Tina Sablan from DEQ, and Lietenant Governor Villagomez begin the ceremony and prepare to unveil the new Beautify CNMI! logo (rolled up in the background).

No one else was available. Someone at Beautify CNMI! thought it would be a good idea for me to emcee the event. I feel bad for everyone who had to listen to me bumble through mispronouncing last names and forgetting things. I'll try to get it right by next year's Public Lands Day.

Reading the National Public Lands Day proclamation. (Seated: DPL Secretary Del Rosario, DLNR Secretary Dr. Dela Cruz, Representative Kaipat, Lietenant Governor Villagomez, Mayor Tudela; Standing: Antonio Benavente, DEQ Director Frank Rabauliman, American Mememorial Park Site Manager Chuck Sayon, Angelo Villagomez, Tina Sablan, and Steve Hiney). After a few comments about the importance of Public Lands, Lietenant Governor Villagomez signed the National Public Lands Day proclamation.

I don't think so, buddy. DEQ Director Frank Rabauliman and John Gonzalez of DPL share a light moment during the ceremony.

Group photo. The newly certified Litter Control Officers (in the navy blue polo shirts) pose for a group photo with the Beautify CNMI chairs and others.

More Super Volunteers! MOVER President Marites Castillo (white shirt), Angel (navy blue), Adam Sablan and Juanita Fajardo pose with Rep. Kaipat, Rep. Waki. DPS Commissioner Warfield, and myself (I listed those names in no particular order. You're welcome). Under the leadership of Marites, MOVER has donated over 1000 volunteer hours to the activities of Beautify CNMI! Thank you, MOVER!

It Could Be Worse

Hey Crew At Least We Don't Look Like This. These are Some Pics I took of One of Our Neighbor Islands (They Shall Remain Nameless). Let's Continue to Lead.

Drumroll Please....

and the winner is...

Praween Banu!

Praween will receive $500 for submitting the winning logo. Congratulations, Praween!

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Go, Tina!

Sablan named state coordinator for ARD

Saipan Tribune, Thursday, September 28, 2006

Tina Sablan has been appointed as the CNMI State Coordinator for America Recycles Day.

Enrique Dela Cruz, the outgoing CNMI State Coordinator for ARD, announced Sablan's appointment in a Sept. 26 letter to America Recycles Day national director Jimmy O'Connor.

"I find Tina to be exceptionally diligent and hard working. She is nice, considerate, sensitive, good humored, and friendly," said Dela Cruz.

Sablan works for the Division of Environmental Quality as Waste Reduction and Recycling coordinator. She holds a bachelor's degree in Conservation Science. She currently chairs the Beautify CNMI! Recycling Committee, which promotes recycling at community events, schools, businesses, residential areas, and public buildings and parks.

Sablan can be reached at 664-8500/8545 or e-mail

Meanwhile, the National Public Lands Day is this Friday, Sept. 29 at the American Memorial Park's Marianas Memorial. There will be a proclamation signing to mark the occasion, followed by the unveiling of the Beautify CNMI!'s anti-litter activities for the month of October aimed at mobilizing the community to clean up, protect, and celebrate public lands.

"We will also present the fabulous Beautify CNMI! winning logo and officially certify the new Litter Control Officers who will be crucial partners in the anti-litter campaign," said Sablan in an e-mail message yesterday.

The proclamation signing will begin promptly at 9am.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

National Public Lands Day on September 29!

What: National Public Lands Day
Where: American Memorial Park, Marianas Memorial
When: Friday, September 29
Time: 9am

Free and open to the public

There will be a Proclamation signing to mark the occasion, followed by an unveiling of all the exciting Beautify CNMI! anti-litter activities for the month of October aimed at mobilizing the community to clean up, protect, and celebrate our public lands. We will also present the fabulous Beautify CNMI! winning logo and officially certify the new Litter Control Officers who will be crucial partners in the anti-litter campaign.

See you there!

Obyan Beach

Obyan Beach is not a protected area, but it is one of the three most popular dive sites on Saipan (the other two being Lau Lau Bay and the Grotto). You can go there at almost any time on any day and see several trucks owned by Japanese dive shops. I've heard that over 100 divers dive there each a cost of about $50 per dive.

Hello, economic activity!

This is what you might see:

There is also activity taking place on the land. I've seen Japanese photographers and models doing fashion shoots on the beach:

The beach is also a popular spot with tourists and locals alike. There are two WWII era Japanese bunkers, an ancient latte stone site, and, of course, white sandy beaches with a great view of Tinian. On any given weekend one can see dozens of people barbecuing, swimming, snorkeling, spear fishing, and boogie boarding.

There is one thing that has changed about Obyan Beach since I was a kid, though; People are no longer allowed to drive on the beach. In years past we didn't know that driving on the beach kills vegetation and impacts the sand. This can have a negative, if not devastating, effect on erosion rates (the sedimentation from which can kill coral) and our turtle population. These things tend to upset Japanese divers.

Goodbye, economic activity!

We now know better, so please don't drive on the beach! And don't litter!

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Make A Donation!

Beautify CNMI! does not have a budget. Everything we have accomplished over the last few months has been courtesy of volunteer labor and in-kind donations. Every tree, water bottle, chicken leg, garbage bag, bush cutter, and machete was donated by a volunteer, a volunteer group, or a government agency. Every. Single. One.

We have been very successful without a budget and although I am sure that we will continue to rely on the generosity of our volunteers, it would be nice if we could relieve them of the burden of providing their own water, food, garbage bags, shovels, picks, bush cutters, gasoline, and such.

Considering this and the fact that many people have been asking how they can donate to our cause, especially online, we have added an online donation service to our blog.

Since we are not a formal group, Beautify CNMI! can not accept donations. However, some of our partners, such as Marianas RC&D and MINA, are able to accept them.

My Coral Reef Public Awareness Project in Saipan with RC&D is able to accept cash donations in person or online. The button that has been added to the bottom of each post on this blog will take you to Paypal. Just follow the simple steps to make a donation in any amount.

Donations will be used to support the goals of Beautify CNMI! and all donors will be recognized on this blog. There will be complete transparency and a full accounting of how the funds are spent (also to be published on this blog).

As an added bonus, any person donating $20 or more will receive a Beautify CNMI! T-shirt. We will ship it anywhere in the world...even Canada.

Eyesore Photo Drive

We have added the Eyesore Photo Drive to the agenda of our event on Friday. Details will be released soon!

Bird Island

The Bird Island Sanctuary was created in 2000 with the enactment of Public Law #12-46 (the same law that created the Forbidden Island Sanctuary). It stretches from right outside the grotto to just below the Bird Island Lookout (see map below, but it is pretty much everything you see in the above photo).

Marine Protected Areas (MPA) are marine areas where the harvesting of natural resources is limited. The reasons for creating MPAs are many, but on Saipan there are primarily two strong arguments. First of all, on Saipan, the MPAs are areas that are important for the local tourist economy. Many tourists identify Saipan's beautiful coral reefs and sandy beaches as the main reason for their visit. The MPAs ensure that an important source of revenue for the islands (i.e. tourist dollars) are protected in the present and in the future. Secondly, the MPAs serve as sanctuaries for fish, trochus, octopus, and other species that are culturally important for the local people. Protecting these species will ensure that Chamorros and Carolinians, the indigenous people of the CNMI, will be able to continue their cultural practices, such as talaya and spear fishing, for generations to come.

The following map, from the CNMI Division of Fish and Wildlife website, illustrates the location of the MPAs on Saipan:

If you want to hike down to Bird Island Beach, here are the rules for visiting:

And this is what you might see:

Monday, September 25, 2006

Website Launched!

Beautify CNMI officially has a website! In fact, you're reading it right now.

For the last few months we have been using blogger to host our website, but David Bell with Balli Steel recently volunteered to pay for masked domain forwarding. That means that instead of having to type in the difficult to remember, people can just use the much easier to remember

Thanks, David!

We sent out a press release over the weekend announcing this change and it was carried by the Saipan Tribune this morning.

I hereby declare this website officially launched!

P.S. I know that some of our partners and donors are not yet listed in the right hand column. If you will kindly leave a comment or bounce me (Angelo) an email with the name and the website you would like the name to link to, I will be sure to add it ASAP.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Forbidden Island

The Forbidden Island Sanctuary was created in 2000 with the enactment of Public Law #12-46. It stretches from Tank Beach on the north side of the Kagman peninsula, around to Forbidden Island Beach, and hugs the shore around to just south of the Lao Lao Bay Golf Resort.

Here are some pictures:

Now you see him:

Now you don't:

As soon as he crawled out of the sun and into the shade he changed colors. Isn't that camouflage amazing?