Thursday, November 30, 2006

Paseo de Marianas Christmas Tree Decorating

Click HERE for the Saipan Tribune story

Marianas Variety, Thursday, November 30, 2006

Recyclable materials decorate Christmas trees
By Emmanuel T. Erediano
Variety News Staff

ONCE described as “beautiful but dead,” Paseo de Marianas came alive yesterday as hundreds of students, their parents, teachers and school principals decorated 15 Christmas trees with recycled materials in a competition organized by the non-profit group Paseo de Marianas Promoters.

Rep. Absalon Waki, Covenant-Saipan, Paseo de Marianas Promoters manager Misako Kamata, Beautify CNMI!’s Angelo Villagomez and Fiesta Resort & Spa Hotel general manager Jackson Yen are the judges in the contest.

Fourteen schools and a youth center participated in the contest, and the judges watched the participants decorate their trees until they finished at 6 p.m.

The winners will be announced on Dec. 21.

The Christmas decoration contest is among the activities of the Paseo de Marianas Promoters which aims to transform the area into a family-oriented commercial park.

The use of recycled materials is the group’s way of showing support for another non-profit group, Beautify CNMI!, “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.”

During yesterday’s competition, Koblerville Elementary School students, parents and teachers used egg shells as Christmas balls, CDs, and cups to decorate their tree.
Kagman Elementary School used aluminum soda cans, empty water bottles, soft drink straws, and sticks.

The Guerrero T. Camacho Elementary School’s tree was decorated with paper, cardboards, styrofoam and water bottle caps.

Some teachers from the participating schools said it took them three days to conceptualize their entries.

Teachers said they were happy to see parents actively involved in the competition.

Saipan Tribune, Wednesday, November 30, 2006

Beautify CNMI! sets upcoming activities

Beautify CNMI! is set to begin work on its holiday activities:

- San Antonio Beach on Saturday at 8am. Volunteers are asked to use Aguas Street (road between the school and PIC). The cleanup will head north toward Chalan Piao. This event is the monthly DEQ cleanup brigade.

“Want to be famous? We will be filming our first Beautify CNMI! commercial at this event,” said Beautify CNMI!'s Angelo Villagomez.

- Garapan Tourist District on Sunday at 8am. Participants will meet in the parking lot of the American Memorial Park. This is Beautify CNMI's third cleanup of the tourist district. It is being led by volunteer group MOVER.

- Navy Hill Lighthouse on Sunday at 10am. “You asked for it, you got it. Dr. Khorram’s daughter, Nava, asked us if we could clean this historical area up. How could I say no? We are going to pick up trash, remove some weeds, and if allowed, paint over some graffiti,” said Villagomez.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Volunteer of the Week

From the Brilliant Star School Newsletter:

Over the summer, Kinney and Nava Khorram learned how to collect water samples using tools from the Stream Team. This year, one of the elementary student’s service projects will be volunteering for that group. They will be monitoring and collecting samples from designated streams in Garapan and turning those water samples in for testing at the DEQ. They will also plant trees and collect trash around our adopted streams. The Stream Team is a new volunteer organization dedicated to monitoring and improving the quality of the water flowing off the land and into the ocean around Saipan.
We have been throwing around the idea to restore the Navy Hill Lighthouse for a few months now, but we always came up with an excuse to ignore it.

Recently Nava asked her Dad to ask us to take the lighthouse on as one of our projects. He relayed her request to me over the weekend. Nava helped me collect water samples over the summer, so how could I say no?

Nava Khorram is the Beautify CNMI! volunteer of the week. Thank you, Nava, for providing the spark to get this worthy project underway. It took a kid...sorry, young adult to get us to finally do something. Now you have to prove your Volunteer of the Week status by bringing all of your classmates to the restoration event this weekend!

For those of you not on the Beautify CNMI! mailing list, this weekend we will be cleaning up garbage, clearing weeds, and possibly painting over graffiti and planting trees in the area in and around the Navy Hill Lighthouse. We will meet at the lighthouse Sunday, December 3 at 10:00 AM. The only thing you need to bring is two friends. Beautify CNMI! will provide all the tools.

Beautify CNMI! will also participate in the DEQ Cleanup Brigade at San Antonio Beach Saturday at 8:00 AM and the MOVER Garapan Tourist District Cleanup Sunday at 8:00 AM.

(If you are not on the Beautify CNMI! mailing list, please email me at angelovillagomez at gmail dot com and I will put you on.)

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Unity Lion's Club

Last Sunday the Unity Lion's Club cleaned up the beach and road between Quartermaster and 13 Fishermen. They also donated bright yellow garbage bins.

Thank you!

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Real Men of Beautify CNMI!

Clockwise from far left: Gus Kaipat, Kyle Kaipat, Ken Kramer, Dennis Cabrera, Carl Brachear, Tim Lang, Steve Hiney, Angelo Villagomez, and Ian Catlett pose for the Real Men Calendar.

What do you think?

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

San Antonio Beach

Pacific Islands Club Saipan completed their first official Adopt-a-Beach clean up this month(they've been doing cleanups on their own for years). 43 volunteers started bright and early to make the beach in San Antonio look it's best.

Great job, PIC!

Beautify CNMI! in the news

Marianas Variety, Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Visiting Japanese actors lead Paupau Beach cleanup
By Alexie Villegas Zotomayor
Variety Features Editor

MOTIVATED by the cleanups of Beautify CNMI! and Japanese volunteers on island, a famous Japanese actor led several actors and actresses and the entire production crew from Japan in cleaning up Paupau Beach on Monday.

Coming all the way from the Saipan International Airport, Ishibashi Tamotsu, whose filmography includes “Aito Yu No Motoni”, along with 12 other actors and actresses and 13 crew members doing a location shoot on island, joined Pacific Eagle and Beautify CNMI volunteers in an effort to keep the island clean.

According to Pacific Eagle vice president Aya Matsumoto, “Tamotsu really wants to volunteer in the cleanup because he was thinking to make the island of Saipan beautiful.”

This is Tamotsu’s third time to visit Saipan, with the first time spent on commercial production while his second visit was solely for vacation. Tamotsu said that his favorite place is Managaha where he enjoys “diving, snorkeling, and fish feeding.”

Matsumoto also said that it was also the film’s producer Chiaki Nagumo who expressed interest in doing a location shoot on the island. “Mr. Nagumo, who is a tourist ambassador, is the producer of this film and brought all staff and actors (from Japan) for a location shoot on the beach so they want to do clean up here.”

Matsumoto said that “Nagumo called me up about his plan and we coordinated on Saipan for him.”

Beautify CNMI!’s restoration chair Angelo Villagomez welcomed the visitors and praised their volunteerism. Villagomez said, “I was called by Aya Matsumoto to tell me that Ishibashi Tamotsu wanted to do a cleanup of Paupau beach and she told me that one of the reasons he wanted to do that was he heard of Beautify CNMI! and the cleanups we have done at Banzai Cliff Memorial and Suicide Peace Memorial. He wanted to do his part.”

Villagomez added that in is capacity as restoration chair, “I came out here to support our visitors to helping us make this a beautiful place. That has been Beautify CNMI!’s goal to make this a better place to live and for those people who are going to visit.”

Rep. Cinta M. Kaipat, Covenant-Saipan, also praised the Japanese group. Kaipat said, “When Angelo called me up and mentioned to me that this is what they wanted to do, I just couldn’t believe it. I am just thankful to Aya-san and Willie-san for introducing this group. They mentioned that they heard about Beautify CNMI and they wanted to do (cleanup) it — I am so happy.”

Kaipat added, “This just goes to prove my theory that everyone deserves a nice and clean environment. I think when they came here, a famous actor like him (Tamotsu), he is setting a good example that no one is too big of a star to pitch in and help clean up the place.”

Aside from Kaipat and Villagomez, Ken Kramer, Steve Hiney, Capt. Carl Brachear, Pacific Eagle’s Aya and Willie Matsumoto, James Davis, among others, were seen at the site.

James Davis, who has been on Saipan for 16 years and who owns Davis Translation and Consulting Services on the sixth floor of Nauru Building, served as interpreter when Variety interviewed the Japanese visitors.

Through Davis, Nagumo shared his thoughts about the island and the location shoot. Nagumo said, “I’ve been to Saipan over 60 times so I have a lot of affection for the island. And there is an old Japanese movie that I am going to do a remake on and this setting here is very much in sync with that original movie.”

The Japanese production crew, Davis translates, will be doing location shoots “in front of Nikko Hotel, Ladder Beach, Managaha and some Capital Hill locations.”

Through Davis, director Suzuki Kosuke said that film’s story revolves around four elderly gentlemen in their forties who are taking their first overseas trip. They have a local friend who invites them to the islands. They are going to spend their time enjoying the island and will be buying gifts that they can take back home.”

The director also said that production was to begin early Tuesday morning and they will stay on island until the 30th of the month.

When asked about his role, Tamotsu said, “I want to come to Saipan and rethink my life and my future and what is my next step. I will be doing some soul searching.”

His female lead star also said that the movie is “actually a movie about filmmaking.” Davis translated for her and said her role is actually a real actress in the movie and she’s here on Saipan doing a production and having similar questions about her life.

The lead actress, through Davis, said that they are filming about an actual production onscreen and “in the end, I resolve a lot of issues in my head and I have a good resolve with the production.”

Davis, who was invited by Aya Matsumoto to join the cleanup and served as interpreter of the Japanese visitors, remarked, “I like to get involved with particularly things involved with the Japanese community— (whatever) promotes the CNMI, promotes my business.”

“I just like to see more people involved in taking responsibility for cleaning up the island because the tourists are not going to do it for us, no one else is going to do it for us. It is really going to come down to members of the community putting forth their own effort to make sure that when tourists, film crews, and other people come here they have a very good image of the island,” said Davis.

The complete list of Japanese actors and actresses who took part in the cleanup is as follows: Ishibashi Tamotsu (lead star), Nakano Hideo (lead star), Endo Kenichi (lead star), Shimizu Akihiro, Amaka Takafumi, Kawamura Aki, Hata Mizuho, Ikeno Hiroko, Morikawa Yui, and Yoshino Megumi. On the other hand, producers Nagumo Chiaki and Takami Nakano brought to Saipan their production crew that includes director Kosuke Suzuki, Inoue Yuusuke, Yamada Akihisa, Ito Nobuhisa, Takahashi Jun, Mizuno Mikiko, Matsushita Izumi, Kimura Akio, Shigematsu Kentaro, Muraki Tsukasa, and Nomoto Koichi.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Volunteer of the Week

Adam Sablan is a student at San Vicente Elementary. He first volunteered with Beautify CNMI! during our first coconut planting in July. Since then he has come to at least one Beautify CNMI! volunteer event per week. Sometimes he comes to two. He usually brings his mother, Juanita, and sometimes his brother, Zach, and father, Mike, tag along.

Adam the Environmental Warrior was featured in a Saipan Tribune article on the same day as our island wide destination enhancement day, 1020 on 10/20. I made him a spear out of tangantangan a week later. I'm sure his mother appreciated it.

Even though he is only 10, Adam is a role model for anyone who wants to make this island a better place to live and visit. Great job, Adam!

Beautify CNMI! doesn't have any activities planned for this weekend, so Adam, enjoy your week off! I'll see you in December!

Our first event of the month will be the DEQ Cleanup Brigade cleanup of San Antonio Beach on Saturday, December 2 at 8:00 AM.

DEQ Cleanup Brigade

Division of Environmental Quality has been hosting a beach cleanup on the first Saturday of every month for several years. Beautify CNMI! started participating in August 2006.

Here are the links:

August 2006 - Lally 4 Beach
September 2006 - Laulau Beach
October 2006 - Makaka Beach
November 2006 - Aboni Beach
December 2006 - San Antonio Beach

More CNMI Recycles Day photos

The CNMI Recycles Day Team, at Cafe at the Park -- our last planning meeting before the big day!

CNMI Recycles Day Proclamation & Award Ceremony at the DPW Transfer Station

Students check out DPW's display on solid waste management in the CNMI.

Scrapbooking 101 with Elly Stoilova -- neat gift items made from recycled materials!

CNMI Recycles Day -- Contest results, and thanks!

Many thanks to all who helped make CNMI Recycles Day an astounding success -- namely, our participating public and private schools (24 total!), and the families, local businesses, government agencies, nonprofits, and volunteers who supported them. Thanks to their tremendous efforts, an amazing 260,000lbs of recyclables (yes, over a quarter of a million pounds!) were collected for the contest.

Here are the top winners for the school recycling contest, including total pounds of recyclables collected, and pounds per student:

1st -- Northern Marianas Academy (50,380lbs total; 34 students; 1481.8lbs per student)
2nd -- Eucon International (22,459lbs total; 109 students; 206lbs per student)
3rd -- GTC Elementary (36,837lbs total; 221 students; 166.7lbs per student)
4th -- San Antonio Elementary (38,020lbs total; 239 students; 115.6lbs per student)
5th -- Grace Christian Academy (27,220lbs total; 360 students; 75.6lbs per student)
6th -- Saipan Intl School (13,300lbs total; 308 students; 63.9lbs per student)
7th -- WSR Elementary (24,886lbs total; 678 students; 36.7lbs per student)
8th -- Koblerville Elementary(14,700lbs total; 442 students; 33.3lbs per student)

As for the fabulous prizes that they won:
  • 1st (NMA) -- $600 cash, 30 waterpark passes to Pacific Islands Club, and 20 seedlings from DLNR Forestry
  • 2nd (Eucon) -- $425 cash, 25 waterpark passes to Hotel Nikko Saipan, and 20 seedlings from DLNR Forestry
  • 3rd (GTC Elementary) -- $225 cash, 20 backpacks from Ginen Saipan, and 20 seedlings from DLNR Forestry
  • 4th/Honorable Mention (San Antonio Elementary) -- $100 cash, $100 Joeten gift certificate from Saipan Shipping, 10 seedlings from DLNR Forestry, 12 backpacks from Ginen Saipan
  • 5th/Honorable Mention (Grace Christian) -- $50 cash, $50 National Office Supply gift certificate from Java Joe's, 10 seedlings from DLNR Forestry, 12 backpacks from Ginen Saipan
  • 6th/Honorable Mention (Saipan Intl) -- $50 cash, 12 backpacks from Ginen Saipan, 10 seedlings from DLNR Forestry
  • 7th/Honorable Mention (WSR Elementary) -- $50 cash, 12 backpacks from Ginen Saipan, 10 seedlings from DLNR Forestry
  • 8th/Honorable Mention (Koblerville Elementary) -- $50 cash, 12 backpacks from Ginen Saipan, 10 seedlings from DLNR Forestry

And just for participating in the contest, all other schools will receive 10 seedlings for campus beautification from DLNR Forestry and a Beautify CNMI! Certificate of Recognition. Congratulations to all our schools for their recycling efforts and enthusiasm!

To all our CNMI Recycles Day corporate sponsors, government supporters, and nonprofit partners, our heartfelt thanks:

Corporate sponsors: Ericco; Ginen Saipan; Pepsi; Pacific Islands Club; Hotel Nikko Saipan; Hafadai Publishing; Saipan Shipping; MS Villagomez; Java Joe's

Government supporters: Office of the Governor; Office of the Lt. Governor; Marianas Visitors Authority; Dept of Public Works; Division of Environmental Quality; Dept of Lands and Natural Resources, Forestry Division; Office of Rep. Cinta Kaipat; Office of Rep. Absalon Waki

Nonprofit partners: Saipan Chamber of Commerce; Marianas RC&D; MINA; MOVER

Many thanks, as well, to all our CNMI Recycles Day entertainers and exhibitors: Sam Joyner, Gus and Abdon Kaipat, Ericco, Elly Stoilova, DPW, and the Hopwood environmental club, SAVE!

Last but most definitely not least, our deepest appreciation to the hardworking and energetic members of the CRD Committee: Merced Ada; Reina Camacho; Marites Castillo; Ed Diaz; Steve Hiney; Rep. Cinta Kaipat; Gus Kaipat; Viola Kaipat; Ken Kramer; Bree Reynolds; Barrett Ristroph; Nina Rivera; Elly Stoilova; Frank Tudela; Angelo Villagomez; and Rep. Absalon Waki.

We look forward to many more recycling successes!

Beautify CNMI! in the news

Saipan Tribune, Tuesday, November 21, 2006

NMA wins Recycles Day contest
By Marconi Calindas

The Northern Marianas Academy, a private school in the Commonwealth, topped this year's CNMI Recycles Day competition.

Division of Environmental Quality Waste Reduction and Recycling coordinator Tina Sablan said the school collected a total of 50,380 lbs of recyclable materials. There were 34 NMA students who participated in the contest, bringing in 1,481.8 lbs of trash per student.

NMA won $600 cash prize, plus 30 waterpark passes to Pacific Islands Club and 20 seedlings, courtesy of the CNMI Forestry.

Eucon International School ranked second, with a total of 22,459 lbs of recyclable materials. This means the109 students who participated brought in an average of 206 lbs of trash.

Public school Gregorio T. Camacho Elementary School placed third after each of its 221 student brought in 166.7 lbs of trash for a total of 36,837 lbs.

San Antonio Elementary School ended up with 115.6 lbs per 239 participating students for an overall total of 38,020 lbs.

Grace Christian Academy ranked fifth with 75 lbs per student (total of 360 students). The private school accumulated a total of 27,220 lbs of trash.

Saipan International School, William S. Reyes Elementary School and Koblerville Elementary School followed the ranking with 63.9 lbs, 36.7 lbs, and 33.3 lbs per student respectively.

There were 24 private and public schools that participated in this year's Recycles Day competition.

Sablan said the competition based its scores on the recyclable wastes gathered by each student that participated in the competition.

The Beautify CNMI!, in collaboration with the DEQ and the Department of Public Works Solid Waste Management, held the culminating activity for the CNMI Recycles Day on Saturday at the Lower Base Transfer Station.

The event celebrated the “phenomenal effort of schools, families, and businesses in the CNMI whose combined efforts during the two-month contest resulted in the collection of over 200,000 lbs of recyclable cardboard, paper, glass, plastic, and metals.”

The 200,000 lbs of materials can now be processed and converted into useful products, said Sablan, instead of dumping them all into the CNMI landfill.

PIC's Elly Stoilova also put up a booth with two other organizations showcasing environmental awareness. Stoilova showcased arts and crafts made of recyclable materials found in the CNMI.

This year's CNMI Recycles Day partners and supporters included Ericco (provided free recycling collection for the schools); Ginen Saipan; Pepsi; Pacific Islands Club; Hotel Nikko Saipan; Hafadai Publishing; Saipan Shipping; MS Villagomez; and Java Joe’s as corporate sponsors.

Government supporters were the Office of the Governor; Office of the Lt. Governor; Marianas Visitors Authority (prizes, logistical support); DPW; DEQ; Department of Lands and Natural Resources, Forestry Division (for the seedlings of all participating schools); and Office of Rep. Cinta Kaipat; Office of Rep. Absalon Waki. Nonprofit partners: Saipan Chamber of Commerce; Marianas RC&D; MINA; and MOVER.

This year's contest committee members were Reina Camacho, Angelo Villagomez, Steve Hiney, Barrett Ristroph, Bree Reynolds, Frank Tudela, Ed Diaz, Stoilova, Ken Kramer; Cinta Kaipat; Absalon Waki, Gus Kaipat, Viola Kaipat, Nina Rivera, Marites Castillo, Merced Ada, and Sablan.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Overseas Help

There is a Japanese movie company on Saipan this week. They are filming a movie called Memory of the Seashore. The guy in the middle wearing red shorts and a white hat is famous. Any idea who he is?

These girls are the top three finalists in the Ms. Saipan contest. Out of the hundreds of original contestants, as part of being in the final three they get roles in the movie. Only one girl gets the title of Ms. Saipan, though. Even so, no matter who wins, they're all winners in my book.

So why did we get to meet these cool people? Because they heard of Beautify CNMI and wanted to pitch in! Heck yeah! How awesome is that? This afternoon they went straight from arriving at the airport to a cleanup at Paupau Beach.

The beach was actually already pretty clean, so there wasn't much cleaning up to do. We gave them T-shirts and stickers after we took approximately 4.6 million pictures together.

They'll be filming around the island all week. Keep an eye out for them and thank them for helping us make our island beautiful!

The Underwater World of Saipan

Beautify CNMI! is always looking for ways to highlight our natural resources and assets. Our goal is restore our historical and natural tourist spots and then to promote them, so that the people that live here and the people that visit us will use them.

In addition to this website, we also try to reach out to people via the local newspapers, radio, and TV station. The idea behind this is that if local people are using the resources, they will want to take care of them. Then when people from other places see that we take care of our natural and historical tourist spots, they will want to come visit us.

Simple enough, right?

Well, Mike Tripp, in his capacity as a local businessman and Beautify CNMI! partner, has added to our outreach campaign by creating a video titled The Underwater World of Saipan.

The video has the first footage I've ever seen of Saipan's coral reefs. It really captures the vast biodiversity in our waters and the immensity of that untapped resource. It makes we wonder why we're not doing more to promote our 800+ fish species and who knows how many thousands of coral species.

I can't think of a better souvenir for the hordes of divers who visit Saipan. Not only is it a great souvenir, but it is also the ultimate promotional tool (I'm hearing Japanese girls screeching "Suugoiiiii" in my head).

As an added bonus, $5 of every video purchased in November will be donated to charity. MINA, a proud partner of Beautify CNMI!, is one of the recipients.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Wing Beach: An Adopt-a-Spot Success Story

Mariana Islands Nature Alliance (MINA) has adopted Wing Beach as part of Beautify CNMI! and DEQ's Adopt-a-Beach program. They clean up the beach on the third Saturday of every month. November 2006 was the fifth month of consecutive cleanups.

Wing Beach is one of Saipan's hidden jewels. It is on the north end of the island, just past Marianas Resort. Heading north along the road to Marpi, there is a boonie road on the left hand side called Wing Beach Road. Follow it to get to either one of the two Wing Beach entrances.

The more popular beach entrance is at the end of the road. That is where tourists swim out of a naturally occurring channel to go diving. It is also where a lot of locals bbq on the weekends.

As part of their beach adoption, MINA is paying for weekly trash pickup at Wing Beach. They secured a donation to cover the cost of pickup for one year. The trash container can be found next to the "Walk It, Don't Drive It" sign at the end of the boonie road.

A few years back, Coastal Resource Management Office blocked off vehicular traffic to Wing Beach and put up these educational signs. Driving on the beach drips oil on and impacts the sand, kills vegetation, and increases erosion rates. Vehicles can also crush turtle eggs buried in the sand. Sea turtles are a culturally important species for locals and an economically important species for the local dive industry. Managing this resource by banning vehicular traffic plays an important part in protecting our local heritage and economy.

It took literally three months of cleanups and the institution of regular trash pickups to get the litter problem under control at Wing Beach. In October 2006, the fourth month of MINA's adoption, the amount of litter on the beach was almost zero. This allowed MINA to start cleaning up the road leading into Wing Beach. They cut the overgrown grass and removed litter that had been hidden along the side of the road for years.

In November 2006, with the litter problem on the beach and along the road under control, MINA, under the supervision of CNMI Forestry, started to remove invasive vine species. They also started planting native forest species along the shoreline to replace the non-native tangan tangan.

Wing Beach is well on its way in becoming one of the nicest beaches in all of Micronesia. Thanks to MINA, it is also definitely now the cleanest.

MINA did not accomplish this alone. Although they were the original adoptees of Wing Beach, they have since been joined by Marianas Resort as co-adoptees. Also, over the course of five months, they have recruited volunteer help from the Marianas Resource Conservation & Development Council, Church of Latter-day Saints, Saipan Grand Hotel, Top Fashion, Saipan Southern High School, Marianas High School, Representative Cinta Kaipat's Office, CNMI Forestry and Marianas Visitors Authority.

It is the hope of Beautify CNMI! that other adopting groups can replicate MINA's success at other locations throughout the CNMI. The most pressing issue at most locations around our islands is the litter problem. As MINA has demonstrated, it can take several months just to get this problem under control. But once the litter problem is under control, that will allow the adopting groups to tackle other problems, like habitat restoration, erosion, and runoff.

Nobody likes picking up other people's trash, but it is the first step in making these islands a better place to live and visit. If you would like more information on Adopt-a-Beach, please contact Reina Camacho at DEQ, 664-8500. If you would like more information on Adopt-a-Road, please contact Frank Tudela at MVA, 664-3200.

MINA has cleaned Wing Beach during the following months:

July 2005
August 2005
September 2005
October 2005
November 2005

Saipan Southern High School JROTC


Thank You:

CNMI Recycles Day

We celebrated CNMI Recycles Day with a proclamation signing this morning. We also awarded the top eight schools that participated in this year's recycling contest with prizes totaling several thousand dollars in value. Overall, the 24 participating schools collected 260,000 lbs of recyclable materials in under two months.

If the children really are our future, then things in the CNMI are looking up! Go us!

Friday, November 17, 2006

Wing Beach

Marianas Variety, Friday, November 17, 2006

DLNR, volunteers to plant more trees at Wing Beach
By Emmanuel T. Erediano
Variety News Staff

THE forestry division of the Department of Land and Natural Resources will plant more native trees along Wing Beach in Tanapag on Saipan.

The activity is part of the joint efforts of DLNR, Beautify CNMI! and the Mariana Islands Nature Alliance in rehabilitating the island’s coastal areas.

On Saturday, DLNR-forestry will plant nonak, panalo, putting, breadfruit and daok trees along the roadway.

MINA secretary Kathy Yuknavage said the plants are all native to the Marianas and beneficial to wildlife species.

MINA volunteers are among those who will take part in the tree planting activity.
The group aims to create a wildlife habitat in the area.

Joining the volunteers on Saturday are staffers of the Marianas Resort.

MINA, with the help of the Coastal Resource Management Office and other government agencies, has been able to start the rehabilitation of Obyan Beach located on the southern coast of the island.

Ruth Tighe - On My Mind

Ruth mentioned us at the end of this week's commentary:

On a brighter note, two worthy causes have joined hands - Crime Stoppers has offered to work with Beautify CNMI! in making its anonymous 24-hour call-in service available for reporting not only theft, burglary, shootings and the like, but environmental crimes as well - such as illegal dumping, illegal fishing, illegal waste oil disposal, etc. Anyone seeing any kind of crime being committed, or having knowledge of one, can now call a single number - 234-7272 - at any time of day or night, to anonymously report the crime.

Two hotels, one private business, one government agency, one individual family, and seven not-for-profit groups have signed up for Beautify CNMI!'s adopt-a-beach, adopt-a-road program. The group is still looking for volunteers - there's lots more road and beach-front to cover.....

CNMI Recycles Day

Beautify CNMI! invites the community to join the CNMI Recycles Day festivities this Saturday, Nov 18, 9am, @ the Lower Base Transfer Station.

Come and celebrate the phenomenal efforts of our schools, our families, and our businesses whose combined efforts during the two-month contest resulted in the collection of over 260,000 lbs (that's over a quarter million!) of recyclable cardboard, paper, glass, plastic, and metals. That's 200,000 pounds of materials that can now be processed and converted into useful products, NOT dumped in our landfill.

In addition to recognizing all the school participants and supporters who have made the CNMI Recycles Day campaign a phenomenal success, we will be awarding prizes to the top three schools with the highest recycling rates per student, plus five honorable mentions. The top three prizes are as follows:
  • 1st place -- $600, 30 waterpark passes to Pacific Islands Club, 20 seedlings for campus beautification
  • 2nd place -- $425, 25 waterpark passes to Hotel Nikko Saipan, 20 seedlings for campus beautification
  • 3rd place -- $225, 20 backpacks from Ginen Saipan, and 20 seedlings for campus beautification

The CNMI Recycles Day celebration will kick off at 9am with a Proclamation signing by the Acting Governor, and will also include educational exhibits, hands-on demonstrations and games, great entertainment, and tours of the Transfer Station. The event is free and open to the community; light refreshments will be served.

Thank you very much and we hope to see you there!

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Isley Field Cleanup

A while back a few students from Manta Ray Battalion Alpha Company at Saipan Southern High School contacted Beautify CNMI! for some assistance with a service learning project. There is an old airstrip next to SSHS that the students use for their PE classes and JROTC training. People have been using this airstrip as a private (and illegal) dump for years. The students wanted to clean this up so that the next time they go for a run, they're not jumping over used diapers, butane cannisters, and other assorted household garbage.

This is how the cleanup went:


30 volunteers, 2 hours, and 10,900 pounds later:

Can you spot the difference? That's right! The sky is bluer in the first picture! Oh yeah, the garbage is missing in the second picture, too. That grassy looking stuff in the middle of the first picture? That wasn't grass. That was a pile of garbage with grass growing on top.

Here are some pictures of the students and volunteers in action:

Marites Castillo brought a gang of Friends of the Mariana Islands (formerly known as MOVER):

We should know later today what the total weight was. Yesterday, while we waited for the dumpster containing the first load to be emptied and brought back, we bagged and piled up trash in the center of the airstrip. It just needs to be thrown in the dumpster and taken to the landfill. The first load weighed 10,900 lbs. Some of Beautify CNMI's partners are going to finish up what the students couldn't finish yesterday and report back on the weight, but it is probably safe to assume that the second load will weigh about the same as the first.

That would put us at about 20,000 pounds of trash in four hours...and we hardly put a dent in the place.

Thanks to everyone who participated!

The SSHS students have adopted this site as part of Beautify CNMI's adopt a spot program. With our assisstance, they are going to go out there once a month to clean the area up. I am really proud of these kids. They came to us for help because they wanted to have a safe, clean, and healthy place to exercise. Even so, while it is encouraging that these kids are so civic minded, it is a shame that we have to rely on the children in our community to pick up after the adults.

Great job, Alpha Company!

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Volunteer of the Week

Mylene is a student at Hopwood Junior High School. I first met her this summer when I took her and several other students from her summer camp on a field trip to the Laulau Revegetation Project. After learning about watersheds, erosion, and our land use practices, Mylene and the other students helped remove 440 lbs of trash dumped in one of the streams draining the Laulau Watershed.

This week Mylene has been helping Beautify CNMI! recruit Myspace friends at her school. While adults tend to use email and telephones to communicate, the younger generation uses Myspace and text messaging. Having a large presence on Myspace will allow Beautify CNMI! to reach these kids.

Thank you, Mylene.

The Volunteer of the Week is announced every Tuesday afternoon.

Click HERE to visit the Beautify CNMI! Myspace page

Beautify CNMI! in the news

Marianas Variety, Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Kaipat: Volunteerism is the answer
By Emmanuel T. Erediano
Variety News Staff

SOME consider it a big challenge. Beautify CNMI! calls it a big opportunity.

Rep. Cinta Kaipat-Covenant Saipan and one of the group’s leading lights, said although everyone on island agrees that it has to be kept green and clean, most believe that the government does not enough money or manpower to do it.

This is precisely the “excuse” that motivates Beautify CNMI!, she said.

“We want to prove that there are still a lot of things that can be done despite our limited resources,” she added.

Volunteerism is the key.

“If we volunteer then we can overcome the lack of manpower and the lack of funding,” Kaipat said.

She said Beautify CNMI! was created to draw people together to act as one in making the island a better place to live.

The idea for the group came to her while discussing an off-island article written about the Mariana islands.

The article was written from the perspective of tourism and it made Kaipat believe that “we can still improve things around this island.”

She said she knew there were a lot of residents who share her vision of beautifying Saipan through volunteerism.

“I knew there were a lot of people who, though silent, really care for the environment,” she added. “We have to do something so that people who live here can have a clean environment which can attract the type of tourists that can help our economy.”

Among the other “green-minded” people she knows is the Division of Environmental Quality’s Tina Sablan whom she had seen going out year after year on cleanup drives with volunteer groups like MOVER.

“She was the person I had in mind — someone whom I would like to get involved in it. Tina Sablan was then busy working on a recycling project,” Kaipat recalled.

Kaipat went to see Sablan, other DEQ personnel and representatives from the Saipan Mayor’s Office to discuss her vision for Beautify CNMI!

“We just started talking about what it was that we wanted, so I got up and said, ‘I would like the government and people in the community to come together and do something under a simple concept’ — and that is, all of us should take responsibility because we can’t always rely on the government to do everything,” she said.

Kaipat recalled that the plan was discussed further in more meetings, which also led to the creation of a restoration committee headed by Angelo Villagomez.

Beautify CNMI!’s first activity was recycling and it was followed by the planting of flame trees along Beach Road.

And the rest is history that continues to be made.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Get your Limited Edition Beautify CNMI! T-shirt

There are three ways to get a volunteer T-shirt:

1. Volunteer!
2. Donate $20 (online or in person)
3. Promote us on Myspace - this one is the easiest of the three

To get a shirt by promoting us on Myspace you must:

1. Post a bulletin telling all of your Myspace friends to add Beautify CNMI! as a friend...make sure you link to our Myspace from your bulletin
2. Put Beautify CNMI! in your top 8 (or top, 12, 16, 20, or 24)
3. Leave a comment on our myspace telling us that you did #1 and #2

When you do these three steps, I'll tell you where to pick up your shirt. The first 20 people get a bumper sticker, too.

Sunday, November 12, 2006


12 Groups have adopted "spots" as part of Beautify CNMI's Adopt-a-Road and Adopt-a-Beach program. The two stand outs of this ever growing group of groups are MINA and MOVER.

MINA has adopted Wing Beach. In four short months they have reduced the litter on the beach to almost zero. In addition to monthly cleanups, they are also paying for a dumpster in the beach parking lot, which is emptied weekly.

MOVER (soon to be the Friends of the Mariana Islands) stands out because they have adopted four spots: the Garapan Tourist District, South Laulau, North Laulau, and the road in Dan Dan between NMC and San Vicente Elementary.

Today was the first time they cleaned up the road in Dan Dan. It was also the first day we had an event while wearing our fancy new T-shirts!

The T-shirts were donated by MVA and Island Apparel. We've been promising the MOVER volunteers T-shirts for about 5 months. We finally delivered!

Bag-o-aluminum cans. We found the usual stuff along the side of the road. We don't usually find a lot of aluminum cans when we clean the beaches, but now that we've been cleaning the roads for a few weeks, I can say with some authority that there are lot of cans on the side of the road.

Here we all are modeling our new shirts. We filled up yet another pickup truck with garbage. It is amazing how a street with seemingly no trash yields so much trash.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Another Bus Stop

Today we took a graffiti covered bus stop and painted it using left over paint from 1020 on 10/20 that was donated by Sherwin Williams and Transamerica. We had two cops, seven LEEP students, and Nina, one of our super volunteers, participate.

We gave the bus stop two coats. Putting the primer on was the easy part. The final coat would prove to be more difficult.

While the first coat dried the students participated in a beach cleanup. The officers made them line up, then they walked along the beach picking up trash. Effective, ne?

This part of the beach is pretty well taken care of by the Division of Parks & Recreation, so there actually wasn't much trash to pick up. Oh well, we'll have plenty of opportunities to pull illegally dumped washing machines out of streams.

When the first coat was dry we came back to apply the final coat of paint. We decided that we wanted the bus stop to stand out from the other bus stops on Saipan, so we opted for a grey and white checkerboard pattern with brown lines.

I don't remember exactly how long it took for the kids to start painting each other, but it wasn't very long. I even got in on the action. The above picture was taken about half a second after I gave Pua a white mohawk across the middle of his head.

Almost finished! This picture was taken when we just needed a litter more brown and a few touchups of white and grey. Then, here is the finished product:

Well, what do you think of our work? Looks pretty good, huh?

Friday, November 10, 2006

MINA Fundraiser

The MINA fundraiser was a great success this evening! I didn't get a final count, but it looked like over 100 people attended.

The guests were treated to Mike Tripp's new DVD showcasing several dive sites around Saipan and appetizers prepared by Aqua Resort.

Aqua Resort was very generous in hosting the event. The proceeds of the entrace fee and 50% of the happy hour drink sales were donated to MINA to support thier environmental programs.

MINA also had T-shirts, DVDs, and cards for sale. MVA and Island Apparel paid for the Beautify CNMI! shirts, MINA paid for the MINA shirts, Mike Tripp provided the DVDs, and the underwater photography on the cards were by Erica Cochrane.

Several door prizes were given out to about a dozen lucky winners. In addition to the T-shirts, DVDs, and cards, gift certificates were also provided by Aqua Resort and Saipan Grand Hotel. Thank you, donors!

Ted Parker was the lucky winner of the very first official Beautify CNMI! T-shirt. Ted participates in all of the MINA Wing Beach cleanups and also participated in the Laderan Tanke cleanup.

Thank you to everyone who bought a ticket and attended!

MINA (Mariana Islands Nature Alliance)

Mariana Islands Nature Alliance (MINA) is a proud partner of Beautify CNMI! As one of their projects, on the third Saturday of every month the members clean up Wing Beach. They also PAY for weekly trash collection. Their efforts have resulted in a drastic drop in the amount of trash on the beach. With the exception of the beaches fronting the hotels, Wing Beach is now the cleanest beach on Saipan, thanks to the scores of volunteers donating just a few hours a month and a small donation to pay for a year's worth of trash pickup.

MINA intends to extend this project to two more beaches in the near future. They also have several other projects, such as the turtle nesting site improvements at Obyan Beach and creating and maintaining an environmental hotline for the CNMI.

These projects need funding and MINA has effectively demonstrated that they can make a few dollars go a very long way. It only costs MINA a few hundred dollars to maintain Wing Beach for a year.

Please support MINA by purchasing a ticket to their fundraiser taking place this Friday (see message below). Tickets are $10 and can be purchased by contacting any board member or emailing

If you would like to purchase tickets online, you can donate to MINA through the Beautify CNMI! website, just click on the MAKE A DONATION button.

When you purchase a ticket (or several!), I will forward your name to MINA to have you included on the guest list. All proceeds will go towards MINA's environmental programs.

Even if you can't make it on Friday, please consider purchasing a few tickets. Like I said, MINA will put your money to good use.

See below for details:

Join MINA this Friday at Aqua Resort for an evening of multimedia celebrating the beauty and diversity of our island environment.

Appetizers • Prizes • Multimedia Show

$10 per person, all funds to support
MINA’s Environmental Programs.

Friday, November 10, 2006
Aqua Resort Club
Doors open at 5:30PM

For more information and tickets please email

Visit us on the web at

Promoting our tourist sites

Marianas Variety, Friday, November 10, 2006

Take a hike to Laderan Tangke
By Alexie Villegas Zotomayor
Variety Features Editor

THICK nimbus clouds converging and hovering over Suicide cliff, and white birds seemingly distraught and fleeing the area were telling cleanup volunteers that an heavy downpour was on its way. And rain it did but the Japanese and other volunteers went on with their cleanup of the monument. After taking pictures and getting soaked, a good friend, Angelo Villagomez, took me to a place I had never visited or even knew existed.

We negotiated the curves down from the Suicide Cliff, and went further downhill until we reached La Fiesta and then we turned left, went uphill and sped toward the direction of the tank. As we got closer, the tank appeared like a space ship looming large. Then we turned right and went farther uphill, driving along a paved road with thick grass encroaching on it. After 15 minutes of non-stop driving and mowing down the tall grass, we reached the place — Laderan Tangke.

Chamorro for cliff, “ladera” offers visitors a breathtaking view of unspoiled nature. The 1.8-mile trail that can be finished in about two hours has posts to guide hikers through the loop. It can be a very exciting walk along the trail.

It was just the two us, and the place felt a little eerie as silence overwhelmed us except for the occasional chirping of birds that was music to our ears. Exploring the entrance to the trail called Laderan Tangke, a coconut crab greeted us as it climbed a tree. The coconut crab is just one of the many animal species that call the Laderan Tangke trail their habitat.

After a few minutes, Division of Fish and Wildlife biologist Laura Williams arrived to keep us company as we checked out the trail. Before we proceeded to the trail, we — Angelo, Laura, and I — had a good conversation about the trail and the creatures that have come to call the trail their home.

According to good friend Angelo, who is also an active official of the Beautify CNMI! and a public involvement coordinator for Marianas Resource Conservation & Development Council, “Laderan Tangke was originally created by CNMI Forestry. What we did for our cleanup was to improve and mark the trail to make it easier to follow. Volunteers from MINA, MOVER, RC&D, and Cinta Kaipat’s Office went through with machetes and chainsaws, and under the guidance of DFW Wildlife Biologist Laura Williams, we made the trail easier to follow.”

He also said that Laderan Tangke is a world-class nature trail where you can see birds and other wildlife that are found nowhere else in the world. A Marianas fruit dove or a reed warbler might seem like no big deal to some locals, but there is a segment of the tourist market that would pay big bucks to get a glimpse of rare birds.

Laura agreed. She said, “The Laderan Tangke is a good place for tourists who love to do “birding.” Laura said that these people are an affluent group of bird watchers who travel the world to see rare birds and keep a checklist of birds they’ve seen. “Last year when the Japanese Emperor visited Saipan, the Japanese Ambassador to the United States accompanied him. The Japanese Ambassador and his wife are avid birders and the Japanese consulate called our office to ask us to take the Ambassador and his wife birding. We took them to the Laderan Tangke Trail to see our native birds.”

She said that the couple were able to see many native birds including the Micronesian Honeyeater (Egigi), the Golden White-eye (Canario), The Bridled white-eye (Nosa), the Collard Kingfisher (Sihek) and the Rufous fantail (Chichirika). “Unfortunately we were not able to see the rare and endangered Nightingale reed-warbler (Gaga Karisu), the Micronesian Megapode (sasangat), or the secretive Mariana fruit dove (Tottot), or the White throated ground dove (Paluman Kotbata).

As we continued talking about the birds and the wildlife at the site, we took our first steps on the forest trail, passing by fresh green thickets.

Negotiating the damp path, and trying to trace the markers left by Beautify CNMI!, we couldn’t help talking about the birds which chirp and flew over us.

Laura said that many of the native Mariana birds are actually endemic to the Mariana Islands — endemic means that that they are found only in a specific area, in this case birds that are endemic to the Mariana Islands are found only in the Marianas.

Some of the Mariana birds are only found on a few islands as well.

Some of the endemic birds at the Laderan Tangke Trail include the Golden white-eye, the Bridled white eye, the Micronesian Megapode, the Mariana Swiftlet and the Nightingale reedwarbler. The Mariana fruit dove and the White throated ground dove can be heard along the trail, but they are rarely seen.

We had not gone deep into the trail when Angelo saw a dark-green lizard almost the same color as the trunk of the tree. When we got closer, it crawled up and evaded our attention.

A few weeks back, the Beautify CNMI! group, of which Angelo is an active official, did a cleanup of the place and left trail markers. As we went into the forest, Angelo and Laura tried to locate those markers — pink or yellow ribbons and green arrow signs on trees or orange posts set in the ground.

According to Laura here are 16 specially marked areas along the trail. Laura and Angelo showed me the first mark where busy white-eyes frequently hop on tree branches and feed on insects. A little further down the trail, following the rocky, mossy part, we came upon one of the foxholes used by the Japanese soldiers during World War II.

We paused for a few minutes and marveled at the greenery that surrounded us. There are pandanus and “kalaskas,” “umumu,” “gulos,” “paipai,” trees apart from the fern arch and other forrest flora that make this natural limestone area a habitat for many fauna collections.

It was a nice trek although it was a little dangerous in places, and one should take safety precautions. Laura reminded me to wear sturdy shoes not sandals next time I do the trekking. With some sections covered with moss and the place as damp as it gets, the trail is slippery in places.

Angelo said that with the trail markers and colored ribbons in place, it will now be a lot easier to follow the trail.

As we headed back to the entrance of the trail, Laura and Angelo said that the experience was unique; however, they encourage people who follow the trail not to leave litter and keep the place clean.

Angelo said, “Beautify CNMI is a coalition committed to make these islands a better place to live in and visit. We’re not just a ‘cleanup group,’ we also want to restore and then promote our natural and historical sites as tourist attractions.

Part of that includes picking up trash and planting trees, but there are other aspects, like the cleanup at Laderan Tangke. Fish & Wildlife has trail guides for Laderan Tangke in four languages. So now people who speak Chinese, Korean, Japanese, and of course English, can enjoy the trail on a self-guided tour.”

Laura said the guides are available at American Memorial Park and at the Division of Fish and Wildlife.

As we all headed back to our respective appointments that afternoon, a lingering thought stayed with me as I drove away from the place — I will come back and finish the trail.

It is an experience I will never forget as I would not have discovered that such an unspoiled place exists and a voice in me tells me “take a hike…finish the trail.”
And finish the trail I will.

(Interested parties who wish to follow the Laderan Tangke Trail may get in touch with tour agencies that offer special guided tours for a certain fee, or may get in touch with the Division of Fish and Wildlife for more details.)