Thursday, August 31, 2006

Prizes Announced!!!

Beautify CNMI is proud to announce the prizes for the logo contest:

3rd place: $200 cash
2nd place: $300 cash
1st place: $500 cash

Prizes have also been donated by Hyatt Regency Saipan, Century Hotel, and Aqua Resort Club. More prizes are in the works and they will be announced by the end of the contest.

The contest is open to all residents of the CNMI. For more details please contact Reina Camacho at DEQ at 664-8500.

Front Page News

The front page of the online and print editions of today's Saipan Tribune features two of our volunteers painting over graffiti at this past weekend's community cleanup.

Since our two activites at Koblerville were so successful, I think that the [Insert Name of Village] Community Cleanup will soon become a regular activity of Beautify CNMI.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Beauty CNMI update

Marianas Variety, Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Beautify CNMI continues to build pride, make the island a better place
By Cherrie Anne E. Villahermosa
Variety News Staff

SINCE the establishment of Beautify CNMI in June, the group has been cleaning beaches and planting trees along Beach Road, Laolao Bay and the Grotto area.

The group has planted 1,547 flame trees, coconut trees and daok trees in various places around the island.

Angelo Villagomez, public involvement coordinator of the Marianas Resource Conservation & Development Council, said the trees they have planted will one day provide a beautiful canopy for people driving and riding bikes or running along the roads of the Grotto area and Beach Road.

Villagomez said members of MOVER, volunteers from the forestry division, the Division of Environmental Quality, the Marianas Resource Conservation & Development Council, the Mariana Islands Nature Alliance, the offices of Reps. Cinta Kaipat, Waki Absalom, students and other private individuals have been active in Beautify CNMI’s cleaning and tree planting activities.

On Aug. 13, the group planted 65 daok trees along the road leading to the Grotto.

On Aug. 19, the group conducted its monthly beach cleanup at Wing Beach. Students from Saipan Southern High School helped pick up over 300 pounds of trash from the beach.

The group also conducted a stream cleanup at Laolao Bay.

Villagomez said some people are using the Laolao watershed as an illegal dumping site.

When it rains heavily, garbage is washed out into the reef flat which pollutes the water and can kill wildlife, Villagomez said.

He said they hauled out 1,820 pounds of trash including three washing machines, an old sofa and a mattress from Laolao Bay on Aug. 20.

On Sunday, Aug. 27, the group was joined by volunteers from the Board of Parole, the Church of Latter Day Saints and Koblerville Elementary School in cleaning up the area around the Koblerville substation.

Villagomez said volunteers used machetes and sickles to cut down the brush choking the plumeria trees, and they cut the grass along the road using bush cutters.

The group also painted over the graffiti at the Koblerville substation.

The paint supplies were donated by Rep. Kaipat, Covenant-Saipan, and the Marianas Resource Conservation & Development Council.

The yard waste was picked up by staffers from the offices of Kaipat and Waki, Covenant-Saipan.
Beautify CNMI also collected thousands of pounds of recyclable bottles and cans during the Micronesian Games, the Liberation Day festivities and the Garapan Street Market.

Beautify CNMI is a coalition of government agencies, the 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 environment and the quality life through public education on recycling, restoration, waste management, and enforcement of laws.

Villagomez said Beautify CNMI is always looking for volunteers to help with their island improvement efforts.

This weekend, Beautify CNMI will be working at Laolao Bay and will be joined by volunteers from DEQ.

The group will plant native trees on the Laolao hillsides.

The meeting place will be the Santa Soledad Church at 8 a.m.

For more information call DEQ at 664-8500 or Angelo Villagomez at 483-1078.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Great News!

Saipan Tribune, Tuesday, August 29, 2006

DEQ assigns green flag on all Saipan sites

The Division of Environmental Quality reported that none of the samples it recently collected contained excessive concentration of fecal indicator bacteria nor did they exceed the CNMI Marine Water Quality Standards.

DEQ therefore assigns all of the sampled beach sites a green flag and told the public to "enjoy our waters."

DEQ analyzes water samples collected from Saipan's east and south recreational beaches this week as part of the regularly scheduled sampling.

DEQ analyzed samples of 12 Saipan east and south recreational beaches. DEQ welcomes all inquiries as to the quality of the beach water. The public is encouraged to contact DEQ at 664-8500 with any questions concerning this matter. (PR)

Monday, August 28, 2006

Koblerville Substation Peace Park?

Over our barbeque potluck lunch yesterday, some of us got to talking. Wouldn't it be nice to turn the old abandoned airfield into a neighborhood park? There is already a community center and a basketball park, all we'd have to do is to fill in the spaces with park benches, a playground, and lots of trees and picnic tables.

Well, should we decide to work with our Beautify CNMI partners and turn it into a park, we've already got a pretty good headstart. On Sunday, 76, yes 76, volunteers spent 9, yes 9, hours cleaning up the Koblerville substation and old airstrip.

This continues the project that we started last week, where we cut back brush and grass. This week we finished clearing the area along the road. We also washed off and painted over all of the graffiti on the substation.

Paint and paint supplies were donated by Rep. Cinta Kaipat and Marianas Resource Conservation & Development Council.

The kids did a fantastic job of washing off the old paint. This ensured that we had a nice clean surface for us to paint over.

While the kids picked up litter around the site and painted the first coat of paint over the graffiti, the adults were hard at work using bushcutters and machetes to cut back the brush:

I wish this picture was in better focus. You can see from the photo that the number of boys far outweighed the number of girls. The kids weren't motivated on their own to pick up trash because they all wanted to paint and/or use the chainsaw. So how do you get 20-30 kids pumped up to pick up garbage? Easy, just make it a contest! I challenged the boys to pick up more trash than the girls and vice versa. In this picture we are deciding who the champions are...then I discovered that instead of picking up litter, the boys were stuffing their bags with yard waste. Cheaters!

So 15 seconds later I said the contest was still on and I challenged the boys to actually beat the girls, even though there were far fewer girls than boys. The kids immeadiately charged off to pick up more trash. Can you guess who won? The girls, of course!

The previous two pictures are of our chefs. They prepared the food that we feasted on.

After luch it was time to get back to work. We finished painting the substation, effectively removing ALL of the graffiti. We also finished up cutting the grass and clearing the brush, then we spent a considerable time picking up the yard waste afterwards.

What a difference a day makes! At the end of the day we were all a little sunburned and really tired. Rep. Cinta Kaipat bought ice keiki for the kids to thank them for a hard days work.

This weekend's activites were planned and supoorted by Rep. Kaipat's Office and the Marianas Resource Conservation & Development Council. Most of the volunteer labor was provided by MOVER and students from Koblerville Elementary.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Kudos for Kaipat

Marianas Variety, Friday, August 25, 2006

Let’s all keep it clean
By Zaldy Dandan
Variety Editor

ANOTHER individual deserving special mention this week is Rep. Cinta Kaipat for her dedication to the environment and beautification efforts. Kaipat leads her group of volunteers each week to clean and beautify a specific area of concern in the community.

Kaipat understands what many miss, and that is maintaining a clean and healthy environment is a lesson taught each day at home and in school. Brigades of volunteers cannot be permanently responsible for cleaning up the mess left behind from weekends at the beach, or the casual littering that occurs everywhere, everyday.

Kaipat deserves support for her effort. Vice Speaker Quitugua also deserves recognition for the roadside cleanup that he undertakes in his district. Both these lawmakers have been consistent in their commitment to these projects, which is extremely important to the long-term success of any community endeavor.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Clean those streams!

Beautify CNMI participated in two community events this weekend. On Saturday we helped Rep. Kaipat clean up the substation in Koblerville. We had help from Marianas Resource Conservation & Development Council, DEQ, Board of Parole, the Church of Latter Day Saints, and MOVER.

On Sunday we planned to plant trees up at the Lao Lao revegetation project, but the volunteers requested that we have a stream cleanup instead. Who am I to argue with the volunteers? We rescheduled the planting, which should be the final planting of the year, for two weeks from Sunday and drove down to the beach for a stream cleanup.

A few months ago Marianas RC&D took some students to Lao Lao on a field trip. We toured the revegetation area and then pulled out 440 lbs of trash from Stream #4. Today we finished cleaning up the trash in Stream #4 that we weren't able to get in June, cleaned up along the beach, and then cleaned up another illegal dumping site just north of Stream #4.

We put everything in garbage bags and piled it up on the side of the road. Dennis Cabrera and Kyle Kaipat from Rep. Kaipat's office spent most of the week picking up the garbage bays we piled up at Lao Lao and at Koblerville..

Our photographer went a little crazy with the pictures this morning. When I plugged in my camera to upload the pictures, I saw that she had taken 97 photographs!

Here are a few of my favorites:

What really strikes me with all of these pictures is how beautiful and green this island is. It is truly a shame that people would use such a beautiful place to dump their garbage. We shouldn't be dumping garbage in places like this, we should be taking tourists down there...or at least enjoying it ourselves.

Luckily, we have people like our volunteers who are willing to give up a large part of their day, or even their entire weekend as is the case with MOVER, to make this island a better place to live.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Fairy Tern

These are my favorite birds on Saipan...well, except for the tropicbirds (fagpi)...and the Marianas Fruit Dove (totot)...

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Cleaning the Koblerville Substation

This morning Beautify CNMI extending their beautification efforts to Koblerville. Our partners from MOVER, the Church of Ladder Day Saints, DEQ, Rep. Cinta Kaipat's Office, Board of Parole, and Marianas Resource Conservation & Development Council participated in the first stage of the beautification project, which is to clean up and beautify the substation and old airstrip.

The above photo was taken a few days before our cleanup. You can see how the coconuts and the plumeria are being chocked out by the faster growing weedy species. The area is overgrown with tangantangan, the grass needs to be cut back, and there is a lot of litter that needs cleaning up.

The first thing we did was walk around the area and pick up all of the litter. After that we got to work cleaning up the overgrown areas. We used machetes and sickles to cut back the tangantangan choking out the plumeria trees.

After clearing the tangantangan, the guys came through with bushcutters and cleared the rest of area. After that, the rest of the volunteers bagged up all of the tree branches and cut grass for transport to the Saipan transfer station.

Rep. Cinta Kaipat commissioned two of these signs to put on either end of our project. The look pretty good, huh? People driving by kept honking at us after reading the signs. The could have been telling us to get out of the way, but I have a feeling that they were trying to tell us that they support us.

Rep. Kaipat also donated a catered lunch for all of the volunteers. We had red rice, fried chicken, sauteed beef, potato salad, and chicken kelaguen.

Here are some pictures of the volunteers enjoying their lunches:

And the obligatory group shot:

Some of the volunteers left after lunch (myself included). Other volunteers stayed as late as 3:30 PM cleaning up and clearing out the area. That takes dedication. We can't thank these volunteers enough for their service.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Pretty Mushrooms!!!

I like posting pictures of beautiful things on Saipan. This amazing mushroom was photographed along the Banadero trail, which leads from the Last Command Post to the top of Suicide Cliff.

I have no idea what it is called. Are there any fungus experts out there?

Monday, August 14, 2006

Daok Planting at the Grotto

Yesterday morning, Beatify CNMI members CNMI Forestry, MOVER, Marianas RC&D and Rep. Kaipat's office planted 64 Daok trees along the road leading to the Grotto.

Daok is a beautiful local canopy species used in traditional medicine and to make oil.

The trees planted yesterday won't directly effect erosion rates or the amount of sediment washing out onto Saipan's coral reefs, but they will make the island a more beautiful place to live. The planting keeps our volunteers involved and gives them ownership in the stewardship of our island.

Hiking up to our revegetation project is hard work. We can't expect volunteers to want to hike up there week after week. We are trying to combine our difficult plantings with easier plantings, hence our coconuts on the beach plantings and this planting. The idea being that when we do our plantings that have more of an affect on Saipan's coral reefs, like at Lao Lao, by keeping our volunteers involved on a weekly basis, it will be much easier to organize and recruit them.

This is working. Although it was pouring rain most of the morning, 29 volunteers showed up to plant trees.

Thank you to everyone involved in yet another successful planting!

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Getting Soaked at the Grotto

35 volunteers showed up to plant trees at the Grotto this morning, but somebody forget to bring the trees.


I think it might have had something to do with Tropical Storm Saomai, which is churning about 90 miles south of Saipan.

Oh well, it wasn't a total waste of a day. We pulled down some vines that were choking the trees near the Grotto entrance and Rob Jordan went for a swim. The original plan was for everybody to go for a swim, but the water was really rough (something to do with the tropical storm) so we skipped it. We'll go swimming next time.

After our vine pulling, Beautify CNMI presented MOVER with an award for their participation in the recycling efforts during the Micronesian Games.

Afterwards we met up at one of the pala palas at Kilili Beach Park and had a barbeque. It didn't rain the whole time we barbequed, it only rained for most of the time we barbequed. MOVER provided all of the food and drinks. Thanks, MOVER!

After eating we presented the award again and then took a picture with the other MOVER members who couldn't make it to this morning's activities at the Grotto.

Next week we are going back up to the Lao Lao revegetation project to finish up that project for the year. We will meet Sunday at the Santa Soledad church at 8 AM, just like the other three times we have planted up there. The weekend after that we are going to clean up the Koblerville substation and possibly plant a few trees along the old airstrip.

If you would like to volunteer, contact Angelo Villagomez at the Marianas Resource Conservation & Development Council at 236-0894.