Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Beautify CNMI in the News

The Variety wrote a very good article today about yesterday's planting of Flame Trees. They picked up on the damage being done to our trees by unskilled bushcutters:

Bush-cutters are flame trees’ worst enemies
By Emmanuel T. Erediano
Variety News Staff

MARIANA Islands Nature Alliance executive director, Angelo Villagomez says unskilled bush-cutters are the flame trees’ worst new enemies, compared to typhoons and the fungus Phellinus noxious.

Recent typhoons have toppled flame trees along Beach Road and other areas on Saipan while Phellinus noxious is responsible for killing several flame trees along Airport Road and four other places on island.

But Villagomez yesterday said flame trees are also getting killed “not by nature but mismanagement or bad care.”

Villagomez, together with Rep.Cinta Kaipat, Covenant-Saipan, were among the Beautify CNMI! volunteers who planted flame trees along Beach Road yesterday morning in celebration of the first anniversary of the coalition’s tree planting activities.

Among the 2,000 native trees that Beautify CNMI! has planted since last year are 27 flame trees.

At least 83 people who have adopted flame tree seedlings will join the coalition in planting 150 more flame trees, Villagomez said.

Flame trees killed by improper trimming have recently become a concern of the Marianas Resource Conservation and Development Council, MINA and Beautify CNMI!
A tree trimmer training workshop was conducted recently.

During the tree planting yesterday morning, Villagomez showed how bush-cutters harm newly planted flame trees.

He pointed to an affected portion of a young flame tree that was hit by a bush-cutting equipment due to carelessness.

He said there is a need to educate the people performing bush-cutting jobs.
Newly planted flame tress must be protected from careless bush-cutters, he added.
Ken Kramer of the Marianas Resource Conservation and Development Council said they want to replace the flame trees that were killed by the fungus, but not in the areas where the soil is still infected with the fungus.

Eleven infected flame trees along Airport Road will be cut down.

At least 10 percent of the 600 flame trees planted on Saipan in 1978 have already been killed by this fungus which can be dormant for many years.

Brad Doerr, MINA’s organic gardener who grows flame trees, said the affected soil has to be sterilized before planting new flame trees which take 10 years before they can bear flowers.

Those who also participated in yesterday’s flame tree planting were Capt. Carl Brachear, Isa-CNMI’s Aya Matsumoto, Walt Goodridge, Julian Aguon, Joyie Lam and John Griffin, a visitor from Pennsylvania.
We also made the front page of the Saipan Tribune:

Saipan Tribune Front PageThe caption reads:

MARKING A MILESTONE: Ken Kramer of the Marianas Resources Conservation & Development Council plants the first Adopt-a-Flame Tree sapling during the kickoff the Beautify CNMI tree planting for 2007 on Beach Road Tuesday morning. The planting was done in celebration of the first year anniversary of Beautify CNMI's tree planting drive. The hardworking volunteers and members of Beautify CNMI, MRC&D, Rep. Cinta Kaipat's Office, Isa CNMI, and Mariana Islands Nature Alliance planted five trees yesterday, replacing trees damaged by typhoons, bushcutter, or disease over the years.
Walt Goodridge also mentioned us in his weekly column today:

I suggest, therefore, that the necessary response in the face of change, and what the New Saipan ActionTank is committed to doing is to

1. Envision the change

2. Spark the change

3. Lead the change

4. Document the change

The strategy above, and the questions which follow can be used by anyone who wishes to participate in the New Saipan.

Envision the Change

What is your vision of what a new Saipan can look like? What’s your ideal scene? What can be improved?

Spark the Change

What can you do to be a catalyst for change? How can you get the ball rolling? How can you encourage or inspire others to bring about the change you envision?

Lead the Change

The best way to change the world is to be the change you’d like to see, and lead by example. What can you do to show others how it should be done?

Document the Change

In this time of distraction, it’s not enough to simply respond to change, it is important that your response be documented and exposed. This is vitally important, because without adequate documentation and coverage, people are left at the mercy of fear-based, passivity-inducing, daily "news" that neither empowers nor appropriately informs. How can we expose our efforts and accomplishments to the greatest number of people?

Evidence of Change

The strategy above is not unique to the ActionTank. There are examples and evidence of people already using it:

BeautifyCNMI!, concerned about the appearance of this island, took matters in their own hands and envisioned, sparked, led and continue to document the change on their website (www.beautifycnmi.com).

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