During their regular meeting on June 4, 2009, Beautify CNMI partners brainstormed on projects for 2009 and selected chairs to head four committees.
Joe Kaipat of Division of Environmental Quality and Kathy Yuknavage of Mariana Islands Nature Alliance are to co-chair the Solid Waste Committee, the goals of which are to increase the percentage of solid waste recyclables collected, reduce littering, and remove solid waste from local beaches, roads, and villages.
The Solid Waste Committee has plans to develop an adopt-a-spot program in conjunction with a marine debris removal and recycling campaign.
“In the next year we want to take the success we’ve had with keeping Wing Beach clean and spread it to at least seven other beaches,” explained Yuknavage. “We have plans to work with the community putting recycling and trash bins next to some of the most popular beaches on Saipan.”
Angelo Villagomez of the Rotary Club of Saipan, Ronnie Rogers of Historic Preservation Office, and Kathleen Hermann of Division of Environmental Quality will co-chair the Restoration Committee, which will focus on re-vegetation projects and maintaining historical sites.
The committee plans to continue work on the Laulau Revegetation Project started by the CNMI Watershed Group in 2005. They also want to start a volunteer corp who will maintain local historical areas.
Dr. Dan Lamar of FHP Saipan will chair the Parks & Trails Committee, which seeks to create a system of local, state, and national parks under a Commonwealth Parks System.
“A Commonwealth Parks System connected by a series of trails would be a great draw for tourists,” according to Lamar. “It would also attract professionals who look at quality of life issues when deciding where they want to practice their profession.”
Laurie Peterka of Practical Solutions and local student Tyler Yoshimoto were named as the co-chairs of a new Beautify CNMI Committee that will launch a campaign uniting youth, the community, artists, and businesses to combat graffiti.
“This is something that I’ve been working on with the ISK8 Society for quite some time and I’m really excited to make it a part of Beautify CNMI,” said Peterka.
All of the coalition partners agreed that youth education and development through coalition building and partnerships should be an integral part of Beautify CNMI.
“It is so important to work with the kids,” said Hopwood Junior High School teacher Kimberly Vaillancourt.
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. The coalition was a recipient of a 2007 EPA Environmental Award and received a Certificate of Commendation from the United States Congress in 2009. For more information visit them online at http://www.beautifycnmi.org.