Beautify CNMI announced today the winners of their annual Environmental Champion and Environmental Steward Awards. The awards are given out to recognize individuals, organizations, and businesses that have proven to be environmental leaders in the Commonwealth.
The Environmental Champion award recognizes a person or group that exemplifies the Beautify CNMI spirit. Those qualities include volunteerism, cooperation, innovation, creativity and the ability to infect others with the Beauty Virus. The Environmental Champion is a role model for others to follow. They bring environmental issues to the forefront of public consciousness. They make things happen and effect change.
This year Beautify CNMI will recognize Tan Holdings, Laurie Peterka, and Ken Kramer as the 2009 Environmental Champions.
Tan Holdings is being recognized as a model of corporate environmental responsibility. Under the leadership of President Jerry Tan, Tan Holdings employees and friends have been part of several environmental projects over the past year. All Tan Holdings offices on Saipan participate in a Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle program and the company participates in a reusable shopping bag campaign with Joeten. Employees, often with the participation of management, regularly participate in cleanups, including the recent island wide cleanup.
Laurie Peterka and Ken Kramer are being recognized for their roles in the creation of the Marianas Trench Marine National Monument.
Kramer was so inspired by the concept of the monument that he quit his job so that he would have more time to collect signatures. Kramer was the largest signature collector for a petition being circulated in support of the monument, collecting over 1000 signatures at the street market, in front of stores, at the Sabalu market, and door to door. Kramer also penned nearly two-dozen letters to the editor educating newspaper readers about the benefits of a monument.
Peterka is being recognized for the role she played as staff with the Pew Environment Group. According to one of her nominations for the award, “Laurie has been the backbone of the Friends of the Monument’'s efforts: always there, always supportive, keeping things moving, doing much of the organizing, writing, scheduling, as well as a lot of the scut work.”
The Environmental Steward award recognizes a person or group that leads the community in activities that help protect our environment in a variety of ways. This individual or group has demonstrated the need to take pride in our islands and to take care of the place we all call home. They serve as an example for others, especially the next generation, to follow.
This year Beautify CNMI will recognize Friends of the Monument as the 2009 Environmental Stewards.
Friends of the Monument was formed to help promote the idea of creating a national marine monument in the waters around the three northernmost islands of the Northern Mariana Islands. The Friends of the Monument engaged in activities to help educate the community --distributing leaflets, conducting meetings, and coordinating with teachers for classroom presentations. The organization gathered more than 6,000 signatures on petitions in support of the designation of a Monument. The Friends sent representatives to Washington, D.C. to meet with White House officials, and participated in television and radio public service announcements and advertising. Ultimately, they were instrumental in the process that resulted in former President George W. Bush designating the Marianas Trench Marine Monument, along with three larger national marine monuments.
The awards were handed out at the Beautify CNMI/PAWS Boonie Dog Show on Saturday, June 13 at the CPA Airport Field.
Beautify CNMI recognizes Steward and Champion Awards winner each year in Spring. Nominations are taken from the community at-large and the Beautify CNMI Committee Chairs select winners. Past winners include Aqua Resort Club, Friends of the Mariana Islands, Marites Castillo, Kathy Yuknavage, Captain Carl Brachear, Adam Sablan, Katie Busenkell, Rose Callier, Mike Tripp, Marianas Dive, Nava Khorram, Max Aguon, Paseo de Marianas Promoters, and Bree Reynolds.
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.