Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Nominate Kathy Pagapular Ruszala's Sixth Grade Class for a Peter Benchly Ocean Award

Here it goes, I'm asking for your help yet one more time. Will you nominate Kathy Pagapular's San Vicente Elementary School Sixth Grade Class for a Peter Benchley Ocean Award in Youth Activism? Kathy's class supported shark protections in the Northern Marianas this year and jumpstarted momentum for a year of shark conservation. They deserve recognition.

Click here to learn how to nominate San Vicente Elementary School for a Peter Benchley Ocean Award in Youth Activism.

The deadline for nominations is December 31, 2011. Nominations should include 2- 6 paragraphs on the nominee and why the nominator finds them deserving in their category. Feel free to include supporting materials and/or links. Please include the nominees contact information and your contact information.

Submit to Mark subject line - Benchley Nomination - Youth Activism. Nominators names will be held in confidence.

2011 was a watershed year in shark conservation. And where did it all start? Saipan. On January 27, Governor Ben Fitial signed a law criminalizing the sale, trade, and possession of shark fin. This act kicked off 12 months of improved protections for sharks, including shark sanctuaries in The Bahamas, Honduras, the Marshalls, and Tokelau, shark fin bans in Guam, California, Washington, Oregon, and half a dozen Canadian cities, protections for oceanic whitetips, hammerheads, and silky sharks on the high seas, and agreements by international and regional bodies to implement more protections in 2012.

The law in the Northern Marianas was supported by many in the community, including fishermen, divers, and the conservation-minded, but a sixth grade class at San Vicente Elementary School may have done more than anyone else to make sure sharks received protections.

I could tell their story, but filmmaker Rob Stewart does it much better with his short film Sharkwater Saipan. This short film is just a preview of Rob's second feature film Revolution, due out in theaters next year.

Watch Sharkwater Saipan on Youtube.

I am asking you to write your own nominations (but I am available to help or edit). Two paragraphs should not be that difficult. Think of this award as something that will come home to the Marianas, not just San Vicente Elementary.

I make this request as the Saipan Blogger and the Godfather of the Mariana Trench Marine National Monument, not as someone who works for an organization that shall go unnamed. I have had the honor of meeting many shark champions around the world this year including Tony DeBrum from the Marshall Islands, Ev Quiel and Melanie Blas on Guam, Manoa Rasagitale in Fiji, Rob Stewart in Canada, and many others, but my home and my heart lies with Saipan. So let's bring that award home!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Fiesta Resort & Spa: Makaka Beach Clean-up

On Dec 17th, 40 volunteers collected 20 bags weighing approximately 100 lbs. This is our last, but not the least, beach clean-up for the year 2011. The clean-up was followed by calisthenics lead by our S&R lifeguards and a healthy breakfast at the cafeteria.

Merry Christmas to everyone!


Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Tan Holdings: Susupe Beach Park Tree Planting

Sharing with you are the pictures from our recently concluded “1st Tree Planting” initiative of Tan Holdings at the Susupe Beach Park. A group of 50 executives and key managers went out early in the morning of Saturday, Dec 10, 2011 to join and participate in this worthy activity. More tree planting activities are set for 2012 as we continue our commitment to share our time in preserving our mother earth.

DEQ Cleanup Bridge: Old Man by the Sea join us on Saturday!

The Division of Environmental Quality (DEQ) Monthly cleanup brigade is deviating from its regular 1st Saturday of the month schedule and scheduled its December cleanup on December 17, 2011 picking up trash at Old Man by the Sea, Saipan.

The beach is littered with float and jet-stream trash and it needs our help so DEQ is asking for more volunteers to join this particular cleanup.

If you would like to volunteer your time to clean and beautify our island, please meet the DEQ representative on Saturday, December 17, 2011 at 8:00 a.m. along the road heading to King Fisher Golf. Come join us and “Pick it Up!”

Volunteers will split into groups and clean until 10:00 am and break for drinks and then continue, if needed.

This month, outstanding brigade volunteers who participated in at least ten (10) monthly cleanups will receive a brigade cap and those who participated in at least three (3) cleanups will receive a green brigade t-shirt.

This is a cleanup that should not be missed, so join DEQ’s cleanup brigade and “Pick It Up!” Let us work together for the health of our coral reefs and cleanliness of our beaches for everyone to enjoy.

So join DEQ’s Cleanup Brigade and “Pick It Up!” Let us work together for the health of our coral reefs and cleanliness of our beaches for everyone to enjoy.

For more information about volunteering, please contact the DEQ office at 664-8500/1.

Tan Holdings: Adopt-A-Pavilion Cleanup

A team went out Saturday, November 26, 2011 to do the monthly clean-up for the Tan Holdings Adopt-A-Pavilion program. Approximately 225 lbs (or 15 bags) of trash were collected by the group of 25 employees. A breakfast in celebration of October and November birthday celebrants followed right after the clean-up.

Thursday, December 01, 2011

First Friday Films to show "Fragile Paradise" tomorrow

First Friday Films will be featuring another episode of BBC’s South Pacific, entitled Fragile Paradise, on December 2, 2011 (this Friday), 6:30pm at American Memorial Park Visitors Center.

Additionally, for all those who missed it, at 5:15pm we will be reshowing the
Ocean of Islands episode we screened last month from the same series.

The new episode looks at the conservational measures being implemented across the South Pacific, such as marine reserves and coral nurseries, and what is being done to preserve the ocean and its wildlife.

It is a very well done and beautifully shot series, so don't miss the opportunity to see it on the big screen on Blu-ray!

For planning purposes, both films run about 50 minutes long.  As always, First Friday Films is free and open to the public.  Seating is limited, so please arrive early to ensure admittance.  For more information about this film and upcoming events visit their blog page at

See you Friday!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Hello, Everyone!

Every year, one of Beautify CNMI!'s premier partners--PDM Promoters, Inc.--invites schools to participate in the Tree-Decorating Contest at the Paseo de Marianas using recycled materials. This has become a *favorite* annual event and we are grateful to the nice folks at PDM Promoters for the generous opportunity it grants the schools to raise funds (prize money) for their school activities.

As part of the on-going holiday festivities, PDM Promoters also invites the public to the JUMBO Christmas Tree Ribbon Decoration. Tie a ribbon on the tree to represent your favorite cause. Of course, don't forget to include a green ribbon or two to represent Beautify CNMI! and the other environmental groups. Thank you! Everyone is welcome to participate in this. Please see below for details. Arigato Gozaimasu, Olomwaay and Si Yu'us Ma'ase, PDM Promoters!

* * * *

A new Jumbo Christmas tree is up at Paseo de Marianas...It will be ready for visitors there to tie ribbons of their choice with their wishes written thereon, beginning on this coming week's Street Market night on Thursday, December 1. The lighting ceremony program begins at 5:30 p.m. on that evening.

We have once again prepared ribbons as listed below (with the names of the supporting organizations in the past years):

Green - for environmentalists' causes (Mariana Island Nature Alliance (MINA), DEQ and Beautify CNMI!)
Pink - cancer prevention awareness (Commonwealth Cancer Society)
Blue - autism awareness (Autism Society of the CNMI)
Yellow - "Support Our Troops" (Operation CNMI Homefront Support)
Orange - "For Brighter Future of Our Children" (Luta Cares)
Red - for general purposes
See also last year's report attached.

Those who like to make brief appeals for their causes on behalf of their organizations at the lighting ceremony to the gathering audience, please advise me.

Thank you for your usual understanding and cooperation.

(volunteer advisor to PDM Promoters, Inc., a CNMI non-profit corporation)
tel: 234-2067
fax: 234-7530
cell: 287-9233

PDM Promoters, Inc. (purposes):
To provide for and act as a forum or an avenue for the promotion, coordination and/or collaboration of collective activities by the businesses located on the Paseo de Marianas pedestrian mall, Puntan Muchot, Garapan, Saipan, and any other locations in the CNMI designated by the Board of Directors from time to time, all within the confines of exempt purposes in order to lessen the burdens of the government, lessen neighborhood tensions and/or combating community deterioration and juvenile delinquency, as set forth in NMTIT Section 501(c)(3) .

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Get FREE Light Bulbs

This week only, the CNMI Energy Division is at the Multi-Purpose Center in Susupe (until Thursday) providing the community with important information about how to conserve energy.

Meet with Energy Division Specialists to learn simple tips and tricks that you can use to help lower your CUC power bill. No appointments necessary...just drop by between 9am-4:30pm.

Stop by the Multi-Purpose Center with your CUC bill in hand and qualify for free give-a-ways, including energy saving light bulbs for your home or office.

Check out energy savings ideas and suggestions at their website:

For more information, call (670) 664 4480 or email

Shark Hope

You will find a familiar Beautify CNMI face in this documentary about shark conservation in Fiji.

Thursday, November 03, 2011

First Friday Films to show "Ocean of Islands" tomorrow

First Friday Films will be featuring BBC’s Wild Pacific: Ocean of Islands tomorrow, November 4th,  6:30pm at American Memorial Park Visitors Center.

BBC’s Wild Pacific: Ocean of Islands presents an overview of the natural history of the region. This landmark series explores the sheer scale and majesty of the largest ocean on Earth. The film will also detail the methods of formation of its islands, the diverse ecosystems, the extraordinary journeys wildlife and humans have gone through to reach these specks of land, and how both have adapted to life here.  

For planning purposes, the movie runs about 80 minutes long. As always, First Friday Films is free and open to the public.  Seating is limited, please arrive early to ensure admittance.

For more information visit and subscribe to our blog:

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Mt Tapochau Cleanup

On October 22, 2011, the staff, family and friends of both Fiesta Resort and Spa and Saipan Grand Hotel went to Mt. Tapochau to clean the area. Thirty-seven (37) volunteers braved driving the bad roads going up and collected 30 bags with approximate weight of 150 lbs. We removed unwanted weeds and grass, and cleaned the steps.

The volunteers were treated scrumptious breakfast at Shirley's Café. Fiesta Resort & Spa and Saipan Grand Hotel are members of MINA.

Saturday, October 08, 2011

Please Sign White House Petition to Protect Sharks

Earlier this year the Northern Mariana Islands kicked off a global rush of shark conservation by banning the sale, trade, and possession of shark fin. Since the day Governor Fitial signed Public Law 17-27 into law, leaders in Guam, Honduras, The Bahamas, Chile, Tokelau, and the Marshall Islands have passed shark conservation measures. Additionally, Governor Fitial championed the declaration of the Micronesia Regional Shark Sanctuary, the first multi-jurisdictional shark sanctuary in the world.

I started a petition on the White House’s We The People website asking the Obama Administration to “ban the sale, trade, and possession of shark and shark products, including shark fin.” The petition needs about 1600 more signatures for the Administration to issue an official response. Please take a few moments to sign.

The petition can be found online at:

The Northern Marianas is a global leader in marine and shark conservation. Like the students from San Vicente elementary who helped support the passage of our shark protections, these protections should spread from island to island, from country to country. The United States should be the next country to protect sharks.

Angelo Villagomez
Washington, DC

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

2011 Internatio​nal Coastal Cleanup

Hello Everyone,

On behalf of Coastal Resources Management Office, I would like to personally thank you all group coordinators for organizing a group of volunteer to make 2011 International Coastal Cleanup a success. This event could not have been a success without the help of you and the many other volunteers who donated their time in making Saipan's beaches clean. 

We are happy to share the result with you, the total weigh in of trash collected in our cleanup is 5,120 lbs. at about several hundred pounds less than last year.  Even though it rain on us we still manage to cover most of our beaches.

A lot of your data card have been turn in and received and have totaled each individual trash collected on the list.  On top of our list is cigarettes filters with 2,349 pieces, second we have caps and lids at 1,198 pieces and on third of our list is plastic forks, knives and spoon and Styrofoam cups and plates at  825 pieces.  I am still collecting data cards, please do send me through e-mail or stop by CRMO to drop off.

I also like to thank Beautify CNMI!, DEQ, DPW, and MINA in providing helping hands and supplies for this year's International Coastal Cleanup. Summary of data card and photos will be attach.  

Guy Macaranas
Saipan Coastal Coordinator

Monday, October 03, 2011

Marshall Islands National Shark Sanctuary

The Marshall Islands declared the world's largest shark sanctuary.

Congratulations and thank you to the people and government of the Marshall Islands.

And do you want to know what they are protecting? Here is a video from the Marshall Islands Conservation Society and HD Under H2O:

Again, congrats, Marshall Islands!!!

And it is time for the United States to do something similar. Shark Defenders started a petition on the Obama White House website that calls for a "ban the sale, trade, and possession of shark and shark products, including shark fin." As of this writing it needs 1,800 more signatures to reach the level that will guarantee a response from the president.


Wednesday, September 28, 2011

ICC: Saipan Grand Hotel

Saturday, September 17, 2011 8:30am
Saipan Grand Hotel to Sugar Dock (roadside)
Sugar Dock to Saipan Grand Hotel (beachside)
Coordinated by: Joe Ada

On September 17, 2011, the staff and management of Saipan Grand Hotel participated in the early morning hours at around 8:30 am by commencing with the clean up from Saipan Grand Hotel towards the traffic light by cleaning on both side of the main highway with a total of 22 participants with additional 5 kids. Once at the traffic section, the cleaning proceeded towards the Sugar Dock and then headed North on the shoreline towards Saipan Grand Hotel.

The clean up took about one hour and 30 minutes with a total of approximately between 150 to 200 lbs of trashes collected. The trashes were piled at the South side of the hotel and CRM staff failed to pick up the trashes after they were informed through the application form. Pictures of the trashes were provided to CRM for their reference and also they were informed that they failed to pick up the trashes. After a week, our Engineering disposed the trashes.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Internatio​nal Golf Academy & Preparator​y School @ LaoLao Donates Trash Gripper Tools to Beautify CNMI!

Thanks to the generous support and donation of International Golf Academy & Preparatory School @ LaoLao, Beautify CNMI! was able to donate 24 aluminum trash pick-up grippers to Kagman Komunidat Association. Daniel Huh, the new president of Kagman Komunidat Association, accepted the donated tools. These trash-gripper tools will aid the Association and student volunteers from Kagman High School in their on-going efforts to keep Kagman and the CNMI! clean and beautiful.

"I have been following Beautify CNMI! on-line for the past couple years before I moved to Saipan a year ago," said Gary Liddle, Director/Headmaster of International Golf Academy & Preparatory School @ LaoLao. "I appreciate going to clean beaches and living in a clean environment," he continued. Liddle shared that he even picks up trash on his way to and from work.

Beautify CNMI! continues to succeed because of the on-going collaborative partnerships between the private-sector, the community volunteers and the government. Thank you, International Golf Academy & Preparatory School @ LaoLao and thank you to all the hardworking volunteers in our community!

Pictured from L-R:  Community volunteers, Kagman Komunidat Association President Daniel Huh,
Beautify CNMI!'s Cinta Kaipat and Laurie Peterka, and
Gary Liddle, Director/Headmaster of International Golf Academy & Preparatory School @ LaoLao.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Commonwealth Anthem

This is my good friend Gus Kaipat singing the Northern Marianas Commonwealth Anthem. The words were written a few years back, the music is from a classic German song. The song is usually sung in two languages, Chamorro and Carolinian. It takes Gus all of four minutes to sing the song. I think it should stay the way it is.

Friday, September 23, 2011

ACTION ALERT: Ban the sale, trade, and possession of shark in the United States

Shark Defenders created a new petition on We the People, a new feature on, and they are asking for your support. Will you add your name? If this petition gets 5,000 signatures by October 22, 2011, the White House will review it and respond!

Also, will you repost the petition to Facebook and Twitter?

We the People allows anyone to create and sign petitions asking the Obama Administration to take action on a range of issues. If a petition gets enough support, the Obama Administration will issue an official response.

You can view and sign the petition here:

Here's some more information about this petition:

The Obama Administration should ban the sale, trade, and possession of shark and shark products, including shark fin.
One third of all shark species are threatened or near threatened with extinction.To reverse this trend, the USA must be a leader in protecting these important predators.The Administration has championed international agreements and signed the Shark Conservation Act, but this only mandates how a shark is killed, not how many. On average, the USA lands 30,000 tons of shark per year. Palau, Maldives, Honduras, Bahamas, and Tokelau have declared national shark sanctuaries, banning the commercial fishing of sharks in their waters and ending the shark trade. Domestically, laws have been passed banning the sale, trade, and possession of shark in Hawaii, Washington, Oregon, California, and the territories of Guam and Northern Marianas. The USA should implement a national shark and shark fin ban.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Almost 5K lbs of trash collected

Almost 5K lbs of trash collected

By Clarissa David

A total of 4,940 lbs of trash were collected during this year's International Coastal Cleanup held Friday and Saturday throughout several beaches and coastal locations on island.

Guy Macaranas, Coastal Resources Management's 2011 Coastal Cleanup coordinator, said the trash collection for this year's cleanup is lower compared to last year's, which totaled over 6,000 lbs.

“This is good because it means that more and more people are picking up after themselves when they go to the beach and hold parties,” Macaranas told Saipan Tribune.

Macaranas disclosed that based on the data sheets they collected from the volunteers who participated in the cleanup, cigarette butts comprised the biggest number of trash at 1,601 pieces. Other items collected include plastic and glass bottles, beverage cans, plastic spoons and forks, and Styrofoam plates.

This year's cleanup had 29 volunteer groups: the Saipan Rotary Club, McDonald's, Tan Holdings, CTSI Logistics, Fiesta Resort, Hyatt, Saipan Grand, PDM Promoters, Winzler & Kelly, Lions Club, Pacific Islands Club, Northern Marianas College, Phi Theta Kappa, NMC Upward Bound Program, U.S. Coast Guard, Saipan Mayor's Office, Saipan International School, Marianas Visitors Authority with the NMI Diving Operators Association, Marianas Waterworks Corp., Hard Rock Café, Mt. Carmel High School Red Cross Honor Society Club, Marianas Baptist Academy, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, Seventh-Day Adventist, Team Yalaka, POI Aviation, Department of Public Lands, Division of Environmental Quality, and the Commonwealth Utilities Corp.

Macaranas noted that fewer government agencies took part this year. “I believe this is due to austerity Fridays.”

While there are fewer volunteers this year, Macaranas said the event was still a success. “I was happy about the event. It's very successful because people still came out in spite of the rain.”

Macaranas noted that the islands of Tinian and Rota had their own coastal cleanups, in coordination with the CRM's field offices and mayor's offices.

Rota's cleanup was held Monday while Tinian will hold it on Thursday.

According to Macaranas, the annual cleanup, held simultaneously in different coastlines around the globe, also forms part of CRM's ongoing Clean Beaches Campaign, which aims to encourage and educate the community about caring for the islands' beaches and marine resources.

The campaign's slogan is “Love your beaches, keep them clean.”

Macaranas emphasized that more work needs to be done to educate the community and remind them that “they know better” in terms of caring for the environment.

“If we keep doing these cleanups and educational campaigns, we would have a better tomorrow,” he added.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

ICC: Fiesta Resort & Spa Saipan

Saturday, September 17, 2011 7am

Makaka Beach Garapan, Saipan CNMI
Coordinated by: Elaina Soll

Joining in International Coastal Clean Up Day, 35 volunteers cleaned Makaka beach and a part of Beach Road and collected 35 bags of trash weighing approximately 175 lbs. We also did our usual calisthenics and enjoyed a scrumptious breakfast courtesy of Fiesta Resort & Spa Saipan.

ICC: Tan Holdings Adopt-A-Pavillion

Saturday, September 17, 2011 7am
13 Fishermen to Garapan Fishing Basin, Saipan CNMI
Coordinated by: Cecil Ramores

The Adopt-A-Pavilion team of 26 covered the coastal/shorelines of 13 Fishermen to Garapan Fishing base and were able to gather a total of 20 bags or approximately 100 lbs of trash. A September birthday bash followed after the clean-up!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

ICC: Rotary Club of Saipan

Saturday, September 17, 2011 8am-9:30am
Garapan Fishing Basin, Saipan CNMI
Coordinated by: Laurie Peterka

Thank you to everyone who showed up to help with the International Coastal Clean Up at the Garapan Fishing Basin on Saturday! It was a really great turn out --- kudos to you all!!! The ocean thanks you and the planet thanks you for taking the time to pick up trash and for helping to set an example for others in our community. For those who were unable to join us, we missed you and hope to see you next time...

Our total group (after stragglers arrived) was about 25 people, including staff from McDonalds. We started a little after 8am and stopped around 9:30am due to the major downpour of rain. Afterwards, we gathered in the tented area and counted our collections for reporting to the CRM and Ocean Conservancy.

All in all, we collected approximately 40 bags of trash, which consisted mostly of bits of plastic bags and wrappers, cans, bottles, caps, cigarette butts, batteries, diapers and carry away food service items (cups, forks, spoons, etc).

Additionally, we discussed making a request once again to move the Rotary recycling bin back to its original location under the big pine tree nearest the road going in and out of the area for higher visibility and, hopefully, more usage.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Saipan Waterspout Photos

Marianas High School teacher Bryan Jones emailed around some photos of this week's waterspout, which many mistakenly thought was a tornado.  According to Mr. Jones the photos are taken at 3-minute intervals.  The photos are taken from Navy Hill.


Thursday, September 15, 2011

"The Navigators" playing in October

First Friday Films Celebrates National Arts and Humanities Month in October featuring The Navigators: Pathfinders of the Pacific playing at 6:30 p.m. on October 7, 2011 at American Memorial Park.

Over 1,000 years ago, the islands of Polynesia were explored and settled by navigators who used only the waves, the stars, and the flights of birds for guidance. In hand-built, double-hulled canoes sixty feet long, the ancestors of today's Polynesians sailed across a vast ocean area, larger than Europe and North America combined.

To explore this ancient navigational heritage, anthropologist/filmmaker Sanford Low visited the tiny coral atoll of Satawal in Micronesia's remote Caroline Islands. The Navigators reveals the subtleties of this sea science, transmitted in part through a ceremony known as "unfolding the mat," in which 32 lumps of coral are arranged in a circle to represent the points of the "star compass." To master the lore of navigation was to attain great status in traditional Micronesian society.

This special event is brought to you by the NMI Council for the Humanities, the Tan Siu Lin Foundation, the Division of Environmental Quality and the National Park Service.

As always, First Friday Films is free and open to the public. For planning purposes, the film runs 59 minutes.  Visit the website for more information:

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

2011 International Coastal

Join the entire Commonwealth for the 2011 International Coastal

Together, we can start a sea of change.

Hafa Adai Friends and Colleagues,

We are all connected to the ocean. And we're all responsible for the trash we leave behind, whether we mean to or not. Please join us, and the global movement that is giving back to the ocean, by spending just one day cleaning up trash from our world's waterways and ocean. It's one of the easiest things we can do to help protect the ocean.

We invite you to join us on Friday, September 16 and Saturday, September 17 - from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. for the 2011 International Coastal Cleanup.

To sign-up for the event, kindly complete the attached sign-up sheet and fax it to Guy Macaranas, Coastal Resources Management, at 664-8315. For more information, call 664-8305 or email

CRM along with DEQ will retrieve and properly dispose of the trash and recycling collected from the cleanup on Saipan. We will coordinate with your organization/group to determine a pick up point.

Thank you for your kind consideration of this important CNMI-wide event.

Rita C. Chong-Dela Cruz

From Blogger Pictures

Thursday, August 04, 2011

First Friday Films presents "Home" tomorrow

Tomorrow, August 5, First Friday Films will be screening Home, a film that exposes the impacts of mankind’s actions on our planet Earth. With breathtaking visuals taken from an aerial perspective, we can take a look down on what has become of Earth and what we can do to save it from the threats of global warming. The journey starts at 6:30 PM at the American Memorial Park Visitor's Center

There is no place like home—and that is especially true when “home” refers to our planet. With stunning shots from over fifty countries, Home presents what Time magazine hails as “an intoxicating perspective on our world” showcasing the majestic beauty of the planet as well as the undeniable tragedy that we have caused it. Director Yann Arthus-Bertrand hopes that with this stark presentation of Earth, the film will resonate in all of us and convince us to save our home.

Steve Mckagan, from the NOAA field office here on Saipan, will be on hand to talk about what we are doing locally to prepare for climate change and how the local community can get involved with some of those programs.
As always, First Friday Films is free and open to the public.  Seated is limited, so please arrive early to ensure admittance.

See you tomorrow!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

UNEP/GRID-Arendal’s Blue Carbon Photography Contest

Grassroots organizations involved in coastal and marine conservation are invited to participate in UNEP/GRID-Arendal’s Blue Carbon Photography Contest. Selected photographs are intended for use in a special publication for the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Durban, South Africa (COP17), and for an online image resource - the Blue Carbon Photography Library.

The theme of the contest “Life on the coasts - Blue Carbon” focuses on the importance of a healthy marine environment in coastal livelihoods.

We are looking for iconic images in two categories – People & the Environment, and Coastal & Marine Ecosystems. Examples include coastal and underwater scenes, community based restoration and conservation projects, our connection to healthy coastal ecosystems (e.g. fisheries, tourism), and how a changing ocean and climate impact the daily life of people and communities living along the coast.

As long as there is a clear affiliation with a grassroots organization, all professional and non-professional photographers worldwide are welcome to submit. Organization logos will also be highlighted in the special publication. Blue Climate Solutions has offered a digital underwater camera as a prize for the best image. Additional sponsors are welcome.

**To SUBMIT your images, please see the Competition Rules and send all submissions to:

**The DEADLINE for submitting pictures to UNEP/GRID-Arendal is SEPTEMBER 30, 2011. Finalists will be announced in October 2011.

Personal Release forms are required for all images that include recognizable subjects and children (see Competition Rules).

After reviewing the following Competition Rules, you will be fully prepared to enter the contest.

Contest information and rules can be found at:

Best of luck to all!
Steven Lutz
Arendal, Norway

UNEP/GRID-Arendal is a non-profit, administratively independent institution and an official collaborating centre of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). It was established in 1989 by the Norwegian Ministry of Environment to support UN’s Environment Programme and other UN agencies. Its mission is to communicate environmental information to policy-makers and facilitate environmental decision-making for change.

Suzanne Garrett
DCMC Coordinator
1630 Connecticut Ave. NW, Suite 300
Washington, DC 20009

Saturday, July 09, 2011

Dog Tag License Registrati​on

Courtesy of PAWS (Pet Assistance and Welfare Services) a message from the Mayor's Office:
Hafa Adai to all,

This to kindly inform dog owners starting next week July 11th-22nd 2011 Mayor of Saipan will reopen its Dog Control Program "Dog Tag License Registration". Registration will take place at the Mayor of Saipan Compound at Chalan Kanoa (behind the Post Service Office) from 9:00am-4:00pm(open during lunch hours). Please be advised to pay your fees at the CNMI Treasury in Capitol Hill, Superior Court in Susupe or the Tax and Revenue in Dan Dan then proceed to the registration site. Applications are available at the cashiers, please fill out the application per dog so we can expedite the process and then we will issue the tags.

To see a copy of Saipan Local Law 9-12 Dog Control Act and its Regulations, please contact the Mayor's office. Thank you for outmost support for the program.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Free screening of "A Sea Change" tomorrow

Tomorrow First Friday Films will be presenting A Sea Change, a film that tackles the twin of global warming, ocean acidification, and its effects to our ocean, our corals, and our marine animals. The event starts at 6:30pm at the American Memorial Park visitors center.

If you live in an island, like ours, that heavily depends on coral reefs for tourism and sea creatures for sustenance, wouldn’t you want to know what is happening to them now and what might happen to them in the future? Sven Huseby, an ordinary grandfather, wants to know. Recipient of the 2010 National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Environmental Hero Award, A Sea Change follows the journey of Sven as he travels from Alaska to Norway to uncover that the global ocean is slowly becoming too acidic for the creatures that live in it.

Members of the CNMI Marine Monitoring Team will be on hand to discuss how you can help protect our corals from the expected effects of global climate change.

The Pacific Historic Parks (formerly the Arizona Memorial Museum Association) Bookstore, located inside the visitor’s center, will be open until 8:30 PM. All proceeds go to community education programs.

As always, First Friday Films is free and open to the public. For planning purposes, the movie runs 1 hour and 23 minutes long.  For more information visit the programs blog at

See you tomorrow!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Sharkwater Saipan

Check out what Kathy Pagapular's 6th grade class at San Vicente Elementary School were able to accomplish with the help of Sharkwater's Rob Stewart and some other very dedicated adults. I hope this inspiring video goes viral, and I'd appreciate anything you can do to put it in the blogosphere, Twittersphere, or Facebooksphere.

Thursday, June 09, 2011

World Oceans Day - How will you celebrate?

How about becoming an Ocean Hero?

Be an Ocean Hero This Summer!

World Oceans Day, June 8, is a day for celebrating the oceans' beauty and bounty. This summer, do more than just celebrate. Be an ocean hero.

Thursday, June 02, 2011

Discover the story behind your local produce at the next First Friday Films. Come see Nourish, Food + Community tomorrow (Friday, June 3rd) at 6:30 p.m. at the American Memorial Park. visitors center

Have you ever wondered where your food comes from? Was it produced locally or hundreds of miles away and shipped to your hometown? Nourish is a film celebrating fresh and wholesome food that’s both good for you and the community.

With interviews from Best-selling author Michael Pollan, Sustainable Food Advocate Anna Lappe, Chef and author Bryan Terry, and Dr. Nadine Burke, the film delves into how the choices we make affect our sustainable food supply. From the seed to your table, see how food connects every individual on earth.

Also joining us, will be members of the Sabalu Farmers Market Association, including Asap Ogumoro who will be discussing where our food in Saipan comes from and how you can make food choices that benefit your community, health, and environment.

NMC CREES will have a selection of tasty dishes made from locally grown produce for all to try as well as their recipes for you to use at home.

First Friday Films is a monthly film series brought to you through a partnership with the National Park Service, Division of Environmental Quality, with generous support from community groups such as the Mariana Islands Nature Alliance.

The Pacific Historic Parks (formerly the Arizona Memorial Museum Association) Bookstore, located inside the visitor’s center, will be open until 8:30pm. All proceeds go to community education programs.

For planning purposes, the movie runs about 30 minutes long. As always, First Friday Films is free and open to the public. Please arrive early to ensure admittance, as seating is limited.

Find more information about the film at Subscribe to the blog for regular updates on upcoming events.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Protect the Oceanic Whitetip Shark on World Ocean's Day

oceanic whitetip shark
The IUCN Red List Threatened Species assesses the Oceanic Whitetip Shark as Critically Endangered in the Western and Central Atlantic. Globally they are assessed as Vulnerable and are threatened with extinction if strong measures are not put into place to protect their remaining populations.

To raise awareness of the plight of this charismatic species, please change your Facebook profile picture to the attached graphic until World Ocean's Day on June 8, 2011.  A high resolution of the photo can also be found on Flickr.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Friends of Marpi - ACTION ALERT

The following is reproduced from an email circulated on May 11, 2011:

Dear Friends of Marpi,

As many of you know by now, on May 2, 2011 Judge Kenneth Govendo issued a 90-day preliminary injunction on the Marpi power pole project following two days of hearings on the matter. The judge encouraged the government and the Friends of Marpi to come together over the 90-day injunction period and discuss ways to resolve the controversy that would be satisfactory to both parties.

Here are links to the stories on the hearings, from the Marianas Variety here:

and the Saipan Tribune here:

Also included in this email are documents submitted to the court during the hearing on May 2:

  • Letter from Dr. David Louter, Cultural Resources Program Chief for the National Parks Service, in response to to Friends of Marpi's inquiry regarding the compliance of the Marpi power pole project with requirements under Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act (document attached). Dr. Louter describes the significance of the National Historic Landmark area of Marpi, and the role of the National Park Service in monitoring historic sites across the nation. He notes that NPS is concerned about the cumulative effects, or incremental loss, that the Marpi cemetery and other projects may have on the integrity of the Marpi area and its historic and cultural values. Louter further indicates that NPS had not been formally invited to Section 106 consultation for the Marpi project, and that NPS had supported the CNMI Historic Preservation Office's recommendation to the local government to consider either solar power or underground lines instead of power poles.
  • A document produced by the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin, titled "Environmental Impacts of Transmission Lines" and found here: The paper provides an overview of the environmental issues and concerns raised by the construction of power lines, and discusses ways to measure, identify, and minimize or mitigate negative impacts, including impacts to places of historic, cultural, or scenic value. The paper also notes that underground transmission lines are considered a reasonable alternative in places where aesthetic impacts of power lines would be significant, and that low-voltage underground lines are more cost-effective and more common than high-voltage underground lines.
Many thanks to Jim Davies, a resident of the CNMI for more than 20 years, who offered testimony at the hearing about the impacts that the Marpi power poles will have on his ecotourism business, and CNMI ecotourism generally, and also on the Japanese film and photography industry, with which he has worked over the course of his years here, and of course to David Banes and Wes Bogdan for their strong work in preparing the case and securing the injunction.

Since the issuance of the injunction, the CNMI House of Representatives, Standing Committee on Natural Resources has called for public hearings on the Marpi power pole project. Please do take the time to make your voice heard and participate in these hearings. Our thanks to House Natural Resources Chair, Representative Joe Palacios, for convening these hearings and offering the opportunity for all of us in the community to express our views.

The hearings are scheduled for:
  • Thursday, May 12, 2011 at 6pm - CNMI House of Representatives Chamber at the Legislature on Capitol Hill
  • Wednesday, May 18, 2011 at 6pm - Multipurpose Center in Susupe
Want to help? Here are eight simple ways to do your part:

1. Go to: and click on Letter to Elected Officials to sign the form letter which will be forwarded to our elected officials. This will only take you a minute!

2. Write a personal testimony and submit it to the House Natural Resources Committee. Submit written testimonies by dropping them off or faxing to the Office of Representative Joseph M. Palacios (664-8831) or mailing to P.O. Box 500586 Saipan, MP 96950. Written testimonies can also be emailed to

3. Share your personal testimony with local media and the Friends of Marpi. Email the Marianas Variety at and the Saipan Tribune at to submit letters to the editor. Please also share your testimonies with the Friends of Marpi - email Glen Hunter at so we can post it on the website.

4. Attend the hearings on May 12 (6pm, CNMI House of Representatives Chamber) and May 18 (6pm, Multipurpose Center), and personally submit your testimony at the hearing.

5. Write to David at if you would like your name to be included with his written testimony on behalf of Friends of Marpi. David sent out his draft in an earlier email, and I am attaching it here as well.

6. Sign the petition:

7. Donate to Friends of Marpi (make checks payable to Marianas Resource Conservation & Development Council, write "Friends of Marpi" in the memo line, and submit to either Laurie Peterka or Tina Sablan, both members of the council)

8. SPREAD THE WORD. Please circulate this information to your mailing lists, on your Facebook page, and by word of mouth. Encourage your friends and family to join the Friends of Marpi and help keep Marpi beautiful.


Many thanks!
Best wishes,
Tina Sablan

2 attachments
NPS response to Friends of Marpi 27April2011.pdf 
David Banes.Draft Marpi Testimony.05.11.11.doc

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Fiesta Resort & Spa and Saipan Grand Hotel Joins JSTA Cleanup Drive

JSTA (Japan Saipan Travel Association) Clean-up Drive is spearheaded by President, Masanori Takahasi. It’s an annual event done every April, in which Fiesta Resort & Spa and Saipan Grand Hotel have participated each year. Members get together to assist and support the association in keeping our islands clean and beautiful not only for our vacation visitors but also for our community. This year, according to Ed Diaz, MVA teamed up with JSTA by providing t-shirts and water station to all participants.

The cleanup site was from Micro beach to Chamolinian Cultural Village along the beach side and town side including side streets and Paseo de Marianas. All trash bags were collected at the end of the clean-up.

Let's give JSTA and member voluteers
a BIG round of applause
for their dedication to helping keep our island clean and beautiful!