Community joins BECQ Snorkels event


In: Coral Reef Initiative
Aug 28, 2014
Photo © CNMI Coral Reef Initiative
Photo © CNMI Coral Reef Initiative

About 35 children and adults joined the Bureau of Environmental and Coastal Quality’s second free CNMI Snorkels event at the Kilili Beach Park in Susupe.

BECQ partnered with Let’s Move Marianas and Mariana Islands Nature Alliance in an event that saw children led by BECQ’s Dr. Ryan Okano, John Iguel, Denise Perez, and Avra Heller snorkel toward the submerged World War II Sherman tank in the beach’s water.

With free snorkels provided after families and their children signed up, the children were encouraged to inspect the many kinds of fish they saw in the water.

According to Heller, the event is to help the community get out and “learn about the marine ecosystem” as well to exercise.

They hope to hold this event every other month and in various beaches around the island like Wing Beach.

Patricia Kaipat of Let’s Move Marianas said that instead of video games, youth can learn in depth about what happens in the ocean and “make use of what you have,” with events like this.

She said that in that past, children always followed their parents to fish or farm. It was “good for [children] to start early,” in getting physically active, she said.

Most of the participants were young children and youth, ranging from 6 to 19 years old, according a sign-up sheet available.

Jiang Banatalao, who happened to be on the beach with family without knowing of the event beforehand, took advantage of the opportunity and allowed her two sons to join.

She said that at home there is “no playground, no anything like that… so [it is] better outside.”

Marion Sayas, who came with his brother, sister, and mother, said the event was “fun.” His favorite part was swimming to the submerged tank, as it was his first time to do so.