NMI students learn about nature’s treasures

In: Coral Reef Initiative
Apr 15, 2015
Photo © Marianas Variety
Photo © Marianas Variety

STUDENTS from public and private schools learned new things about the islands’ natural resources and how various agencies of the CNMI government are taking care of them during the first day of the Bureau of Environmental Quality’s Environmental Expo at American Memorial Park on Tuesday.

In an interview, ‎BECQ coral reef project coordinator Avra Heller said the first day of the event was a success.

Click to enlarge
Students examine the skeleton of a whale. The skeletal remains of a Bryde’s whale that washed ashore on Tinian in 2005.
Students listen to a presentation about pesticides and rodents. Students learn about coral reefs.
Merill Ayuyu discusses wastewater with students. Bureau of Environmental and Coastal Quality’s Jihan Buniag, Steven Johnson and Kaitlin Mattos.  Photos by Richelle Ann P. Agpoon


“It looks like the children are really enjoying it. They get to learn about how all the agencies are working to protect the environment and hopefully they will be able to share it with their parents,” Heller said.

The expo, she added, is an opportunity for students to learn new things about the environment that will encourage them to be environmental stewards.

Adopt-a-Beach program coordinator Jihan Buniag, for her part, expressed her gratitude to BECQ’s partners.

She said the expo aims to bring together groups that are working to improve, protect and conserve the islands’ natural resources.

“This is a one-stop opportunity both for presenters to reach out to hundreds of students and for 4th and 5th grade teachers to fulfill environmental education curriculum standards for their classes — students also had a great time outside the classrooms,” she added.

The children learned about the marine monitoring team, the coral reef initiative, the recycling program, fisheries and coral watch, forestry, pesticides, emergency management and fire department operations and much more.

The Asia Pacific Academy of Sciences, Science Education and Environmental Management or APASSEEM also showcased the remains of sea mammals including those of a Bryde’s whale that was washed ashore on Tinian in 2005.

“I want to thank our partners for supporting BECQ and participating in our annual expo,” Buniag said.

She said many schools participated this year “because we also invited the private schools.”

A Koblerville Elementary School student, J, said she learned many things such as the importance of pest control.

“I learned that rats are pests and that they should be controlled,” she added.

According to APASSEEM secretary Andre Kozij, “There are many animals, fish and mammals that can be found around us that not everybody knows about. We have a lot of marine mammals surrounding our islands. We don’t want them to disappear but want to conserve them for our future.”

According to Kozij the expo is a place to reach out to the community and the children and teach them the importance of marine animals and how they play a role in the sea and the ocean food cycle.

Among the partners of BECQ besides APASEEM are CNMI Micronesia Challenge, DLNR- Forestry, Division of Agriculture, USDA/NRCS, Soil Water Conservation District, NMC-CREES DLNR-Division of Fish and Wildlife, DLNR-Sea Turtle Program, DLNR-Brown Tree Snake Program Micronesia Islands Nature Alliance, Department of Fire EMS, NOAA Fisheries and No Ka Oi Termites & Pest Control Saipan Inc.