“IT is our generations’ responsibility to be good stewards of the land, even if it means we plant one tree at a time,” said Anette Pladevega, Kagman High School science teacher.
Her students are learning about Ridge to Reef, a conversation concept that shows how land use directly affects the health of the coral reef.
Last week on Friday, she and her students planted trees at the Laolao Bay re-vegetation site designated by the Bureau of Environmental and Coastal Quality.
In the 1980’s, a structure was supposed to rise at the site, and in preparation for the construction, the area was cleared of all vegetation.
According to Pladevega, “The land clearing caused the soil to loosen, creating erosion and subsequently sedimentation on coral reef.”
She added, “Place-based education is what we need to connect, inspire and build momentum for our kids outside of the four walls of our classrooms.”
Jihan Buniag, BECQ outreach coordinator, provided information to the students about non-point pollution, the history of Laolao Bay, and how sedimentation has affected coral reef health in the bay
Pladevega said KHS students and the Kagman community sincerely thank BECQ, the Micronesian Islands Nature Alliance, and CNMI Forestry “for being the out spoken voices of the reef.”
Aundrea Aldan, a 9th grader at KHS, said: “I learned that deer hunting causes sedimentation which affects coral. I learned that BECQ helps protect plants and coral.”
Manny Borja, another 9th grader, said: “We learned how trees benefit the environment and help protect the coral reef. We learned about all the watersheds on Saipan.”
According to Eritana Dela Cruz, 10th grader,“We learned how Zooxanthellae gives the coral its color and life, how runoff goes into the ocean and causes bleaching of the coral.”
Ninth grader Ella Eusebio said she learned about the relationship between watersheds, trees and the coral reef. She also learned how BECQ helps people understand the environmental consequences of their actions.
For his part, freshman Ricki Ann Magofna said: “I sweated a lot, climbed hills and this was my first time to do that.”