Saturday, December 16, 2006

15 MIC members participate in the Micronesia Challenge Action Planning Meeting

Fifteen members of the MIC network participated in the Micronesia Challenge Meeting December 4-7 in Palau.
Twelve members were part of the country delegations:
Palau: Tiare Holm and Ada Eledui
Guam: Vangie Lujan and Jay Gutierrez
FSM: Charles Chieng and Vanessa Fread (Yap state); Joe Konno and Mary Rose Nakayama (Chuuk state); Patterson Shed and Ricky Carl (Pohnpei state); Madison Nena (Kosrae state)
Marshalls: Albon Ishdoa and Steve Why
Three members represented support agencies:
Willy Kostka (Micronesia Conservation Trust), Bill Raynor (The Nature Conservancy) and Margie Falanruw (US Forest Service)
In addition, several board members of MIC organizations -- including the Mariana Islands Nature Alliance (MINA) and the Marshall Islands Conservation Society (MICS) -- also attended as government representatives.

Recommendations to the Chief Executives of the Micronesia Challenge jurisdictions (prepared by participants of the POLICY TRACK):
- The establishment of a Steering Committee, comprised of a focal point from each of the jurisdictions and one representative of the Micronesia Challenge Support Team and including participation by a representative of the Micronesia Challenge endowment
- The recruitment of a regional coordinator and support staff in accordance with agreed terms of reference and a preliminary budget of up to USD200,000 per annum to be financed through contributions by each jurisdiction on an equal basis and fundraising from partners and hosted by Palau
- An annual report on progress to implement the Micronesia Challenge by the Chair of the Steering Committee to the Chief Executives
- The development of a regional fundraising strategy in coordination with national strategies for public and private funds to support the Challenge including joint action to maximize access to GEF funds through a high-level meeting
- The Micronesia Conservation Trust to house a single endowment in support of the Challenge and that further consultations will be held to finalize the process and procedures to the satisfaction of each of the jurisdictions and donors
- Each jurisdiction of the Micronesia Challenge to take the appropriate steps to institutionalize the Challenge, including engaging traditional and community leaders, support for a Regional Communication Specialist and the implementation of outreach and marketing strategies at regional, national and jurisdictional levels.
In the TECHNICAL TRACK, participants worked in breakout groups focusing on 4 areas: 30% marine resources, 20% terrestrial resources, effective conservation, and stakeholder education and outreach.
All five jurisdictions developed detailed TWO-YEAR WORK PLANS (FY07-08) with budgets and priority needs identified.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

MIC sponsors participation of NGO representatives to the upcoming Micronesia Challenge Action Planning Meeting

The upcoming Micronesia Challenge Action Planning Meeting in the Republic of Palau from December 4-7 will bring together for the first time representatives of the five jurisdictions signatories of the Challenge: Republic of Palau, Federated States of Micronesia, Republic of the Marshall Islands, U.S. Territory of Guam and Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. Due to the delegations’ limited funds for the event, several international organizations and agencies – including The Nature Conservancy, SPREP, NOAA and the US Department of Interior – have provided last-minute financial support.
MIC will contribute by sponsoring participation of five MIC members from the non-government sector: Patterson Shed (Executive Director, Conservation Society of Pohnpei), Madison Nena (Chairman, Kosrae Conservation & Safety Organization), Joe Konno (Chairman, Chuuk Conservation Society), Charles Chieng (Executive Director, Yap Community Action Program) and Steve Why (Executive Director, Marshall Islands Conservation Society.)

Saturday, October 28, 2006

MIC provides Board Assessment and Development to CCS

Board Members of the Chuuk Conservation Society (CCS) attended a Board Development Training and performed a self-assessment in September 2006 with the help of MIC coordinator. Chuuk was the last of the FSM states to establish a conservation NGO. CCS was created in September 2005 and is in the process to hire its first staff. Chairman of the Board Joe Konno and Secretary Mary Rose Nakayama are both MIC members.

Wednesday, October 4, 2006

CSP Environmental Educators mentor their colleagues in Palau and Kosrae

Environmental Educators from the Conservation Society of Pohnpei (CSP) have been involved in two learning exchanges lately. Ben Namakin and Leinsom Neth shared their four-year experience in running the successful Green Road Show in Pohnpei with Education Officers of other two MIC member organization: the Palau Conservation Society (PCS) and the Kosrae Conservation & Safety Organization (KCSO). The Green Road Show is a comprehensive and entertaining environmental education program for Pohnpei’s fifth graders. Ben and Leinsom visit all the primary schools on the island six times throughout the school year, focusing each session on one of four environmental topics: 1) Upland Forest, 2) Mangroves, 3) Coral Reef, and 4) Waste and Pollution. Messages are delivered using a fun and hands-on approach, and a variety of educational resources. The pre and post test results show a drastic increase in the students’ knowledge of their island’s environment.
The success of the Green Road Show has inspired other Micronesian conservation organizations. In order to learn more about the Show and see CSP Environmental Educators in action, Education Officers Yalap Yalap (PCS) and Jason Jack (KCSO) visited Pohnpei in February and May respectively (see posts below) on two MIC-sponsored learning exchanges. Following the exchanges, both organizations started adapting the Show to the cultures and needs of Palau and Kosrae, while MIC sponsored two more exchanges. Ben Namakin went to Palau August 19-25 to assist PCS in the launch of the Ridge to Reef Road Show, while Leinsom Neth flew to Kosrae September 11-16 to assist KCSO’s environmental education unit and staff in launching the Nature Road Show and enhance KCSO’s capacity to implement the program in the schools.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Author and cultural preservationist Lino Olopai meets MIC members in Saipan

During the MIC retreat, author, story-teller, cultural preservationist and MINA Board member, Lino Olopai showed a brief segment of a documentary film called, “Spirit of Voyage”, which highlighted the Pu’o Ceremony, the right of passage to become a traditional canoe voyager in the island of Satawal (between the FSM islands of Yap and Chuuk.) Olopai, a member of the Carolinian community of Saipan, also answered many questions and talked about his recently published book, “The Rope of Tradition”. The engaging, charismatic, and calm Olopai also took the time to sit down for a brief interview with Equator Magazine, a publication focusing on the unique environments and cultures of Micronesia, to appear within the premier issue before the end of the year.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Conservation projects in Saipan visited during field trip

Maintaining a tradition that started during the very first MIC retreat, participants took a day off from the meetings to visit conservation projects in the host country. Mariana Islands Nature Alliance (MINA) representatives led them to Saipan’s Lake Susupe, Obyan beach, and Managaha Island.Obyan beach is a turtle nesting area and the site of MINA's next conservation project. Through a grant from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Pacific Islands Coastal Program, MINA will work with the Coastal Resources Management Office to protect the turtle nesting habitat. MINA and CRM will hold a series of public forums for nearby residents and users of the beach – one of Saipan’s most popular recreational areas – to solicit input on closing the beach to vehicle traffic. Managaha is a tiny island located in the Tanapag Lagoon. With white sand and clear waters, Managaha is one of Saipan's best beaches and a good place to snorkel. It is also a no-take Marine Protected Area, but conservation is deeply affected by mass tourism and development.

Monday, September 4, 2006

MIC members learn more about conservation in CNMI

The Saipan retreat gave MIC members from Palau, FSM and Marshalls the opportunity to learn more about conservation in CNMI and meet conservation leaders and advocates based in Saipan. During an evening emceed by MINA Board Member Reina Camacho, MIC members and their prestigious guests watched presentations about various conservation projects in CNMI and interacted during a superb barbeque dinner at the beach.
Guests from CNMI:
Oscar Babauta – Speaker of the House of Representatives
Cinta Kaipat – House of Representatives
Dr. Ignacio Dela Cruz – Secretary of the Division of Lands and Natural Resources
Liz Rehebei – Joeten/Kiyu public library
Paz Younis – Executive director of the Humanities Council
Gus Kaipat – Legislative Bureau
Judy Torres – Marianas Visitors Authority
Angelo Villagomez – Marianas Resource Conservation and Development (and MINA)
Franz Reksid – Department of Public Lands
Laura Williams – Division of Fish and Wildlife
Kathy Yuknavage – Coastal Resources Management Office (and MINA)
Tim Lang – Coastal Resources Management Office
Tina Sablan – Division of Environmental Quality

Saturday, September 2, 2006

MIC retreat described in the Saipan Tribune

Qamar Schuyler, Treasurer of CNMI's conservation NGO MINA and one of the 33 participants to the MIC retreat, has described the four-day gathering in an article published in the Saipan Tribune on August 31. It was Qamar's first meeting with the MIC members. "I have never been to a conference that left me so full of energy" she said in a message to all of them. Yet all participants agree she contributed to that level of energy with her unforgettable jokes!

Friday, September 1, 2006

MIC Retreat strengthens ties between Micronesia and Caribbean Challenges

The MIC retreat has brought Caribbean and Micronesian conservation leaders closer than ever. After Willy Kostka's participation to the Caribbean Workshop on Protected Areas in Miami in June, a conservation leader from the Caribbean has visited Micronesia and joined the MIC members for the retreat in Saipan. Dr. Spencer Thomas is the Economic Policy Advisor to the Ministry of Finance of Grenada and also the Caribbean focal point for the Convention on Biological Diversity, the agreement signed by over 150 governments worldwide to promote sustainable development and protect biodiversity. Dr. Thomas was the keynote speaker at the opening dinner on Sunday 20. As Qamar Schuyler wrote in her article for the Saipan Tribune (see post above), during his speech, Dr. Thomas "spoke about the recent CBD meeting in Couritiba, Brazil (COP8) where the island states signed on to an Island Biodiversity Program of Work. This POW outlines how islands will meet the CBD's Millennium Development Goals, in which signatories agreed to create protected areas networks on both the land and sea by 2012. Thomas spoke of the need for island states to work together to increase their influence. He said that by uniting as islands, we will be able to gain more resources and bring our conservation agendas to the forefront. After all, islands states support one quarter of the world's population, and are responsible for over half of the tropical marine biodiversity."From left to right: Albon Ishdoa (Marshall Islands), Ricky Carl (Pohnpei, FSM), Dr. Spencer Thomas (Grenada), Patterson Shed (Pohnpei, FSM) and Madison Nena (Kosrae, FSM)

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Discussion on Micronesia Challenge at MIC Retreat in the Saipan Tribune

The presence is Saipan of conservation leaders from the five entities signatories of the Micronesia Challenge to discuss the next steps in preparation for the Micronesia Challenge Planning Meeting schedule for December 4-8 in Palau was reported in the Saipan Tribune. The article "Pacific's environmentalists answer Micronesia Challenge" was published on August 23.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

8th MIC Retreat in Saipan brings together 33 conservation leaders

The 8th Retreat of the Micronesians in Island Conservation (MIC) peer-learning network took place in Saipan August 20-24. Thirty-three conservationists from Micronesia, the US, Australia and the Caribbean met to discuss conservation issues, share information and lessons learned, establish collaborations and learning exchanges and agree on the next steps for the Network. For the first time conservation leaders from Guam and CNMI attended the retreat.
MIC 8th RETREAT PARTICIPANTS (in alphabetical order)
Simpson Abraham - Director, Kosrae Island Resources Management Authority (KIRMA) -- Kosrae, FSM
Dr. Tholman Alik - Board member, Yela Environmental Landowners Authority (YELA) -- Kosrae, FSM
Wayne Andrew - Manager, Helen Reef Resource Management Project (HRRMP) -- Koror, Palau
Lucille Apis-Overhoff - Partnership Specialist, The Nature Conservancy (TNC) Micronesia Program -- Pohnpei, FSM
Jesus Borja - Chairperson, Mariana Island Nature Alliance (MINA) -- Saipan, CNMI
Ricky Carl - Special Assistant Attorney General, Marine Conservation Unit (MCU) -- Pohnpei, FSM
Charles Chieng - Executive Director, Yap Community Action Program (Yap CAP) -- Yap, FSM
Ada Eledui - Director, Department of Conservation and Law Enforcement, Koror State Government -- Koror, Palau
Tina Fillmed - Executive Director, Yap State Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) -- Yap, FSM
Vanessa Fread - Environmental Program Development Officer, Yap Community Action Program (Yap CAP) -- Yap, FSM
Andy George - Executive Director, Kosrae Conservation & Safety Organization (KCSO) -- Kosrae, FSM
Jay Gutierrez - Acting Assistant Chief, Guam Department of Agriculture, Division of Aquatic & Wildlife Resources -- Guam
Tiare Holm - Executive Director, Palau Conservation Society (PCS) -- Koror, Palau
Albon Ishoda - President, Marshall Island Conservation Society (MICS) -- Majuro, RMI
Kathy Kesolei - Facilitator, Kathy Kesolei & Associates -- Koror, Palau
Willy Kostka - Executive Director, Micronesia Conservation Trust (MCT) -- Pohnpei, FSM
Andrzej Kozlowski - Manager, RARE -- USA
Trina Leberer - Marine Consrvation Coordinator, The Nature Conservancy (TNC) Micronesia Program -- Guam
Michael Looker - Director, The Nature Conservancy (TNC) Australia Program -- Australia
Evangeline Lujan - Administrator, Guam Coastal Management Program, Bureau of Statistics and Plans -- Guam
Barry McDonald - Director of Operations, The Nature Conservancy (TNC) Australia Program -- Australia
Susi Menazza Olmsted - MIC Coordinator, The Nature Conservancy (TNC) Micronesia Program -- Pohnpei, FSM
Mary Rose Nakayama - Secretary, Chuuk Conservation Society (CCS) -- Chuuk, FSM
Madison Nena - Chairperson, Kosrae Conservation & Safety Organization (KCSO) -- Kosrae, FSM
Lino Olopai - Board member, Mariana Island Nature Alliance (MINA) -- Saipan, CNMI
Bill Raynor - Director, The Nature Conservancy (TNC) Micronesia Program -- Pohnpei, FSM
Qamar Schuyler - Treasurer, Mariana Island Nature Alliance (MINA) -- Saipan, CNMI
Patterson Shed - Executive Director, Conservation Society of Pohnpei (CSP) -- Pohnpei, FSM
Aaron Sigrah - Chief of Staff, Governor’s Office -- Kosrae, FSM
Jason Spensley - Senior Protected Area Specialis, The Nature Conservancy (TNC) -- USA
Alissa Takesy - FSM Protected Areas Network Coordinator, FSM Department of Economic Affairs -- Pohnpei, FSM
Dr. Spencer Thomas - Economic Policy Adviser, Ministry of Finance -- Grenada
Olivier Wortel - Director, Equator Media Production (EQM) -- Kosrae, FSM

Saturday, August 5, 2006

Honor guests from the Caribbean at the Saipan retreat

Inspired by the launch of the Micronesia Challenge at the Coral Reef Task Force Meeting in Palau last November, the Caribbean country of Grenada undertook a similar initiative at the High Level Event hosted by the Palauan President at the 8th Conference of the Party (COP8) to the Convention on Biological Diversity that took place in Brazil in March 2006. At that event, Grenada committed to protect 25% of its marine resources and 25% of its terrestrial resources by 2020, thus launching the Caribbean Challenge. Since then, The Nature Conservancy has worked to creat a bridge between conservation leaders from Micronesia and the Caribbean involved in the two Challenges. In June 2006, Willy Kostka went to the Caribbean Workshop on Protected Areas (see June 30 post below) to share the experience and lessons learned of the emerging Micronesia Challenge. The success of that exchange inspired MIC to invite two conservation leaders from the Caribbean to the next retreat. Ms. Stacey Wells-Moutrie is the Senior Technical Officer with the BEST (Bahamas Environment Science and Technology) Commission, as well as Executive Board member of the Bahamas National Trust.
Dr. Spencer Thomas is a former Director General of Finance for Grenada and now is an advisor in the Ministry of Finance. He is also the CBD National focal point and Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice (SBSTTA) Bureau Representative for GRULAC (Latin American and Caribbean Group). Dr. Thomas will be the keynote speaker a the retreat opening dinner on Sunday August 20.

Thursday, August 3, 2006

For the first time conservation leaders from Guam at a MIC retreat

MIC members have invited two conservation leaders form a Guam to participate to a MIC retreat. Evangeline (Vange) Lujan, is the Administrator of the Guam Coastal Management Program (GCMP), which is part of the Bureau of Statistics and Plans, a staff agency within the office of the Guam Governor.
Jay Gutierrez is the Acting Assistant Chief of the Division of Aquatic & Wildlife Resources (DAWR) of the Guam Department of Agriculture

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Marshalls for the first time invited to join MIC

Albon Ishoda, President of the Marshall Islands Conservation Society (MICS) is the first conservation leader from the Republic of the Marshall Islands to be invited to a MIC retreat. Based in Majuro, MICS helps the Marshallese to manage and protect their 34 atolls and islands and to use their resources sustainably.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Two new potential members from Yap at the retreat

For the first time in four years MIC member have nominated potential new members from the FSM state of Yap. Tina Fillmed, acting Executive Director of Yap State EPA, and Vanessa Fread, Project Manager for the NGO Yap Community Action Program (YapCAP) will participate in the Saipan retreat. Current MIC members from Yap are YapCAP Executive Director Charles Chieng and Margie Falanruw from the Yap Institute of Natural Science.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Secretary of YELA Group at the MIC retreat

Dr. Tholman Alik, Secretary of Kosrae's Yela Environmental Landowners Authority (YELA) has accepted the invitation to join the MIC members in Saipan. The mission of the YELA group is "to protect the world’s only remaining Ka forest (Terminalia carolinensis)" through the mitigation of road building efforts and ultimately, through full conservation of the forest and surrounding areas. A few years ago the Ka forest was identified as a Priority Action Area of Biological Significance during the assessment of biodiversity in the Federated States of Micronesia. The YELA group is formed by the 13 families that own the forest.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

FSM PAN Coordinator accepts invitation to MIC retreat

Alissa Takesy, the first Protected Area Network (PAN) Coordinator for the Federated States of Micronesia will join the MIC members at the August retreat. Alissa, who is based at the FSM Department of Economic Affairs, will help facilitate the session on the Micronesia Challenge.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

New CSP Director will join MIC members at the Retreat

Patterson Shed, since March 2006 new Executive Director of the Conservation Society of Pohnpei (CSP), has accepted the invitation to join the MIC members at the Saipan Retreat. Patterson has replaced Willy Kostka - one of the founding members of the MIC Network - who is now leading the Micronesia Conservation Trust (MCT.)

Sunday, July 9, 2006

MIC provides Board Training for KCSO and UWMP in Kosrae

At the end of June, Kosrae’s MIC members Andy George, Executive Director of the Kosrae Conservation and Safety Organization (KCSO), and Madison Nena, Chairman of the Board of both KCSO and Utwe-Walung Marine Park, requested Board Development Training for their organizations.MIC Coordinator Susi Olmsted travel to Kosrae – the easternmost state of the Federated States of Micronesia – July 3-6 for the training. Some twelve board members from both organizations attended the half-day session at the Kosrae Village Resort. During the training both organizations decided to undertake a number of measures to improve the effectiveness of their boards.

Saturday, July 1, 2006

MIC member inspires conservation leaders in the Caribbean

MIC member Willy Kostka, director of the Micronesia Conservation Trust (MCT) participated in the Caribbean Workshop on Protected Area design and management, held in Miami, USA, from June 20-22. There he “inspired government and civil society conservation leaders throughout the Caribbean” say the organizers. Willy was the keynote speaker at the opening gala dinner, attended by approximately 100 participants, including notable guests such as the Minister of Forestry and Fisheries of Bahamas and Dr. Spencer Thomas, Grenada’s Permanent Secretary of Finance. His opening address was introduced by Jason Spensley, (TNC global protected areas staff member and a member of the recent MIC review team) who says that “Willy opened his address a little nervous, but quickly got into it, with his personable and charismatic self. At the end of his address, the audience immediately jumped to their feet and gave him a raucous standing ovation, in the passionate Caribbean style.”Willy shared the experience of the emerging Micronesia Challenge, and in doing so "inspired and shared know-how with Caribbean leaders about the high potential value of a regional challenge." During the workshop Willy also made a presentation about MIC, which he portrayed as "a strong example of how to strengthen know-how of conservation leaders, through peer knowledge sharing, networking, and exchange, in a regional small island context.” As the organizers wrote, "Thank you so much to Willy's organization, TNC-Micronesia programme, and MIC for enabling this to happen!”

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Saipan will host 8th MIC Retreat in August

MIC members have chosen the island of Saipan in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) for their next retreat. Conservation leaders from the Federated States of Micronesia, Palau, CNMI and for the first time Guam and the Marshall Islands will meet at the Aqua Resort Club August 19-25. Like all MIC retreats, this is also organized to meet priority needs identified by MIC members, including knowledge, skills, and technical support, and to work together on local, national and regional conservation issues.

Tuesday, June 6, 2006

Board Training for MINA

As agreed during the last MIC retreat, MIC Coordinator Susi Olmsted flew to Saipan in early June to deliver a Board Development Training to the Board of Directors of the Mariana Islands Nature Alliance (MINA.) Board Trainings are part of the technical assistance that the MIC Network provides free of charges to its member organizations. MINA became an official member of MIC last January, after its Chairman Jesse Borja was invited to the MIC retreat in Palau and MINA's Board approved the membership.

Saturday, June 3, 2006

Learning Exchange helps PCS with Board Management

At the last MIC retreat, Tiare Holm - Executive Director of the Palau Conservation Society - asked if MIC could help her organization with 'Advanced Board Management'. Although at that time we weren't sure who could do it, luck was on our side. Alex Mas works for The Nature Conservancy in California as the director of the Southern Sierra Nevada Program. In that role he has led a number of terrestrial conservation projects and works extensively with partner NGOs, providing assistance with strategic planning, personnel and board management, and other aspects of organizational development. In December last year, Alex was awarded a Coda Fellowship to come to Micronesia, so we put Alex in contact with PCS. During his visit to Palau, Alex had individual meetings with Tiare and a number of Board members to get input on their current training needs. He then prepared materials to use in the orientation of all new board members -- particularly on the distinctions between governance and management functions -- which he then presented at a Board meeting. All were well-received and the Board has planned to schedule follow-up training sessions this fall. Thanks Alex for making another Learning Exchange possible!

Friday, June 2, 2006

Photography workshops for MIC conservation partners in Pohnpei and Palau

In May 2006, MIC offered its members and partners from Pohnpei (FSM) and Palau the chance to attend a one-day photography workshop. Although this is not one of the services MIC provides to its members, we took advantage of a very good opportunity. In December 2005, TNC's Alex Mas from the California Program was awarded a Coda Fellowship to visit Micronesia during the months of May and June and learn about conservation in this part of the world. When we learned that Alex would travel with his fiancee Nina Naylor, who is an outstanding photographer, we asked her if she would help our conservation partners to improve their photography skills.
She was so kind not only to accept, but to do it for free. Each workshop - the first in Pohnpei on May 19, the second in Palau on May 29 - was a success. In total almost 50 participants from NGOs and state and national governments attended.

To see the pictures Nina took in Micronesia go to

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Learning Exchange brings KCSO staff to Pohnpei to learn from CSP

For the second time this year, CSP Education Officers mentored a colleague from another MIC organization. Jason Jack, KCSO new Program Officer went to Pohnpei May 16-22 to learn about the Green Road Show. KCSO will soon start a similar program and as Jason wrote in his evaluation, "The experience was tremendous and it surely will help our organization to grow, especially our educational program." Although Jason arrived during exam week, some schools allowed Ben and Leinsom to do some unscheduled presentations just to show Jason what they do. "The working relationship that we established was incredible. We agreed to contact each other regularly to discuss and update our work." Thank you again CSP for openly share your experience with the MIC members and Ben and Leinsom for being such great mentors! While in Pohnpei, Jason also attended the photography workshop with Nina Naylor (above), which hopefully will help him with the video he is about to shoot about Kosrae's unique Terminalia Forest.

Sunday, May 7, 2006

Two MIC members among the "25 Regional Leaders Who Are Making The Difference" (Pacific Magazine)

The May/June 2006 issue of the Pacific Magazine features 25 regional leaders who are making the difference. Among them there are two MIC members.
Well known Palauan educator, anthropologist and community leader Kathy Kesolei recently established a new venture designed to "facilitate positive change." Kathy Kesolei and Associates (KKA) has a contract with the Palauan government to "facilitate organizational performance by involving all levels of people in strategic planning, group performance commitments and measurements." Kesolei has long been a regional leader in education and community programs. In addition, she holds considerable influence in Palau's traditional leadership structure. In June 2001, Pacific Magazine featured her in a profile of Palau's women leaders and she has continued to show her commitment to the region since then.
If receiving the world's most prestigious award in marine conservation-the Pew Fellowship-hasn't brought Willy Kostka to your attention, the leadership he is about to bring to the Micronesian Conservation Trust certainly will. Having just finished seven years as founder and executive director of the Conservation Society of Pohnpei, Kostka recently accepted a position as the first executive director of the Micronesia Conservation Trust (MCT) (, an organization committed to developing long-term, sustainable funding for biodiversity conservation in Micronesia. Chartered in the Federated States of Micronesia, MCT attracts seed money for core trust funding, as well as pass-through grant money such as that from the Packard Foundation and the Global Environment Facility, the latter of which has committed a minimum of $750,000 annually toward biodiversity efforts in Palau, the FSM and the Marshall Islands.

Monday, May 1, 2006

MIC Media Coordinator launches new regional magazine

At the end of April, MIC Media Coordinator Olivier Wortel announced the launch in June or July of Equator, a new magazine on Micronesian environment and culture. As Olivier wrote in a message to all MIC members, "This is a unique project and certainly a first for the region – a magazine dedicated solely to Micronesia, and focusing almost entirely on the themes of culture and environment. I feel strongly that it will have a positive impact on awareness of the beautiful and unique cultures and environments of our region and the work that we are doing to protect them." Equator will inlcude expressions and input by all sorts of people, of all ages, and across different sectors of society and Oliver feels that "the members of MIC, both collectively and individually, should have a strong stake in the magazine."

Monday, April 24, 2006

MIC Review Draft Report ready

After months of hard work, the MIC Review Team led by Ian Dutton finished the first draft of the Report and sent it to more that 50 members and partners of the Network for review and comments on April 22. Ian asked to assess the Report’s accuracy, fairness/balance, and recommendations. He also extended the deadline for comments to June 1, giving people to full weeks review the document. After receiving the comments, the Team will undertake a final edit of the Report and circulate the Final Report before the next MIC retreat. As Ian wrote in his message, “We hope that the recommendations made will significantly influence the design, agenda and conduct of the next retreat and so hope that you begin to take the ownership of this important opportunity that you asked for in the review.”

Friday, April 21, 2006

Madison Nena Chairmain of the Board for UWMP

The Board of Directors of Kosrae's Utwa Walung Marine Park (UWMP) met for the first time on April 20 and selected MIC member Madison Nena as its new Chairman. Among Madison's first commitment is to have a active board and work on a new management plan for the park. Madison is already working with MIC to schedule a Board Development Training for UWMP for late June/early July.

Thursday, March 2, 2006

Learning Exchange helps CCS develop Financial and Strategic Plans

Through a Learning Exchange sponsored by the MIC Network, Willy Kostka (Director, Conservation Society of Pohnpei) and Bill Raynor (Director, The Nature Conservancy Micronesia Program) traveled to the FSM state of Chuuk February 26-29 with TNC Coda Fellow Robb Johnson to facilitate a strategic planning session for the newly established Chuuk Conservation Society (CCS). CCS is the first conservation organization in Chuuk, the most populous state of the Federation and MIC members played an active role in starting the organization. With the help of Bill, Robb and Willy, CCS has now developed an Integrated Financial and Strategic Plan for the year 2006 and 2007 that the Board of Directors has already approved.

Wednesday, March 1, 2006

MIC Review Team lead by Ian Dutton prepared Report first draft

After spending several weeks reviewing documents and interviewing more than 40 MIC stakeholders -- MIC current and former members, alumni, facilitators, and TNC staff directly or indirectly involved in the creation and development of the network -- the MIC Review Team (Bruce Boyd, Lucille Apis-Overhoff, Jason Spensley, Arianne Lowe and team leader Ian Dutton) met in Guam February 17-20 and then flew to Pohnpei to work on the first draft of the Report. The final report will be ready in late April.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Learning Exchange PCS-CSP a success

Environmental Educator Yalap Yalap from the Palau Conservation Society (PCS) traveled to Pohnpei February 6-11 on an MIC Learning Exchange to learn about the Green Road Show (GRS), the successfull environemental education program for elementary school students that the Conservation Society of Pohnpei (CSP) started in 2002. Yalap's mentors were CSP Environmental Educators Ben Namakin and Leinsom Neth. "It was a match made in heaven," Yalap wrote in his evaluation form. Now Yalap is now working to start the Ridge to Reef Road Show in Palau in September 2006 and thanks to another learning exchange, Ben will join him in Palau to help PCS launch the program.The exchange made Ben and Leinsom realized that mentoring other organizations is a powerful way to further conservation in Micronesia and offered to help other MIC Members develop their educational programs.

Tuesday, February 7, 2006

Tiare Holm is officially a member of MIC

The Board of Directors of the Palau Conservation Society (PCS) has given full support for Tiare Holm's MIC membership. Tiare is PCS Executive Director and has more than 10 years of experience managing conservation programs in Palau and the Pacific Islands region. She has worked with both government and NGOs at the local, regional and international levels including the Palau Environmental Quality Protection Board (EQPB), the South Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) and RARE Center for Tropical Conservation.
Welcome Tiare!

Friday, February 3, 2006

Founding member Willy Kostka wins the world’s most prestigious award in marine conservation

MIC founding member and executive director of the Conservation Society of Pohnpei (CSP) Willy Kostka is one of five awardees of the 2006 Pew Fellowship, the world's most prestigious award in marine conservation. “In the tradition of the Pew Fellows, Willy Kostka’s leadership in island-based conservation, including establishing marine protected areas and integrated watershed management, has distinguished him as a pioneer of marine conservation, discovering new solutions for protecting and preserving our oceans worldwide,” says Ellen Pikitch, Ph.D., executive director of the Pew Institute for Ocean Science. Willy will conduct a three-year conservation project to establish networks of protected areas in the Micronesian region. The Pew Institute for Ocean Science "strives to undertake, sponsor, and promote world-class scientific activity aimed at protecting the world's oceans and the species that inhabit them."

Monday, January 23, 2006

Jesse Borja officially a member of MIC

The Board of Directors of the Mariana Islands Nature Alliance (MINA) has afficially approved Jesse Borja's membership to the MIC Network. Jesse is an attorney, a former Supreme Court Justice and Lieutenant governor of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islans (CMMI). Welcome Jesse!