Wednesday, June 18, 2008

10th MIC Retreat -- Guam

On April 14, 2008 members of the Micronesians in Island Conservation (MIC) met in Guam for the 10th MIC retreat. Every nine months members of MIC, from the Republic of the Marshalls, the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of Palau, Territory of Guam and the Common Wealth of the Northern Marianas, meet to review progress on goals, share lessons learned, and identify issues for collaboration at local, national or regional levels. The retreats provide: 1) opportunities for members to point out specific needs and identify mentors for future learning exchanges; 2) a means for members to stay connected with ongoing conservation work in other Micronesian countries and; 3) it allows members to reconnect with their peers and be a source of encouragement to each other.

During the retreat MIC members were inspired by many Guam community conservation leaders such as Linda Tatreau, a high school teacher at George Washington High school who created a program called Marine Maniacs which has inspired her students to take a more proactive approach to preserving the natural heritage of Guam; by Daniel Vice, assistant director of Department of Fish and Wildlife who shared with members about Guam’s continuing efforts to control the brown tree snake population in Guam; and finally by Cheryl Calaustro, the Guam Rare Pride Campaign Coordinator, who discussed with MIC the Cocos Island bird restoration project.

Mr. Tukabu Teroroko, Director of the Phoenix Island Protected Area (PIPA), Kiribait, was invited to the retreat to share with the MIC members about the ongoing conservation work in the Phoenix Islands. Mr. Teroroko shared with members the success of PIPA and discussed with members the current challenges that face Kiribati in maintaining and regulating the vast protected area. At the end of the retreat, Mr. Teroroko was invited to become a member of MIC, which he accepted. Mr. Teroroko stated that he felt MIC was an important initiative and one that would add value to his ongoing work in Kiribati. Mr. Teroroko also pledged that his organization would assist MIC by writing into his PIPA budget his attendance to future MIC retreats.

MIC gained three new members: 1) Fran Castro, director of Department of Environment Quality and the Micronesia Challenge focal point for CNMI; 2) Cheryl Calaustro, Guam Department of Agriculture and the RARE Pride Campaign Coordinator and; 3) Tukabu Teroroko, director of the Phoenix Island Protected Areas.

The next MIC Retreat will be held sometime in January 2009, in Pohnpei. The main focus of the 11th MIC Retreat will be sustainable financing for the MIC network, identifying a regional goal, and building the capacity of the members to help them achieve their institutional goals.

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