Friday, June 26, 2009

Name That Abyss!

marianas trench marine national monumentUniversity of Hawaii professor and geologist Patricia Fryer and George Washington High School marine biology teacher and Marine Mania advisor Linda Tatreau are holding a contest to rename HMRG Deep, the second deepest place in the ocean.

According to the article in Pacific Daily News:
The contest is open to all Guam and Northern Mariana Island students ages 18 and under. The proposed name must reflect Guam's history, culture or language and the applicant must include a paragraph explaining the significance of the name.

All entries should include the applicants name, school and contact information. The deadline to submit entries is July 14 to

The winner of the contest will have their chosen name on all bathymetric/geologic maps and will also get to ride on the UnderWater World float in the Liberation Day Parade, with a banner stating the winning name.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Saipan to host regional environmental conference

Registration is now open for the 26th Pacific Islands Environment Conference, which will be held on Saipan on June 22 to June 25, 2009, and is expected to draw attendance from government officials and environmental leaders across the Pacific as well as the U.S. mainland.

This year's theme is “Climate of Change: Energizing a Sustainable Future for Pacific Islands.”

The conference is designed to provide a forum for leaders throughout the Pacific Basin to focus on important environmental issues through excellent speakers and interactive roundtable sessions.

On Monday, June 22, there will be pre-conference workshops and a CNMI Energy Summit. The formal PIEC conference agenda runs from June 23 to 25 and will feature both plenary and breakout sessions with a strong focus on clean energy and climate change. Field trips will be held the afternoon of Thursday, June 25.

The Pacific Islands Environment Conference is jointly sponsored by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the governments of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Guam, and American Samoa. Register today at

There is no registration fee for the conference, although the field trips and some lunches are subject to a fee. A block of rooms has been set aside at the Saipan World Resort for conference attendees, with rates starting at $100 per night (tax included). Airport transfers are available for a fee. Discounted rental car rates are being negotiated and additional details will be available soon. Those interested in participating in the conference are being urged to use the hotel reservation form on the registration Web site to reserve their room before the May 22 deadline.

For more information about the conference, contact Nuria Muñiz at (415) 972-3811 or, or Michael Mann at (415) 972-3505 or For information on exhibit opportunities, contact Fran Castro at 670-664-8500 or

For additional information and registration, visit

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Tan Holdings, Friends of the Monument recognized with Beautify CNMI awards

Beautify CNMI announced today the winners of their annual Environmental Champion and Environmental Steward Awards. The awards are given out to recognize individuals, organizations, and businesses that have proven to be environmental leaders in the Commonwealth.

The Environmental Champion award recognizes a person or group that exemplifies the Beautify CNMI spirit. Those qualities include volunteerism, cooperation, innovation, creativity and the ability to infect others with the Beauty Virus. The Environmental Champion is a role model for others to follow. They bring environmental issues to the forefront of public consciousness. They make things happen and effect change.

This year Beautify CNMI will recognize Tan Holdings, Laurie Peterka, and Ken Kramer as the 2009 Environmental Champions.

Tan Holdings is being recognized as a model of corporate environmental responsibility. Under the leadership of President Jerry Tan, Tan Holdings employees and friends have been part of several environmental projects over the past year. All Tan Holdings offices on Saipan participate in a Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle program and the company participates in a reusable shopping bag campaign with Joeten. Employees, often with the participation of management, regularly participate in cleanups, including the recent island wide cleanup.

Laurie Peterka and Ken Kramer are being recognized for their roles in the creation of the Marianas Trench Marine National Monument.

Kramer was so inspired by the concept of the monument that he quit his job so that he would have more time to collect signatures. Kramer was the largest signature collector for a petition being circulated in support of the monument, collecting over 1000 signatures at the street market, in front of stores, at the Sabalu market, and door to door. Kramer also penned nearly two-dozen letters to the editor educating newspaper readers about the benefits of a monument.

Peterka is being recognized for the role she played as staff with the Pew Environment Group. According to one of her nominations for the award, “Laurie has been the backbone of the Friends of the Monument’'s efforts: always there, always supportive, keeping things moving, doing much of the organizing, writing, scheduling, as well as a lot of the scut work.”

The Environmental Steward award recognizes a person or group that leads the community in activities that help protect our environment in a variety of ways. This individual or group has demonstrated the need to take pride in our islands and to take care of the place we all call home. They serve as an example for others, especially the next generation, to follow.

This year Beautify CNMI will recognize Friends of the Monument as the 2009 Environmental Stewards.

Friends of the Monument was formed to help promote the idea of creating a national marine monument in the waters around the three northernmost islands of the Northern Mariana Islands. The Friends of the Monument engaged in activities to help educate the community --distributing leaflets, conducting meetings, and coordinating with teachers for classroom presentations. The organization gathered more than 6,000 signatures on petitions in support of the designation of a Monument. The Friends sent representatives to Washington, D.C. to meet with White House officials, and participated in television and radio public service announcements and advertising. Ultimately, they were instrumental in the process that resulted in former President George W. Bush designating the Marianas Trench Marine Monument, along with three larger national marine monuments.

The awards were handed out at the Beautify CNMI/PAWS Boonie Dog Show on Saturday, June 13 at the CPA Airport Field.

Beautify CNMI recognizes Steward and Champion Awards winner each year in Spring. Nominations are taken from the community at-large and the Beautify CNMI Committee Chairs select winners. Past winners include Aqua Resort Club, Friends of the Mariana Islands, Marites Castillo, Kathy Yuknavage, Captain Carl Brachear, Adam Sablan, Katie Busenkell, Rose Callier, Mike Tripp, Marianas Dive, Nava Khorram, Max Aguon, Paseo de Marianas Promoters, and Bree Reynolds.

Beautify CNMI! is a coalition of concerned citizens, private groups, and government entities united to enhance the CNMI's natural beauty and foster community pride in its residents and visitors. The coalition was a recipient of a 2007 EPA Environmental Award and received a Certificate of Commendation from the United States Congress in 2009. For more information visit them online at

Monday, June 8, 2009

Carnival of the Blue 25

The best in ocean blogging this month can be found at Carnival of the Blue 25, hosted at Blogfish this month. Carnival of the Blue 25 represents the beginning of a third year of ocean-related blog carnivals. Woot!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Beautify CNMI Selects New Committee Chairs

During their regular meeting on June 4, 2009, Beautify CNMI partners brainstormed on projects for 2009 and selected chairs to head four committees.

Joe Kaipat of Division of Environmental Quality and Kathy Yuknavage of Mariana Islands Nature Alliance are to co-chair the Solid Waste Committee, the goals of which are to increase the percentage of solid waste recyclables collected, reduce littering, and remove solid waste from local beaches, roads, and villages.

The Solid Waste Committee has plans to develop an adopt-a-spot program in conjunction with a marine debris removal and recycling campaign.

“In the next year we want to take the success we’ve had with keeping Wing Beach clean and spread it to at least seven other beaches,” explained Yuknavage. “We have plans to work with the community putting recycling and trash bins next to some of the most popular beaches on Saipan.”

Angelo Villagomez of the Rotary Club of Saipan, Ronnie Rogers of Historic Preservation Office, and Kathleen Hermann of Division of Environmental Quality will co-chair the Restoration Committee, which will focus on re-vegetation projects and maintaining historical sites.

The committee plans to continue work on the Laulau Revegetation Project started by the CNMI Watershed Group in 2005. They also want to start a volunteer corp who will maintain local historical areas.

Dr. Dan Lamar of FHP Saipan will chair the Parks & Trails Committee, which seeks to create a system of local, state, and national parks under a Commonwealth Parks System.

“A Commonwealth Parks System connected by a series of trails would be a great draw for tourists,” according to Lamar. “It would also attract professionals who look at quality of life issues when deciding where they want to practice their profession.”

Laurie Peterka of Practical Solutions and local student Tyler Yoshimoto were named as the co-chairs of a new Beautify CNMI Committee that will launch a campaign uniting youth, the community, artists, and businesses to combat graffiti.

“This is something that I’ve been working on with the ISK8 Society for quite some time and I’m really excited to make it a part of Beautify CNMI,” said Peterka.

All of the coalition partners agreed that youth education and development through coalition building and partnerships should be an integral part of Beautify CNMI.

“It is so important to work with the kids,” said Hopwood Junior High School teacher Kimberly Vaillancourt.

Beautify CNMI! is a coalition of concerned citizens, private groups, and government entities united to enhance the CNMI's natural beauty and foster community pride in its residents and visitors. The coalition was a recipient of a 2007 EPA Environmental Award and received a Certificate of Commendation from the United States Congress in 2009. For more information visit them online at

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Job Opening in CNMI

The CNMI Coral Reef Initiative has a job vacancy for a qualified attorney.

Please CLICK HERE for the full announcement.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Friends of the Monument elect Directors

A diverse group of individuals -- a lawyer, a teacher, a dive instructor, a former president of the local college, a former director of the Division of Environmental Quality, a small business owner and a community organizer -- have been elected as the first directors of the Friends of the Monument.

The Friends of the Monument previously had three officers, but the group is expanding as the role of their organization expands.

“Last year our main focus was building local support for the monument and showcasing that support to the decision makers in Washington, DC,” explained Director Ignacio Cabrera.

The organization has plans to set up as many as six committees to fulfill the vision they outlined in their October 2008 Vision Statement, but for now will focus on three areas: Outreach & Education, working with the local government, and working with the federal government.

“Our organization plans on being involved with the management of the monument,” said Director Agnes McPhetres. “It is so important that the people of the Marianas, and not just a handful of political appointees, get to have their say in how this monument is managed.”

The new Directors are Cabrera, McPhetres, Bryan Jones, Jane Mack, Laurie Peterka, Mike Tripp, and Angelo Villagomez. The directors will elect officers during their next Board of Directors meeting scheduled for this month.

The Friends of the Monument were the main proponents of the Marianas Trench Marine National Monument, a 95,000 square mile marine protected area designated by President George W. Bush on January 6, 2009. More information of the Friends of the Monument can be found online at

Monday, June 1, 2009

Looking for a new MIC coordinator



RESPONSIBLE TO: Executive Director

CLOSING DATE: June 26, 2009

Background: Regional Social Networks & Capacity Building Programs -
Micronesians in Island Conservation (MIC) - MIC began in 2002 as a peer learning network designed to help Micronesian conservation leaders strengthen their agencies by: 1) identifying and addressing shared needs for technical assistance, training, and other support; 2) rapidly sharing successes and lessons learned; and 3) working together on local, national, and regional issues. The purpose of MIC is to leverage conservation work in Micronesia by increasing the success, effectiveness, and number of conservation leaders in the nonprofit and government sectors. MIC's approach is to create a support structure that fosters shared self-directed learning to address priority organizational and technical needs of its members.

Pacific Islands Managed and Protected Area Community (PIMPAC) – PIMPAC is a collaboration of area-based managers, non-governmental organizations, local communities, federal, state, and territorial agencies, and other stakeholders working together to collectively enhance the effective use and management of “managed and protected areas” in the U.S. Pacific Islands and Freely Associated States. PIMPAC aims to provide continuous opportunities for the sharing of information, expertise, practice, and experience to develop and strengthen area-based management capacity throughout the Pacific Islands region. The focus of PIMPAC is to provide support to “on the ground” resource managers, and maintain good coordination/ communication with other networks that focus support to political/organizational leaders (e.g. MC/USCRTF/MIC) or community members (LMMA). As a social network, PIMPAC will continue to use four main approaches to reach its goals and objectives: 1) Training and Technical Support, 2) Learning Exchanges, 3) Partnership Building, and 4) Communications/ Information Sharing. A 2010-12 PIMPAC strategic plan has been developed and implementation will build off previous efforts focused around the topics of MPA management planning, community engagement, and monitoring (social).

Project Scope and Tasks:
Many of the associated tasks under both MIC and PIMPAC are similar and require similar functions as a coordinator. As a half time coordinator for both of these social networks (MIC and PIMPAC), this position will carry out overall coordination of partners, support for project planning and implementation, and communications.

The major function for the coordinator is to communicate and coordinate across a number of partners in the Pacific Islands to support the planning and implementation of MIC and PIMPAC activities. While some of these partners overlap between programs, there are also many differences. Both functions will be under the direct supervision of the Micronesia Conservation Trust. For MIC functions, the coordinator will work closely with MIC members and The Nature Conservancy (TNC) Micronesia staff. For PIMPAC the coordinator will work with the PIMPAC Co-Coordinator within NOAA Coral Reef Conservation Program (based in Hawaii), and the PIMPAC Resource Group, which consists of Sustainable Visions, the Locally Managed Marine Area Network, and The Nature Conservancy, among others. For PIMPAC, the work will focus primarily on the Micronesia region and with strong emphasis on advancing the PIMPAC goals and support for the Micronesia Challenge.

Specific activities that will be carried out for both programs include:
• S/he helps organize MIC/ PIMPAC retreats, meetings, learning exchanges, facilitated self-assessments, training and capacity building events, and provides follow-up for evaluation and reinforcement.
• S/he helps to raise funds for the network(s) and/or specific projects by writing proposals, negotiating with bilateral and multilateral agencies and cultivating donors as needed.
• S/he collaborates with other regional programs/initiatives to provide and extract useful lessons and experiences, and coordinate on joint functional initiatives. This includes the Micronesia Challenge Support Team, and the Locally Marine Managed Area Network. Particularly, s/he will explore opportunities for collaboration among MIC and PIMPAC activities where they can meet shared goals.
• S/he is responsible for maintaining all documents relevant to MIC/PIMPAC carried out through MCT, including budgets, financial administration systems, contracts, workplans, and training materials. For PIMPAC s/he is responsible for communicating with the PIMPAC coordinator at NOAA about budgets and finance.
• S/he is responsible for coordinating PIMPAC/MIC funding and technical support to the Micronesia Challenge Regional office for the development and implementation of the Micronesia Challenge internship program.
• S/he will partner and coordinate with appropriate resource agencies/organizations/individuals to provide capacity building and technical assistance to carry out PIMPAC and/or MIC support activities such as organizational development planning, management planning, and technical assistance in priority focus areas (e.g. community engagement, monitoring, enforcement, etc.). This work may include development of work plans with jurisdictional teams to identify capacity needs and coordination with appropriate consultants to implement capacity building needs on community engagement activities, development of management plans, and community based socio-economic and biological monitoring.

• Implementation of MIC and PIMPAC retreats and meetings with respective partners
• PIMPAC annual work-plans for Freely Associated States identifying capacity needs and mechanisms and timeline for providing support
• MIC and PIMPAC annual budget development, contract development and implementation for technical assistance activities that support MIC and PIMPAC objectives
• Implementation of MIC/PIMPAC learning exchanges within Micronesia
• Dissemination and development of communications materials for websites, reports, newsletters, list-serves, etc.

• Bachelor’s degree in natural resource management (or related field) and 3-5 years’ experience in the functional field, or equivalent.
• Ability to set objectives, manage multiple priorities and independently complete tasks within assigned time frames.
• Experience organizing meeting or events remotely, including arrangements for air travel, accommodations, meeting venues, meals, receptions and other logistics.
• Ability to plan, administer and record results of work-team meetings and activities.
• Ability to coordinate project information from a number of sources to create reports and maintain good program records and files.
• Strong administrative skills, attention to details and numerical ability.
• Working knowledge of Microsoft Office suite.
• Excellent communications in English.
• Prepares and monitors program budget.
• Negotiates contracts and services. Purchases equipment and supplies.
• Responsible and accountable for meeting strategic/financial goals and objectives.
• Ability to communicate professionally with a wide variety of people of different cultures to develop, negotiate and/or implement functional programs.
• Ability to work cooperatively often under pressure to complete project work and achieve goals.
• Solicit program support through clear written communications, including proposal writing and other written materials.
• Strong communications and presentation skills
• Work in partnership with other organizations in a collaborative and advisory capacity.
• Willingness to travel 25-40% of time.
• Work requires only minor physical exertion and/or physical strain.
• Priority will be given to a Micronesian national or long-term resident.

• Domestic and International travel is required to perform certain tasks. All travel costs will be paid by MCT.
• The coordinator will spend significant time on travel for the project (approximately 6-8 regional site visits). The coordinator will follow MCT policies and procedure for travel. Additionally, travel expenses and reports should be shared with NOAA regarding PIMPAC activities.

Place and Period of Performance:
• The position is full time and based in Pohnpei (Federated States of Micronesia) but requires frequent travel throughout the Micronesia Region and occasionally to other Asia-Pacific countries and the United States.
• The MIC/PIMPAC Coordinator will work from the Micronesia Conservation Trust office. Work hours will vary according to task being performed but will average 40 hours per week. At times the Coordinator will need to work beyond 40 hours per week based on travel or up-coming projects.
• MCT will provide office space, computer, phone, and administrative support. MCT will also supervise the coordinator and may assist them on some tasks.
• The period of performance for this contract is one year from the date of award.

Salary and Benefits: US$30,000 to $35,000/annum, basic health insurance, annual & sick leave

To Apply:
Submit a Letter of Interest
Detailed Resume
2 Letters of Reference

Submit To:
Lisa Ranahan Andon
Deputy Executive Director
P.O. Box 2177 Kolonia
Pohnpei, FM 96941