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 http://marianamonument.blogspot.com.