Friday, June 26, 2009

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HMRG Deep needs a new name

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.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Marianas Trench Marine National Monument Maps

bush pacific marine monumentsThese are the monuments created by President George W. Bush on January 6, 2009.

marianas trench marine national monument

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Friends of the Monument featured on EPA blog

The Environmental Protection Agency blog has a blog post about the Friends of the Monument. Woot!

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!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Nereus Reaches Challenger Deep

nereus woods hole submarineI hope you are following Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution on Twitter. Over the last few days they have been exploring the bottom of the Marianas Trench with a robot submersible called Nereus.

bottom of the marianas trenchThey have reached the bottom several times now and have already released a single photo to whet the appetite of science geeks across the world.

Including our local paper the Saipan Tribune, this feat of science and technology is being reported in a number of international publications including: New Scientist,, US News & World Report, Discover Magazine, RedOrbit, National Science Foundation, Insciences Organisation, and Newswise among others.

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

Bottom of the Ocean

The Wood's Hole expedition that is testing out a new unmanned submersible called Nereus is diving to the bottom of the Marianas Trench TODAY! They had a dive last night and made it to 10,900 meters. They are looking to repeat this feat later today.

Follow them on Twitter for up to the minute updates on their progress.