Wednesday, August 23, 2006

MIC Island Tour

Today I went on an island tour of Saipan with Micronesians in Island Conservation (MIC). MIC is a peer learning network of conservation leaders from government and non-governmental organizations committed to protecting and sustainably managing resources in their islands. MIC's approach is to strengthen the collaborative, organizational, technical, and policy skills of leaders and organizations so that, together with communities, they can advance the conservation and management of important natural areas in Micronesia.

You can probably tell that I didn't write that. I would describe MIC as a group of Micronesian conservationists who get together regularly to see what they can learn from one another.

The MIC members came from all over Micronesia, Australia, and Mexico. There was even a gentleman visiting from Grenada. He is studying MIC in an attempt to create a similar organization in theCaribbeann.

Before we went on our tour we were treated to a presentation on local Carolinian culture by Lino Olopai. I don't even know where to begin discussing Lino. Back in the 1970's Lino left Saipan for the Central Carolines in a traditional Carolinian canoe. He spent three years learning about the Carolinians there, and ultimately learning about himself and his people back in Saipan. I'll leave it at that. Lino deserves his own post one of these days.

Former Lt. Governor and Supreme Court Justice Jesse Borja (D-Saipan) served as our tour guide today. Jesse is involved because he is a member of MIC and the Mariana Island Nature Alliance (MINA).

Jesse took us to Lake Susupe, which is one of Saipan's largest wetlands, to Obyan Beach, where the local government and MINA have big plans to protect the coral reefs and turtle nesting sites (ultimately improving the diving and fishing), and to Managaha Island, which is one of Saipan's five Marine Protected Areas. Jesse gave us a running commentary over the bus's sound system as we drove from location to location. Thanks, Jesse!

Here are some pictures, starting with Lake Susupe:

Obyan Beach:

Environmentally dependent economic activity:

More environmentally dependent economic activity:

Our view at lunch time:

Managaha Island:

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