Monday, June 11, 2007

9th MIC Retreat

The 9th Micronesians in Island Conservation Retreat was in Majuro, Republic of the Marshall Islands from June 4 - 8, 2007. The objectives of the retreat were to
  • Update MIC Members on conservation success and challenges in the different countries/states
  • MIC Members will receive updates on member goals and identify the next steps to attain their goals
  • MIC Business: discuss and finalize membership issues; the coordinators roles and responsibilities, and review the milestones/measures of the MIC and the members roles and responsibilities, to fulfill the measure set by the group
  • Update members on the Micronesia Challenge and discuss issues related to communication and sustainable financing for the challenge
  • Learn about conservation in the Republic of the Marshall Islands and the Caribbean Challenge
As the new (and first!) Executive Director of MINA and a Jedi in the Order of Conservation, I was invited to the retreat to become an MIC member.

The retreat kicked off with a welcome breakfast on Tuesday morning. The MIC member from the Marshall Islands, Albon Ishoda, gave the opening remarks. After breakfast the new MIC members were taken into the conference room for new member orientation and the off-island guests were introduced to the people and cultures of Micronesia (we had guests from Honduras and the Bahamas).

New Member OrientationNew Member Orientation: Fabian Iyar and Joe Aitar, both from Palau, and I were invited to the retreat to become MIC members. Romina King from Guam was also invited to the retreat to become a member, but she missed Orientation. I think she was eating pancakes.

After orientation the rest of the retreat participants joined us in the conference room and we went around introducing ourselves and what our expectations were for the retreat. I said something like I'd be happy if I could just remember everybody's first name...and then said that I was looking forward to learning about conservation throughout Micronesia.

With introductions out of the way, we got down to work. State Reports were first. Each of the represented states/countries/territories gave an update on Conservation in their islands. Our guest from Honduras, Julio Carcamo, went first. He discussed conservation issues in Central America. I went second. I talked about the success of Beautify CNMI, the ongoing Laulau Revegetation Project, and the recent project at Obyan. After me, we all listened to the reports of Palau, Guam, Federated States of Micronesia, Yap, Chuuk, Pohnpei, and Kosrae.

The Marshall Island did not present because they were going to give us an overview of all the conservation programs going on in the Marshalls as part of our welcome dinner.

After the state reports and lunch, all of the members reported on their personal, professional, and institutional goals that they had set for themselves at the last retreat. Since this was my first retreat, I mostly just listened.

It would appear that most Micronesian nvironmentalists are unhappy with their weight. I promised myself that I wouldn't focus on losing weight; I promised myself that I would gain weight. At least I know I'll be successful.

That was it for Tuesday.

When we finished our seminars I had some time to go for a run before our welcome dinner. I ran from our hotel to "the bridge," which at 4 meters is the highest point on the island, and back.

I think every single kid either waved at me or said hello.

As part of our welcome dinner we had presenters from the Marshalls talk about their conservation projects. There were 10 presenters lined up, but we only managed to get through 8 before it was decided that we had to eat. Micronesians like to eat, what can I say?

Minister from the MarshallsAttending the dinner was the Minister of Something, and the Mayor and the Senator from an island that I can't remember. I'm not going to post pictures from the dinner because I already put some of them in this Youtube video:

The music in the background is from the Marshall Islands.

Wednesday was a full day. Even our breaks were seminars. The two presenters from the Marshalls who were bumped from the agenda on Tuesday came in to talk to us during lunch and Stacey Moultrie from The Nature Conservancy in the Bahamas talked to us about the Caribean Challenge over dinner.

In the seminars we went over MIC business in the morning and had breakout sessions in the afternoon. We discussed issues and problems facing our nonprofits and then discussed case studies on how to achieve sustainable financing.

Thursday was our fun day. In a previous post I talked about my fishing trip and the excursion to Eneko. Before that trip we had a presentation on the progress of the Micronesia Challenge and Joe Aitaro led a discussion on Communications and Marketing for our Network.

Friday was the last day and seemed to drag on forever...but we accomplished a lot of work and made a lot of decisions.

At the end of the day we had a gift exchange and I showcased the Youtube video featured above. That was it.

Looking back it went by really fast, but I still managed to learn a lot. I set personal, professional, and insitutional goals for myself, which I'll report back on during our next retreat, which will be in Guam in March.

I will add more stuff about Majuro in the next few days, but I just wanted to give my readers (both of you) a quick and dirty of what I did.

I'm not in a picture taking mood this morning; I'll get pictures up later.


Tony said...

Hi Angelo.. quick question.

I wanna create some videos like the one you've done here, but have no money to buy software. With the net being as it is these days, whats the best package to look for and the best site to download it from??

Thanks buddy!


The Saipan Blogger アンジェロ・ビラゴメズ said...

I use Windows Movie Maker. I think it comes standard with Windows XP. It is kind of like using powerpoint. You upload pictures, video, and music and then string them all together.

Tony said...

Thanks buddy. Will look into it.

By the word verification I have to put in to post this ends with 'ukpoo'... slightly unappreciated but しかったがないね!!