Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Friends of the Monument set regular monthly meetings

SAIPAN, Northern Mariana Islands – The Friends of the Monument will elect seven officers at their first regular monthly meeting scheduled for Wednesday, May 20. The group decided at their meeting on April 28 to have a regular monthly meeting.

Ignacio V. Cabrera, the current Chairman explained, “During the campaign to create the monument we were meeting almost every other day. We don’t need to meet as often anymore and we went people to be able to schedule the meeting into their other activities. We also have a number of areas where we intend to work over the next few years, so we are going to elect directors to lead us. For example, we are going to elect a Federal Relations Director who will lead our work with the US Fish & Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service.”

The group will also elect Congressional Affairs, Public Relations, and Outreach & Education Directors. Additionally, the organization will elect a Chairman, a Vice-Chairman, and a Secretary.

The meeting will take place at Angelo Villagomez’ residence at 6 PM.

The Friends of the Monument will also distribute booklets detailing the global media coverage the Marianas Trench Marine National Monument received during the first half of January.

When the monument was declared, the story was on the front page of the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, and USA today. It was on the evening news of all three national networks as well as on CNN and FOX News. It played on the radio and was seen on a number of popular magazines and blogs.

According to the group’s Secretary, Angelo Villagomez, “For a few weeks in January the spotlight was shining on our islands and this booklet chronicles all that media exposure in great detail.”

The articles in the booklets were compiled and printed by the Pew Environment Group.

A copy can be obtained by emailing the Friends of the Monument at marianamonument@gmail.com. For directions to Villagomez’ residence, please contact him at 285-6462 or 233-6462.

The Friends of the Monument formed in the Spring of 2008 to express the voice of the local community and consists of a cross-section of indigenous and resident people of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands who are dedicated to the conservation, preservation and protection of flora, fauna and geological features of the oceans; and the proper management of the Marianas Trench Marine National Monument. The organization was a recipient of a 2009 EPA Environmental Award for their community outreach work supporting marine protected areas.

More information on the Friends of the Monument and the Marianas Trench Marine National Monument can be found at http://marianamonument.blogspot.com.

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