The nonprofit organization has been known to dedicate itself to “the conservation of the diverse natural resources of the Northern Mariana Islands.” SFEC is a program through the U.S. Department of the Interior that works with schools to raise awareness about environmental issues prevalent to the islands.
MINA program director Becky Furey informed Variety on Thursday that “every year, MINA rotates the topics addressed during the workshop.”
She added, “In the past, topics included climate change, marine protected areas, watersheds, coral reefs, marine debris.”
This year’s theme is “Learning about, Interacting with, and Actively Conserving Our Natural Resources.”
“Through experimental learning from these natural laboratories,” said Furey, “students and teachers will not only learn about the importance of the CNMI’s natural resources, but [they] also can help promote and encourage environmental stewardship throughout the island.”
“The first day will be a workshop where teachers and students learn more about conserving natural resources,” she said. “This will be a six-month-long project. Conservation action plans will be created for the schools.”
In an email to Variety, Furey expressed the inspiration behind the creation of the first SFEC, stating that “MINA has conducted the Environmental Teacher Camp since 2007.”
“This program introduced basic coral reef ecology to teachers from schools throughout the CNMI,” she said. “The purpose of the camp was to encourage teachers to integrate coral reef ecology into their lesson plans.”
Furey added, “In 2013, MINA expanded the Teacher Camp to include students. As a result, students and teachers together engaged in educational and field activities.” She also mentioned that excursions include a trip to Managaha to study its natural environment.
This program, now called Schools for Environmental Conservation, provides opportunities for students and teachers to learn about and work on a project that focuses on a specific environmental issue together.
The program director also noted that each school selects which students will represent their school at the event.
“We notify the school principals, who then reach out to their science teachers,” she added. “Four students are selected from each middle school.
This year’s SFEC will take place at the Pacific Islands Club Saipan on Saturday, March 7, 2020. MINA said that as of Thursday, seven Saipan middle schools had confirmed their participation in the workshop.
Funding for this year’s SFEC program is from a sub-grant award by the Micronesia Conservation Trust.
For more information about MINA’s Schools for Environmental Conservation Program, contact program director Becky Furey at 233-REEF (7333) or email email@example.com.