Friday, November 7, 2008

Meet Primo

CoCo: Good morning and thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to talk with me.

Primo: My pleasure.

CoCo: So, you have been awarded the coveted title of Flagship Species for the CNMI Pride Campaign. How do you feel?

Primo: I’ve never felt better! I have been given an opportunity to help promote healthy reefs and I look forward to doing my best. Because my species depends on the reef for our survival, it is a topic near and dear to my heart.

CoCo: You mentioned your species, I have never heard of the Yellow Crowned Butterflyfish.

Primo: (sighs) Yes, most people in the CNMI and around the world have never heard of us. We are actually very rare. My species is endemic to the Marianas…that means this is our home…our ONLY home. The Yellow Crowned Butterflyfish is not found anywhere else in the world.

CoCo: No where else? Wow!

Primo: Yes, that makes us very special. But at the same time, it makes us very vulnerable. The survival of the Yellow Crowned Butterflyfish depends on the survival of the CNMI’s reefs.

CoCo: I see. Can you tell us a little about how you were chosen for this job?

Primo: It was tough competition. I was among many other marine creatures. We were then narrowed down to four: the spotted eagle ray, the bumphead parrotfish, the napoleon wrasse, and the yellow crowned butterflyfish.

CoCo: You were in the company of some pretty amazing animals.

Primo: It was an honor to stand among those three.

CoCo: How were you finally chosen?

Primo: The four of us were included in an island wide survey conducted by volunteer NMC students. Nearly 400 people were asked to choose which species they thought would be the best mascot for the CNMI’s reefs. All of our photos were included, and people selected their pick.

CoCo: I saw the photos. You looked fabulous.

Primo: Thank you, but I think that the bumphead parrotfish was by far the most photogenic.

CoCo: In the end, what were the results of the survey?

Primo: I came out ahead with 37% of the vote, followed by the bumphead who got 27%.

CoCo: Congratulations!

Primo: Thank you. But I want to remind people that the health of our reefs is important to all marine life…please take good care of it!

CoCo: I understand you have many exciting events coming up; where will you be in the next couple of months.

Primo: I’ll be hanging out at the Thursday night market, visiting the popular beach sites on the weekends. I will also be at the Build A Castle Save A Reef event on Nov 22 at the Hyatt Regency Hotel all day.

CoCo: that’s exciting. I hope your fans will get to have your autograph. Before you go on your way, do you have with any parting words?

Primo: Healthy Reefs, Healthy Fish!

The CNMI Pride Campaign is brought to you by Coastal Resources Management Office and the Coral Reef Initiative, a partnership of the CNMI’s environmental agencies, Coastal Resources Management, the Division of Environmental Quality, and the Division of Fish and Wildlife. For more information about Primo, the Pride Campaign, or for opportunities to help please contact Brooke Nevitt, Pride Campaign Manager and Education and Outreach Coordinator, Coastal Resources Management Office, 664-8320 or

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Upcoming Events

Sat, Nov 22, 2008. 7am-1pm @ 4-H building
"Health & Wellness Fair" ~ over 20 exhibits from health, environment, safety and youth organizations (private and public)

Sat, December 6, 2008. 8am-4pm @ Hyatt Regency beachside
"Build A Castle ~ Save A Reef" ~ as part of the International Year of the Reef, this is Light in the Eve Foundation 5th year in hosting this event. Special Appearance by PRIMO!! games, prizes and autograph signing !

Dec 10 & 11, 2008
"Conservation Action Plan [CAP] Workshop" ~ Meghan Gombos from NOAA and Trina Leberer from TNC will be in Saipan on Dec 10 and 11 to assist us in utilizing the CAP info to create a final management plan (LAS) for LauLau and becoming familiar with the new CAP tool, Miradi*. [times and location will be announced later.]

Friday, October 3, 2008

CoCo meeting minutes for October 1, 2008

Brooke Nevitt, Kathleen Herrmann, Olivia Tebuteb and Reina Camacho.

Right Route –
- Press releases were featured and flyers were distributed.
- Ads were also featured in the Variety and Tribune.
- Deadline to sign up is Oct 6.

Scavenger Hunt –
- no word from coordinators (Fran Castro and John Starmer) on progress or direction on the event. Those present determined a postponement.
- The proposals for prizes were also not approved.

Outreach @ Rota Fiesta on October 10, 11 and 12 –
- Gov agencies: DEQ’s NPS/Watershed, CRM’s pride, DFW’s brown tree snake program
- Need outreach goodies (posters, magnets, pencils, etc.)

Other updates:
4th grade outreach –
- Olivia is coordinating with the schools for this year. Programs that want to participate need to contact Olivia or Reina, 664-8500.
Library story hour –
- Ongoing at Children’s library, every Friday at 3-4pm.
- More readers/presenters needed.
Pride campaign –
- Primo will be at the Garapan street market every Thursday
- Primo will develop conservation clubs at each high school, starting with NMA as a pilot
Environment Page –
- Articles needed; coco features approximately 3 articles per day
- Thanks Bruce for sending in an article!

~ State of the Reef presentation at the Kagman Community Center on Thur, Oct 23, 6pm

~ Wellness Fair on Sat, Nov 22, 4-H Club; exhibitors needed

Thursday, November 6, 2008, 9am @ DEQ conf rm 205

Friday, September 12, 2008

Stop Turtle Poaching in the Marianas

I received this message from MINA today:
NOAA needs your help. NOAA is offering Rewards for Information on Sea Turtle Poaching!!!!

NOAA’s Fisheries Service Office of Law Enforcement is offering up to $1,000 for information leading to the arrest and/or conviction of persons poaching endangered sea turtles in the Territory of Guam and in the Commonwealth of Northern Marianas Islands.

Turtle poaching is an ongoing problem in the Guam area. In recent months, NOAA special agents have investigated cases involving the sale and consumption of meat and eggs of protected sea turtles.

Turtle experts believe that turtle poaching is a significant contributing factor to the reduction of indigenous sea turtle populations around the Pacific islands.

The Endangered Species Act of 1973 protects all six species of sea turtles in the United States. Endangered species include the indigenous Green Sea Turtle and the Hawksbill Sea Turtle, which are commonly found in and around Guam and the Northern Marianas Islands. Under the ESA and its corresponding regulations, it is illegal to take, possess, sell, deliver, receive, import, export, carry, transport, or ship any endangered species. A violation of the Endangered Species Act can result in civil penalties of up to $25,000, and criminal fines of up to $100,000 and imprisonment up to one year.

Anyone with information is asked to call one of the following numbers:

Special Agent Charles Raterman (Guam) 671-472-7200
Pacific Islands Division (Honolulu, HI) 808-541-2727
Office for Law Enforcement - National Hotline: 800-853-1964
Guam Customs & Quarantine Service - MITF: 671-475-6331
Guam Division of Aquatics and Wildlife – DAWR: 671-735-3991
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service - Guam 671-647-6064
NOAA understands and predicts changes in the Earth’s environment, from the depths of the ocean to the surface of the sun, and conserves and manages our coastal and marine resources.

go to:

Friday, September 5, 2008

Minutes for August 6, 208

CNMI Organization for Conservation Outreach [CoCo]

Meeting - Wednesday, August 6, 2008 @ DEQ conference room


Welcome & Introductions

The meeting was attended by: Kathleen Herrmann (DEQ), Lauren Sanchez (DPW - energy), Norbert (DPW Energy), Teny Topalian (PIRO), Brooke Nevitt (CRM), Daniel Villegas, (DEQ intern); Olivia Tebuteb (DEQ), Kathy Yuknavage (CRM) and reina camacho (DEQ).

Agency Updates

  1. Teacher camp (coral reefs and general environmental resources) will be held on Sept 4 & 5 at CRM office; space is limited. Brooke will email flyer for CoCo members to distribute.

Scavenger Hunt – lead persons are Fran Castro and John Starmer

Only a handful submitted clues; still need more. Discussion on the underwater camera as prizes; Kathy will write up a justification for 1-2 cameras as prizes for a side watershed (ridge 2 reef) photo contest. available funds from CRMs account can be used toward the purchase of supplies and/or incentives for the scavenger hunt (volunteer shirts, totebags, waterbottles, etc.)


  1. ALL - submit watershed clues, DUE AUGUST 13th via email to Daniel (
  2. ALL – recruit at least 5 staff from each agency to volunteer
  3. Daniel – create visuals for use is print advertising
  4. Brooke – develop radio script
  5. Fran/Energy Office – look for funding for Ads

Take the Right Route (RR)lead by Energy Office

Date is confirmed for October 10(Friday); giveaways for participants (1000 zories, lanyards, water bottles, light bulbs, etc.) and coordinators (goody bag of energy stuff) have been secured.


1. reina - finalize flier (need energy office input); and set up presentations at Chamber, Rotary, HANMI, MVA, etc
flyer distribution at post office, grocery stores (Costco, ace hardware, etc.); perhaps have conduct face-to-face presentations to recruit offices;

2. Energy - secure money for newspaper and radio advertisements


Next Meeting – Wed, September 3, 2008, 9:30am @ Energy Office in Capitol Hill.


Friday, July 11, 2008

CoCo meets on Mon, July 21

CoCo's next meeting will be on Monday, July 21, 2008 at 9:30am (alternate time: 1:30pm) at the Coastal Resources Management Office (conference room, 2nd floor) .

Draft Agenda items:
IYOR – upcoming events
  • Sept/October 2008 - Scavenger Hunt
  • October 2008 - Right Route #2 (lead by DPW energy office)


  • Tuesday, Sept 16 – International Coastal Cleanup Day
  • Increase outreach activities for tinian and rota communities
  • Round robin – agency updates/upcoming events.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

New Coral Reef Reports

Over the past month DEQ and CRM published an overview of CNMI reefs as a newspaper insert, with reprints still available at the CRM and DEQ offices. Its also available online at The CNMI MMT has also finalized the monitoring plan for 2008 which is available at

Monday, March 17, 2008

Meeting Minutes for Thursday, March 6, 2008

We held a coco meeting on Thur, March 6th @ DFW; the following were present:

Teny Topalian, Reina Camacho, kathleen Hermann and Olivia Tebuteb

CoCo welcomed Kathleen; she's the new coral reef fellow stationed at DEQ.

DEQ shared its upcoming events:
1) Cook A Rainbow ~ Cooking from our Reefs – Sat, March 29 @ Sabalu Market, 11am
2) Proclamation – tues, april 1 @ 10am (location TBD)
3) Environmental Expo – Tuesday, April 8 and Wed, April 9 @ Public Library 8am-12pm

Old business
1) Mission, Involvement, Partnership - TABLED (yet again...!)
2) NRM Program – comment period regarding the program scope from CoCo members has expired/completed; the advisory committee is ready to meet and discuss NRM Project Coordinator funding. IYOR – Right Route, draft directive was sent for comment; none were received. Reina will forward to Gov Office.
3) IYOR/Earth Day – Brooke sent her suggestions; no opposition from those present; go Brooke!
4) IYOR/Coral Parade (July 4) – TABLED.

New Biz – none.

Next meeting – Date: Thurs, April 3; time and locaiton will be determined via email

Meeting Minutes for January 10, 2008

CoCo Meeting @ DEQ – Thursday, January 10, 2008

Welcome & Introductions
- reina called meeting to order at 9:10am
- Meeting was attended by Mike Tripp, Teny Topalian, Reina Camacho, Kathy Yuknavage, brooke nevitt, nate Hawley, ken Kramer, Angelo Villagomez

Agency Updates (round robin)
CAP – jan 16-19, 2008 @ PIC, by invitation only, limited to 20pax; must register with Fran Castro, 664-8570 or via email
DFW – want to know how Invasive species fits w/Micro Challenge? We request a micro challenge mtg update?
Marianas dive – underwater cleanup on Sun, Jan 20th @ Grotto;
Suggestion to promote report violations; 888-4917 (DFW marine enforcement hotline) and increase crime stopper #.
CRM – completed stairs @ obyan beach; access ramp for people w/disabilities.; reviewing 100-500 of CRM regs; will distribute for review to other agencies upon completion of the draft.
RARE – stakeholder meeting, PIC, Jan 24, 9am-12noon. Various representation.
MINA – completed the first phase of the re-vegetation at obyan beach; Executive Director met with teachers of the environmental camp to review lesson plans; MINA will hold camp in 2008.

Old Business
1. IYOR update:

a.) Jan 18 Proclamation
- Manamko – open
- Fisherman – lino olopai & john castro
- Students –
- Reina to do - use mina ‘s email list to publicize; send add’l PSA to newspaper/tv;

b.) Feb 15 Right Route
- CRM & MINA will have a sign u sheet; participants will get pair of zori
- CRM via MINA will purchase 200 pairs of ‘walk it, don’t drive it’ zories to give away to Right Route participants
- CRM is pending approval on the advertisements for magazines & newspapers.
- MINA will publicize event via tv, radio, etc.

c.) April 22 Coral Parade
- no new info from MINA regarding the lead; spoke with Beach Road Magazine
- angelo suggested having a turtle event instead of the reef.
- Mike would like know more about event planning team/budget
- Build a coral reef event @ PDM

2. Review Mission, Involvement, Partnership, etc.
- Forum is an exceptional opportunity, but we are not effective if we do not get all the support or participation
- Invite: dive groups, fisherman (Chinese, Korean, etc.), schools,
- Let’s revisit in April after the above events.

New Business
Outreach Booth, Feb 16-17, Tinian Hot Pepper Festival

Next Meeting – Thurs, February 7, 9am, USDA Conference Room

Meeting adjourned at 10:35am

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Meeting Reminder

There will be a CoCos meeting this Thursday, January 10 at 9:00 AM in the DEQ conference room in Gualo Rai.