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On Friday, June 24, 2016 the students who participated in the 2016 Caribbean and Pacific (CariPac) Summer Internship Program held presentations at the Assembly Hall of Palau Community College (PCC). Each presentation was a highlight of the summer’s agricultural and food sciences activities that were experienced in Palau. The students also included the lessons they had learned about Palau’s environmental and marine conservation efforts.
The CariPac is a consortium established in 2005 by higher education institutions in the following islands: the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI), Guam, the Republic of Palau, the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM), the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI), American Samoa, Puerto Rico, and the U. S. Virgin Islands. Each summer, students from the member institutions participate in summer internship programs that aim to improve their overall understanding of agricultural science and food stainability, especially in relation to their respective home islands.
Learning Resource Center (LRC) Instructor/Counselor Isumechraard Ngirairikl opened the presentations with welcoming remarks. She was followed by PCC Vice President of Cooperative Research & Extension (CRE) Thomas Taro who provided a brief history about the CariPac and highlighted the positive outcomes of the residential instruction grant.
The first presenters were Ms. Nathalie Trow-McDonald (Communications Student from the University of the U. S. Virgin Islands) and Mr. Luke Langmos (Agricultural Science Student from Palau Community College). Ms. Trow-McDonald compared the learning institutions, highlighting their histories and cultural significances. Mr. Langmos, who is from the Marshall Islands, highlighted the agriculture & conservation methods being used in Palau. Their presentation focused on supporting the application of Palau’s stainability initiatives, such as garbage control and green fees, in the U. S. Virgin Islands and the Marshall Islands.
Presenters from the University of Guam were Lee Roy Sablan (Saipan) and Berry Barnabas (Pohnpei). They identified local agencies that made it possible for Palau to preserve its natural environment. In comparison to Guam, Palau’s conservation efforts have been influential in the preservation of endemic species. The students highlighted the significance of unified efforts from both the community and government organizations in order to restore Guam’s natural environment.
Erika Billen (Pohnpei) and Miki Fritz (Chuuk) presented on behalf of the College of Micronesia – FSM (COM-FSM). They focused on the food science programs supported by the PCC-CRE Department. Emphasizing on the use of local foods in food production, Ms. Billen and Ms. Fritz showcased dishes they had learned to prepare in the food technology classes.
The final presentation was given by Ms. Saumolia Noa and Ms. Logomalu Papalii from the American Samoa Community College. In the weeks they spent in Palau, Ms. Noa and Ms. Papalii experienced local food production, such as planting taro in wetlands, and the programs that support it. Their presentation highlighted the benefits of food sustainability sponsored by farming initiatives, such as the seed distribution sponsored by the Taiwan Technical Mission.
After the presentations, the students from the American Samoa Community College performed a Samoan dance. They were followed by the students of COM-FSM who sang the FSM National Anthem. Ending remarks were delivered by LRC Director Vernice Rechebei. CariPac supports research & education activities that address local food and agricultural needs that support local economic growth.
Sponsors for the 2016 CariPac Summer Internship Program were the Palau Bureau of Agriculture – Ministry of Natural Resources, Environment & Tourism (MNRET); the Belau National Museum; the Palau International Coral Reef Center (PICRC); The Nature Conservancy; the Palau Conservation Society (PCS); the Northern Reef Fisheries Cooperative; the Taiwan Technical Mission; the Palau Mari-Culture Demonstration Center; the Koror State Government – Solid Waste Management Facility; the Palau Tourism Center; the Palau Guest Lodge; and Palau Community College.
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