Photos & Multimedia
NPS photo by Park Ranger Nancy Kelchner
Honor Students Lend an Earth Day Hand
Over fifty students joined park staff and volunteers in removing invasive species from a constructed wetland and replanting it with native mangroves at American Memorial Park, located on the island of Saipan in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. Members of Saipan Southern High School’s National Honor Society waded knee deep into a storm water run-off pond that had recently become choked with hyacinth and grass.
The group was divided into teams by Park Ranger Nancy Kelchner whose “swamp team” pulled invasive vegetation from the pond while the “tree people” selectively harvested young freshwater mangrove trees from a nearby natural wetland in the park. The “swamp team” removed three tons of hyacinths and deposited them into the park’s compost pile. The “tree people” then planted 210 mangroves into the newly opened pond area and along the streambank. Concerned about the long-term success of this project, Saipan Southern High School decided to adopt the wetland and monitor the trees in the pond to ensure they survive over the coming months.
The constructed wetland bisects American Memorial Park and drains into Smiling Cove, an estuary and popular marina for recreational watercraft. A properly functioning wetland will provide natural filtration of the stormwater prior to its discharge into the Phillipine Sea. The park’s urban setting and recreational focus means Ultimate Frisbee and soccer games occur on the adjacent ball fields and manicured lawns while pedestrian traffic passes over the wetland. Saipan Southern High School students see this as an opportunity to protect an area many of them have enjoyed since they were younger and hope to enjoy in the future.
Did You Know?
The Flag Circle consists of the American flag, flanked by the Service Flags of the Army, Marine Corps, Navy, and Air Force (Army Air Corps). The Flag Circle is prominently viewed through the park's mall entrance by all who drive north on Beach Road in Saipan. More...