by Breanna Lai

Guam - This year's U.S. Coral Reef Task Force pre-meeting was held this past Friday here on Guam, where they discussed the impact the buildup will have on our reefs. Today another meeting was held in the CNMI and on the 16th there will be a meeting in Pohnpei where they will discuss how to use community management to address impacts to the coral reefs in that area.

Evangeline Lujan is the administrator of the Bureau of Statistics and Plans & Guam Coastal Management Program, and told KUAM News, "I think the Task Force's primary objective is to raise awareness in the community and the nation and the international world about impacts of coral reefs and the importance of coral reefs and how coral reefs are critical to every community."

To better incorporate the community's input into the task force, Stats & Plans and the Guam Coastal Management Program held a photo and essay contest open to all high school students on Guam and in Micronesia. The winners will be highlighted at the meetings.

The bureau also hosted free field trips for the community to see some of the projects related to coral reefs like the Wildlife Refuge and the Cetti Bay Reforestation Region.

But if you missed these field trips and would like to get involved in keeping our reefs clean, the last Saturday of the month is the annual International Coastal Cleanup event.  "Our office is the community leader for the International Coastal Cleanup this year," said Lujan.

"It's going to be September 25, the fourth Saturday of September it is the international 25th anniversary on Guam this our 6th year, so we are looking forward to people participating as usual we will have t-shirts available for all our participants so please look out for the sites you can volunteer and pick up trash in our water sheds and our coastal areas."

If you do volunteer and wear your t-shirt in the afternoon, you and the kids can enjoy fisheye park for free for your participation.  "I think the biggest thing is everything you do at home if you think about where the trash that you have or if you're going to be using a paper cup versus a Styrofoam cup that everything impacts the reef," she added.  "And so our everyday behavior you don't have to go out and do all the clean ups, just around your house just being conscious about where you put your trash, separating your trash, recycling, making sure you don't throw oil down the drain or on the ground, there's many things we do personally at home."

Lujan encourages the people of Guam to enjoy the environment we live in and do your part to keep Guam clean.