Project HOPE (Healthy Ocean & People Empowerment) is an educational collaboration between PSS sixth-graders, NMC ENRO college students, and community elders. Funded by a grant from the Administration of Native Americans (ANA), Project HOPE strives to improve CNMI sixth-graders’ ACT Aspire test scores by offering them a free ocean science program uniquely tailored to their needs; by incorporating local elders’ ocean expertise into a Western science curriculum, the program acts as a bridge between traditional culture and modern conservation science. In the long term, we hope to see this initiative foster interest in conservation careers among CNMI youth, ultimately leading to the development of 30 more local ocean and marine science professionals by 2030.
Project HOPE is facilitated by college students enrolled in Northern Marianas College’s (NMC) Environment and Natural Resources Organization (ENRO) program as mentored by Friends of the Marianas Trench staff. These students partner up with local elders who have a lifetime of ocean experience. Together, they lead approximately sixteen weeks of ocean science club activities for sixth graders, one time per week for 6 hours per session. Activities are designed to offer the sixth graders a tactile learning opportunity geared toward improving their ocean literacy, forming meaningful connections with their community and natural environment and improving their understanding of STEM principles.
Currently, Project HOPE is open to all PSS Middle Schools. Check with your student’s science teacher to sign up or you can sign your sixth grader up for Project HOPE here. Students should be prepared to commit to joining their school’s ocean science club, which will involve attending afterschool and weekend activities at their respective schools and/or at the Guma Sakman and participating in at least one stewardship project. Additionally, students participate in an ocean camp at the end of each semester.
COVID-19 pandemic adjustments: In-person meetings will have a limited number of students and be structured based on social distancing protocols as advised by CHCC Public Health representatives.
Partners: NMC, ENRO, PSS, MINA, 500 Sails, Administration of Native Americans