Saipan, CNMI – 2021 promises to be an exciting year for the Friends of the Mariana Trench (FOMT), which will be overseeing its various projects and grant-funded activities through a newly seated Board of Directors, including incoming chairwoman and treasurer Rep. Sheila J. Babauta and incoming vice chair Franco Santos, as well as returning member and secretary Dr. Larisa Ford. The Friends are delighted to bring such talented leadership onboard and look forward to collaborating on projects that promote environmental conservation in the Marianas community.
It is with earnest gratitude that the FOMT thanks and commends the service of its retiring board members; Mr. Edson Limes, who offered invaluable insight to the Friends as a cultural practitioner and fisherman, and former chairman and treasurer Ike Cabrera.
The Friends would like to further recognize former Chairman Ike’s fourteen years of devotion to the FOMT as chair and founder. Under his leadership, the Friends were able to achieve their many ambitious goals, including incorporating as a non-profit, campaigning for the Mariana Trench Marine National Monument, and, most recently, launching the first session of the Administration for Native Americans (ANA) grant-funded Project HOPE; Healthy Oceans & People Empowerment.
Mr. Limes and Mr. Cabrera will be sorely missed, but the Friends look forward to their continued participation in everyday stewardship and hope they will avail of FOMT’s exciting upcoming programs and services for the ocean-minded community. The FOMT board will be working alongside Executive Director Laurie Peterka to fulfill its mission: to inspire and influence ocean stewardship in the region by providing opportunities for the world, our community, and especially the youth to learn about ocean conservation and the Mariana Trench Marine National Monument.