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Am Samoa joined those around the world for CNN's Call To Earth Day

Group photo during Call to Earth Day

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA —  American Samoa’s environmental groups and government agencies answered CNN's Call To Earth Day and found out what can be achieved when communities mobilize for conservation.

In a remarkable display of community collaboration, the Leone High School Forestry Program, NOAA Planet Stewards, the Department of Marine and Wildlife (DMWR), the Department of Parks and Recreation, the Coral Reef Advisory Group (CRAG), the Pago Pago Game Fishing Association (PPGFA), and the non-profit organization Fatoata, recently got together to do a comprehensive environmental initiative in the spirit of Earth Day.

A major marine debris cleanup at the Malaloa Dock with the help of skilled DMWR divers who meticulously collected discarded debris from the ocean floor, with a particular emphasis on removing tires that had become a blight on the underwater ecosystem. The debris was brought to the surface where the students would haul it out and to the dumpster.

NOAA Planet Stewards Tamara Aifesili, Trinity Soifua, and Mouana Taala work with DMWR divers to remove tires, boat chairs, and other marine debris from the Malaloa Dock, an example of what can be achieved when communities mobilize for environmental conservation. [courtesy photo]

The removal of the invasive species Lusina, commonly known as leadtree was also part of the project. This environmentally destructive plant had taken root in the marina and adjacent Autapini Coastal Park, threatening native flora and fauna. The concerted effort to eradicate this invasive species aimed to restore balance to the delicate ecosystem.

Leone High School Forestry members Sandy Tuivaiti and Rene’e Dunson Trepanier (President) work together to remove lead trees and ensure the pods are disposed of properly at Autapini Coastal Park, in recognition of CNN's Call To Earth Day, an example of what can be achieved when communities mobilize for environmental conservation. [courtesy photo]

In a symbolic gesture of renewal and commitment to conservation, the students also planted futu trees. The act served as a testament to the collective dedication to the environment's well-being and highlighted the importance of replacing invasive species with native plants.

Forestry Historian, Omeka Naoupu and NOAA Planet Steward, Faaolataga Faasavalu work together to prepare the ground for the planting of the futu tree, highlighting the importance of replacing invasive species with native plants. [courtesy photo]

These collaborative efforts underscore the significant impact that can be achieved when diverse organizations unite for a common cause. The partnership between educational institutions, government agencies, community groups, and non-profit organizations showcased the power of collective action in addressing environmental challenges.

Buoyed by their success, the Leone High School Forestry Program and NOAA Planet Stewards plan to continue their efforts. On Tuesday, November 28th, the focus shifted to Leone, where students once again engaged in marine debris cleanup, invasive tree removal, and tree planting. The ongoing commitment of these dedicated individuals promises a brighter, more sustainable future for the local environment and its communities


November 28 was CNN’S third annual Call to Earth Day, an initiative dedicated to sustainability and conservation. Partnering with individuals, schools and organizations across the globe, CNN aims to raise awareness of environmental issues and encourage education.

Over 200,000 participants, including 235 schools, took part this year. From making their own environmental awareness videos, to organizing and running a junkyard sale, students took the initiative to do their bit towards protecting the planet and inspire positive change.

In spring 1970, Senator Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin created Earth Day as a way to force this issue onto the national agenda. Twenty million Americans demonstrated in different U.S. cities, and it worked! In December 1970, Congress authorized the creation of a new federal agency to tackle environmental issues, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

You can join Fatoata’s Facebook Page to learn all about their conservation efforts here in American Samoa and learn more about NOAA Planet Stewards by scanning the QR code.