By JoAnna Delfin
Joint Region Marianas Public Affairs
MANGILAO, Guam (May 9, 2017) – Rear Adm. Shoshana Chatfield, commander, Joint Region Marianas, joined more than 25 Guam High School (GHS) students as they learned about Guam’s territorial tree and endangered plants during a field trip to the University of Guam (UOG) in Mangilao May 8.
University staff from the Guam Plant Extinction Prevention Program (GPEPP) gave briefs about the Ifit Tree, Guam’s territorial tree, and showed the group several native endangered plants to include the Serianthes nelsonii.
Following the briefs and tours of the tissue-culture lab and rare plant nursery, Chatfield and GHS students were given the opportunity to plant Ifit seeds in garden pots in preparation for future placement in the ground.
“We do labs and activities in class but it’s nice to take them outside and see people actually employing some of the same concepts we’re learning about in real life,” said Guam High School Biology Teacher Doris Ada. “I think it’s important to show them where people are actually trying to recover and build up the population of trees we’re no longer seeing on a regular basis.”
UOG Horticulture Professor Dr. Jim McConnell said he and his staff enjoyed teaching the group more about Guam’s endangered plants and encouraging them to pursue an interest in science outside of the classroom.
“They got to see all the components that we do on campus,” he said. “We’re always hoping that students will pursue further education, their interest in science and in the native plants of Guam.”
Ada shared McConnell’s sentiments and hoped her students would learn to appreciate the wonder of science and the environment, and do more to foster environmental stewardship.
“I hope they take away that it’s not just book learning,” she said. “They can do their part, even if it’s a small part – planting a tree, taking care of a little garden – just making the world a little better in our own small ways.”