A Fautasi Challenge Race scheduled
Various govt. organizations in Am. Samoa joined members of the public last Saturday, the start of Coastweek 2012, to help clean up the coast at Lions Park. Coastweek is a national celebration of our coastal resources (Sept. 15-22), and the theme for this year’s celebration is ‘Preservation Builds Generation’. [photo: Jeff Hayner]

Various government organizations in American Samoa as well as  members of the public came together last Saturday, the start of Coastweek 2012, to help clean up part of the coast starting at Lion’s Park.

Coastweek is a national celebration of our coastal resources (September 15-September 22).

“Today is an official day to start our Coastweek 2012, as we are starting here at the Lions Park to do a beach cleanup, which all a part of Coastweek 2012,” said Project Notification Review System Coordinator for the Department of Commerce Marvis Vaiaga’e.

The theme this year is ‘Preservation Builds Generation’.

The Department of Commerce has taken the lead under the American Samoa Coastal Management Program.

Including DOC employees, representatives from the Department of Marine and Wildlife Resources. the National Park Services and members of the public volunteered their time to help clean the coasts of American Samoa participated in Saturday’s cleanup kickoff of 2012 Coastweek.

“It is a combination of a lot of people out here this morning to help out with this great effort. We are trying to separate the trash such as plastics and glass bottles and metals so that we can collect raw data and to inform the public on how much trash that we have collected just right here in this one spot,” said Vaiaga'e.

He went on to say that this is just one event on the agenda for Coastweek 2012 and that the whole point of Coastweek is to try and preserve our coastal areas by keeping them clean, and that by these efforts the work can continue constantly throughout the year.

“We are trying to encourage villages and the community that have been informed about the importance of keeping our coastal areas clean and that starts from the mountains, to the streams which feed into our major natural resource, the ocean,” he said.

He explained that on the 26th of this month, there will be the ‘Fautasi Challenge’ with longboats from different villages competing and that the Fautasi Challenge is being used as a vehicle to draw attention and show the public that it is very important and vital that we keep our coastal areas clean, because the Fautasi Challenge is a tradition here in American Samoa.

Vaiaga'e went on to say that they recognize that by empowering and supporting the system that exists within the village leadership we can strengthen each person’s individual stewardship and certainly preserve our natural resources as we currently benefit from, for generations to come.

“This is one of the main sports here… and  it shows that by continuing to preserve our coastal areas and our villages, it will benefit our harbor area, which is where the event is taking place. If we keep it clean, we will be able to continue to enjoy and be able to hold these events such as the Fautasi Challenge as… a tradition for American Samoa especially during Flag Day,” he said.

Vaiaga'e explained that the race will have a new route, which will only be within the harbor area, and approximately 4 miles long.

Also on September 26, the day of the Fautasi Challenge, there will be beach activities taking place at Utulei Beach Park from 1:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. with the race starting at 4:00 p.m.


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