ASCC's forestry program, “One of the best programs in the Pacific,” review team says
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — The Forestry Program of the American Samoa Community College (ASCC) - Agriculture, Community and Natural Resources (ACNR) Division successfully completed its program review earlier this month and reviewers call it, one of the best programs in the Pacific.
“With the review, we are able to objectively examine our program and services which in turn helps us strengthen the quality of our program services and improve outcomes for the people of American Samoa whom we serve,” said ASCC-ACNR Forestry Manager Luava’asi’itia Mary Taufete’e.
The review was completed on March 2.
The ASCC-ACNR Forestry Program and director, Aufa’i Apulu Ropeti Areta, were commended for successfully completing all 13 recommendations from the 2013 Program Review. Many Forestry Program success stories and successful partnerships with local landowners, the Department of Public Safety, National Parks of American Samoa, the Natural Resources Conservation Services and other government environmental agencies and non-governmental agencies contributed to the success of the review.
Aside from meeting and discussing program progress, the United States Forestry Service (USFS) review team and ASCC-ACNR Forestry program staff drew on the public, engaging in community outreach and conducting site visits. They presented and planted native trees at the Fagali’i Elementary School, and visited the Leone watershed and the National Park of American Samoa Visitor Center. The USFS review team also met with ASCC President Dr. Rosevonne Makaiwi Pato, commending her support and leadership of the ACNR Forestry Program.
The review team stated that American Samoa has one of the best programs in the Pacific, which is also used as a pilot program to guide other Pacific Islands Forestry programs and how they look forward to visiting the island again.
The ASCC-ACNR Forestry Program is divided into three areas: Forest Health Protection - Invasive Plants for forest health activities, monitoring, and reporting on the health of all forest lands; Forest Stewardship for assisting landowners with forest and wetlands management; and Urban and Community Forestry for management of trees and forests within populated areas from small villages to large cities, community outreach and tree planting. Each program is dedicated to the protection, conservation and restoration of forests in American Samoa.
Held every five years, the weeklong review was conducted by program managers and specialists from the Pacific Southwest Region of the USFS, an agency of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). The Program Review helps the program improve its effectiveness and inform programming decisions. The Program Review also helps develop organizational and staff capacity to enhance program success. The USFS review team followed up on the programs’ activities, and provided assistance in overcoming barriers or issues regarding the program.
The USFS review team consisted of Sherry Hazelhurst, Director of State & Private Forestry, USDA Forest Service; David Bakke, Pesticide-Use Specialist, Invasive Plants Program Manager; Katie Friday, Forest Legacy/Stewardship Program Manager, Hawaii and Pacific Islands; Miranda Hutten, Urban & Community Forestry Program Leader; Barbara Geringer-Frazier, Cooperative Fire Specialist Prevention; and Richard Straight, Agro-Forestry Specialist.
Program managers and specialists from the Pacific Southwest Region of the United States Forest Service meet with the ASCC president during the ASCC-ACNR Forestry Program Review.
(Left to Right) Barbara Geringer-Frazier, Cooperative Fire Specialist Prevention; Richard Straight, Agro-Forestry Specialist; Sherry Hazelhurst, Director of State & Private Forestry, USDA Forest Service; Dr. Rosevonne Pato, ASCC President; David Bakke, Pesticide-Use Specialist, Invasive Plants Program Manager; Miranda Hutten, Urban & Community Forestry Program Leader; Luava’asi’itia Mary Taufete’e, ACNR Forestry Program Manager and Katie Friday, Forest Legacy/Stewardship Program Manager, Hawai’i and Pacific Islands. [Courtesy photo]