The Department of Commerce’s American Samoa Coastal Management Program and Fagatele Bay National Marine Sanctuary, held its very first ‘Youth Ocean Summit’ yesterday morning at the Governor H. Rex Lee Auditorium, that was attended by approx. 200 students from different high schools in the territory. It also included a Jobs Fair that showed students some of the career opportunities available in the ‘oceans’ area. [photo: Jeff Hayner]

The Department of Commerce’s American Samoa Coastal Management Program and Fagatele Bay National Marine Sanctuary held its very first ‘Youth Ocean Summit’ yesterday morning at the Governor H. Rex Lee Auditorium, that was attended by approximately 200 students from the territory’s high schools.

The Youth Ocean Summit was organized to bring together public and private high school students from around the territory to learn and discuss among themselves the topic of ocean conservation and how important they are as youth, to affect change.

The highlight of the summit was when the Ocean Swimming/Ocean Science Class of Samoana High School, presented their final projects on ocean conservation. There were 24 Samoana High School OS/OS students split up in different teams, to showcase their ocean conservation ‘Now What’ presentations, consisting of videos and songs, before a panel of judges.

The video presentations covered topics such as littering, recycling, global warming, keeping the ocean clean, watersheds and ocean health/healthy human beings.

The First Place winner of the ‘Now What’ presentation from students in the OS/OS class was Christina Pulu, who created a video presentation on Littering. Tied for 1st place was the team of Fritz Helg, Ropate Delana and Nick Pulu, who had a video presentation on, ‘What a Watershed is’.

Keynote speaker for the summit was 13 year old Brianna Fruean, who is a Freshman at Robert Louis Stevenson school in Samoa. In spite of her youth, Fruean has led environmental programs and activities to advocate change in people’s behavior in order to make a difference and save our oceans and natural resources.

She has also been a lead in major efforts in Samoa. She will be representing Samoa at the Rio+20 conference in Rio de Janeiro, in South America, as a youth ambassador this coming June. “I thought it was so amazing that all of these kids have these great projects. I think this is a great initiative and I really hope that the kids will continue with their work,” said Fruean.

Samoa News spoke to the Superintendent for Fagatele Bay National Marine Sanctuary, Gene Brighouse, about the success of the summit. “This is the first time that we have had this event and one of the reasons was to celebrate the end of our Ocean Swimming/Ocean Science class with Samoana High School,” said Brighouse.

“Another reason for the summit was to bring understanding and broader awareness to ocean conservation and how we are affected— because we are surrounded by the deep blue ocean. We also wanted to make sure that these kids know that ocean-related jobs are all around us on this island. A lot of jobs here depend on the ocean in some sort of job related activity. So that is why we brought together a collective group of government and the private sector, to really celebrate how they bring attention to ocean conservation,” she concluded.

Also at the summit was an Ocean Job Jamboree, that consisted of different booths representing jobs from the government and private sector, that deal with the ocean in some aspect.

Some of the high school students spoke to Samoa News about what they took away from the summit.

“What I learned today was that ocean conservation is really important and that we should stop throwing our trash into the sea,” said a student attending the summit.

“What I learned today, is that there are 271 species in Fagatele Bay. It is important for us to keep an eye on our ocean to keep it clean, so that we will not lose anymore of the rare species that live there,” Silia Pati a Junior at Nu’uuli Voc-Tech.

To close out Ocean Week, there will be a Toa o le Tai Ocean Heroes Lifeguard competition this coming Saturday morning at Utulei Beach Park, with the participants competing in lifeguard events.


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