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PAGO PAGO, American Samoa – In celebration of Earth Day 2013, environmental group American Samoa 350 donated on Saturday 30 plants to the Leone Healing Garden Project and the Leone Empowerment Team.


 Leone Healing Garden Project Manager Makerita Enesi and Leone Empowerment Team organizers Andra Samoa and Va’alele Tuitele Hicks were on hand to accept the donation.


Several members of 350 also joined Samoa and Hicks in picking up trash on Saturday around the Healing Garden, a monument honoring about a dozen Leone residents who died during the 2009 earthquake and tsunami.


 AmSamoa 350 Youth Coordinator Sandra Purcell said 350 wanted to do something special to celebrate this year’s Earth Day and what better way than to donate plants to a village which has shown so much strength and resilience in promoting and preserving their natural resources.


Leone village is working with the government for the protection of its coastal wetlands, which suffered extensive damage during the 2009 tsunami when waves deposited roofing iron, household furniture, appliances and other debris in the mangroves.


The village has also partnered with marathon swimmer Bruckner Chase and the Department of Public Safety Marine Patrol in promoting water safety training in the village.


Purcell expressed appreciation and thanks to Leone traditional leader Salave’a Miki Tofinu’u and members of the Leone Healing Garden and Leone Empowerment Team especially Makerita Enesi and Andra Samoa for accepting 350 in their village on Saturday.


AmSamoa 350 pledged their support to join the Leone women’s organizations in cleaning up the coastal areas and participate in water safety activities in of the village this coming Saturday.


Purcell said 350 is proud to support initiatives by the Leone Empowerment Team, a grassroots initiative that train women with new skills, promote the environment through regular village coastal clean-ups, and create activities and programs to engage the youth.


“What started out a donation of plants as a tribute to Earth Day turned out to be a start of a partnership between 350 and the Leone Empowerment Team,” said Purcell. “We all share the same concerns about our environment and the same vision that we all need to do our part to help Mother Earth.”