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Coral Reef Initiative Education and Outreach Program
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    "The CNMI Coral Reef Initiative (CRI) was founded in 2003 in partnership with NOAA's Coral Reef Conservation Program. The CRI is a cross-agency initiative between the Bureau of Environmental and Coastal Quality (BECQ), Division of Coastal Resources Management (DCRM), Division of Environmental Quality (DEQ), the Department of Lands and Natural Resources (DLNR), and the Division of Fish and Wildlife (DFW). These agencies work together to protect and preserve CNMI's coral reef ecosystems and ensure responsible management of these resources. This work is achieved through biological monitoring, habitat restoration, research, enforcement, and education and outreach. Widespread understanding and support for coral reef management plans and activities in the CNMI has been limited and varies greatly among members of the general public. This lack in awareness and appreciation has made it difficult to inspire change in individual attitudes and behavior, and greatly impedes the community's ability to make decisions for effective coral reef management. Historically, education and outreach efforts have focused heavily on 4th and 5th grade audiences, collaborating with PSS educators on Saipan, Tinian, and Rota, as well as other agencies, to coordinate outreach events such as "CNMI Snorkels" and the Ridge to Reef Eco Camps. We have also made an effort to reach additional audiences by taking advantage of opportunities to conduct outreach at events such as the Marianas Tourism and Education Council's (MTEC) Tourism Summit and the Timmy Would Go Memorial Paddle Classic. These events allow us to reach a wider audience of resource users as well as help CRI establish a presence in the community. Communication, education, and outreach continues to be an integral part of the CNMI's coral reef conservation plan. The education and outreach team continually works to enhance public awareness, understanding, and appreciation of coral reef ecosystems and empower the public to become active stewards of the marine environment. The success of our efforts is measured in a number of ways. For example, pre and post-presentation/activity surveys are distributed to students to determine if coral reef knowledge has increased; human dimensions' surveys track public awareness and attitudes; and temporal data collected from specific areas help us to determine the effectiveness of targeted outreach plans (i.e. LaoLao Bay Pride Campaign)"--Background.

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