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Even a small effort is significant, says environmental advocate

WHEN caring for the environment, even a small effort is significant, said Tracy Burgess, this year’s Environmental Champion of the Micronesia Islands Nature Alliance.

In 2017, Burgess started incorporating beach cleanup activities in her Environmental Science class at Saipan Southern High School.

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Former Saipan Southern High School teacher Tracy Burgess was named Environmental Champion of the Micronesia Islands Nature Alliance during its recent Green Gala held at Fiesta Resort & Spa.  Contributed photo

She said every weekend, she and her students picked trash in beach areas.

For “demonstrating an extraordinary commitment to the environment and the preservation of natural resources,” MINA recognized Burgess as the 2019 Environmental Champion during its recently held Green Gala at Fiesta Resort & Spa.

“I am honored to have been selected for this award,” she said. “I am a firm believer that if we take care of the Earth, it will take care of us and our future generations.”

As an educator, she said she tries to motivate her students “by telling them that their efforts for the environment, though they may seem small, are significant.”

Burgess no longer teaches at SSHS, but she hopes that other educators will continue “to harness” the students’ momentum.

When she started organizing the beach cleanups for her class, Burgess said her purpose was to help maintain the island’s natural beauty while raising environmental awareness in the community.

“The environment needs everyone to care for it. In addition, my students learned many life skills, including the importance of volunteering, team effort and so much more,” Burgess said.