Monday, August 26, 2013

September 6th: 4 films, 4 stories, 4 cameras focused on our coasts!

First Friday Films will be showing four short environmental films on Friday, September 6th at 6:30pm at American Memorial Park in coordination with Coastal Month to celebrate our coasts and the resources that they provide.

The four films being presented are from the Centre for Science Communication in Dunedin, Otago, New Zealand. First will be “Bluffed”, a 2006 film by Katie McSweeney about fishermen taking a stand to save their livelihood and a national icon – the bluffed oyster. Next, “Beyond the Kelp” by Amy Taylor and Rohan Currey (2005) takes us to the shores to find Hector’s dolphins and see how these amazing animals connect with the people of New Zealand. Third will be “Titans of the Coral Sea,” a film by Jordan Plotsky (2008) examining what happens when a fishing village lets the modern world in and their ancient ways become lost along with their livelihood.

The 2011 film “Tangled Waters” will be the evening's finale, directed by Saipan resident, Nicole Schafer, and Andrew Scott. Their 2011 film will let the audience jump in and wind their way through a comedic journey of shakrs, surf and local politics to discover how a small community brought an end to a forty-year practice. After the film, director Nicole Schafer will be available for a Q&A session.

First Friday Films is a partnership between American Memorial Park, the Division of Environmental Quality, Coastal Resources Management and the Humanities Council with support from other organizations. These films are sponsored by Coastal Resources Management. As always, our film events are free and open to the public. This event will run about 90 minutes.

For more information about First Friday Films, email

Monday, August 12, 2013

Visiting researcher presents on Megapodes this Thursday 8/15

First Friday Film viewers might be interested in this upcoming talk entitled "Megapodes: their Distribution, Evolution and Conservation" hosted by APASEEM this Thursday, August 15th at 6:30pm at American Memorial Park.

The Asia Pacific Academy of Sciences, Science Education, and Environmental Management (APASEEM) will host a science-focused public presentation on the avian family Megapodiidae, or megapodes, Thursday, August 15th at the American Memorial Park auditorium, Saipan.  Time is from 6:30 to 8pm.  Everyone is invited to attend and learn about this unique family of birds, one species of which (the Micronesian Megapode) occurs in the Marianas.  The presenter, Dr. RenĂ© Dekker, is a world authority on megapodes and Director of Collections at the National Museum of Natural History, Leiden, The Netherlands.
Dr. Dekker has been involved in megapode conservation and research since 1985, when he was appointed project leader for the conservation of the Maleo (Macrocephalon maleo) in Sulawesi, Indonesia, where he lived and worked for 18 months.  Since this time he has been involved with various megapode studies and has served on advisory committees for megapode conservation.  Dr. Dekker has also acted as chairman of the IUCN/SSC/WPA Megapode Specialist Group for 22 years.  With his Australian colleague Darryl Jones he has published a book on megapodes for Oxford University Press, wrote IUCN/SSC conservation plans, and published multiple articles on the evolution and breeding strategy of megapodes.  During his work, Dr. Dekker has visited many places to study megapodes, often on remote islands such as the Nicobars (India), Niuafo'ou (Tonga) and Waigeo (Papua).
Megapodes are unique among birds because of their aberrant breeding strategy that utilizes heat from decomposition, geothermal activity, or radiant energy from the sun to incubate their eggs. Such a strategy, however, puts their large, yolk-rich eggs at risk of being harvested and consumed by humans in many parts of their range.  This has led to the decline of many species, some of which are considered endangered according to IUCN criteria.  Megapodes occurred on numerous South Pacific islands in the not so distant past but many were exterminated by early settling Polynesians.  Like the flightless rails that also occurred on many of these same islands, at least 20 species of megapode have become extinct; only 22 species remain.  Dr. Dekker’s presentation will illustrate and describe the variety of megapode species and delve into many aspects and explanations of their distribution, behaviour, evolution, and conservation.  As at all APASEEM talks, questions from the audience are strongly encouraged.  For more information visit the website or write to them via