New G3 Conservation Corps members in motion
A second cycle of sustainability leaders kicked off their first week under one of
the Guam Green Growth (G3) initiative’s most highly mobilized programs on March 14 at the University of
Out of more than 100 applicants, 12 members were selected to participate in the G3 Conservation Corps, entering a workforce development program preparing the island community for the emerging green economy. Over the five-month program, they will partake in various conservation activities to support the resilience of the island and its natural resources.
The new members are as follows: Jenelle Aguilar, Rejean Benavente, Johnny Borja, Jacob Concepcion, Remilou Hannigan, Dulce Imbo, Wade Kitalong, Andrea Murer, Ryan Perez, Christopher Quichocho, Hila’an San Nicolas, and Tre Starr.
Their first week started with an orientation including remarks from G3 leadership, team-building exercises, tips from a panel of inaugural cohort members, and the recitation of the new Conservation Corps pledge.
The corps members have also completed their first island beautification project: gardening in the colorful cliffside planter boxes on the UOG campus that also display the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
“The corps will bring together hundreds of different members from our community ... to do amazing things to move our island forward toward a sustainable future,” said Austin Shelton, G3 Steering Committee co-chairperson and director of the UOG Center for Island Sustainability, which facilitates the G3 initiative. “At the same time, the corps will receive valuable workforce training to join the green workforce when they complete the program.”
G3 Conservation Corps member Johnny Borja shared his motivation for joining the corps.
“Growing up on this island, we really [have] a lot of love for our culture and our environment. Seeing some of it deteriorate in our young lives, I feel like it’s really good to be able to set the foundation for the future, to teach better ways, so our island stays beautiful, and we can share it with everyone,” Borja said.
Dulce Imbo, a UOG graduate student pursuing a master’s degree in counseling, plans to incorporate the knowledge she’ll gain from the program into her guidance for future clients.
“We see that the SDGs are intersectional. I want to be there to pay it forward in terms of mental health and how that relates to our environment, as well as how that relates to our sustainable development and our sustainable community here in Guam,” she said.
Gov. Lourdes Leon Guerrero, G3 Steering Committee chairperson, spoke at the orientation, saying the pandemic has shown how necessary it is for Guam residents to be able to sustain themselves with the island’s resources.
“I want you to learn as much as you can and send that knowledge out and apply that knowledge out to the community,” she said. “[…] Our island is very fragile. I love our island. I’m sure you all do. We live here. No one else is going to do it but ourselves, and I really appreciate your commitment and your efforts.”
In their first few weeks, the members are scheduled to assist with the expansion of the G3 Community Garden in Hagåtña, familiarize with Guam’s waste management and zero waste operations, and partake in regular village revitalization projects.
The G3 Conservation Corps is supported by Guam’s Recycling Revolving Fund with approval from the Guam Environmental Protection Agency Board of Directors.
Aligned with the 17 U.N. Sustainable Development Goals, the Guam Green Growth initiative, or G3, cultivates an ecosystem for transformative action to achieve a sustainable, prosperous, and equitable future for Guam. The University of Guam facilitates the island-wide initiative in cooperation with the Office of the Governor of Guam and the 100 members of the G3 Working Groups, representing all sectors of society.