This past Senior Citizens’ Day, the Ngardok Nature Reserve 25th Anniversary Organizing Committee (NNR AOC) and Melekeok State, along with citizens and leadership of Melekeok, gathered to celebrate its oldest and wisest residents. The morning began with a tree planting at Ungilmood market in Ngerulmud, in honor of the senior citizens.

Afterwards, the elderly listened to remarks by Reklai Bao Ngirmang, Governor Henaro Polloi, Delegate Frutoso Tellei, Speaker Silverius Tellei, and Minister of Human Resources, Culture, Tourism, and Development Ngiraibelas Tmechtuchl. They also heard from Joseph Diego, area director for the United States Department of Agriculture, on grants up to $10,000 that seniors are eligible to apply for. After the remarks, seniors were treated to live band music, dance performances, and lunch.

During lunch, NNR AOC had the opportunity to conduct interviews with the older men and women who told stories about their memories of Lake Ngardok. Many recalled fondly traveling to the lake when they were younger, with some having swam in the lake or hunting birds around the lake’s edge. A few mentioned that the cheuais, the tall grass overgrown in the lake, was much less prevalent during that time.

The interview footage is currently being reviewed and edited, and will be released later in the year as part of a video in commemoration of the 25th Anniversary of Ngardok Nature Reserve. NNR AOC would like to extend sincere gratitude to all Melekeok seniors who shared their stories and memories on camera.

For more information about Ngardok Nature Reserve, please contact MCN Coordinator Dearlynn Rebluud, at dearlynnrebluud@gmail.com; msgconservationnetwork@gmail.com;  or visit Melekeok Conservation Network on Facebook and @ngardok_mcn on Instagram.

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