The Ngaramaiberel women’s civic organization and members of the Koror state government’s Department of Conservation and Law Enforcement (DCLE) after the installation of a UNESCO World Heritage signage on Ngeremdiu on July 3. (Rhealyn C. Pojas)

In celebration of Palau’s heritage, Koror state government’s Department of Conservation and Law Enforcement (DCLE) and the Ngaramaiberel women’s civic organization had planted trees that are endemic to two of the Rock Islands on July 3.

DCLE Outreach Officer Dora Benhart said that at least five plants that are endemic to Babelomekang and Ngeremdiu islands, two of the most frequented tourist activity areas in the Rock Islands, were planted by the group.

DCLE had also installed a signage bearing a UNESCO World Heritage emblem on each island as part of the celebration of the 7th anniversary of the Rock Islands Southern Lagoon’s inscription as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Benhart said that the partnership with the women’s group from Koror, the Ngaramaiberel, is part of the DCLE’s outreach program to expand or include the community, tour industry, and other sector’s participation in safeguarding Palau’s environment.

Tour companies such as the Fish N’ Fins and Sam’s Tours had also taken part in the program by providing boats for the guests.

Benhart explained that the Rock Islands are important parts of Palau’s heritage as these played a great role in the history of migration in Palau.

“As [our ancestors] travelled from South Peleliu islands and Southwest Islands to Koror down to Babeldaob, they had to come through the Rock Islands,” Benhart said.

Benhart stressed the importance of continuing the protection and conservation of the Rock Islands to ensure that future Palauans will still have the resources that the current Palauans enjoy.

Benhart said that they wanted the celebration to be an annual thing to be able to spread awareness that the Rock Islands are more than just Rock Islands but also a World Heritage Site.

Aside from tree-planting activities, the DCLE had also unveiled on the evening of the same date the new Koror State ‘welcome sign’ located near the Japan-Palau Friendship Bridge.

Benhart also added that they had partnered with the Surangel Shopping Center in initiating a ‘No Plastic in the Rock Islands’ on June 23 and June 30 as part of the celebration for the World Heritage Site.

Palau just celebrated the seventh-year anniversary of the inscription of the Rock Islands Southern Lagoon as a UNESCO world heritage site on June 29. This was the first time the state is celebrating the inscription anniversary after it was officially declared as a UNESCO world heritage site on June 29, 2012. (By Rhealyn C. Pojas)