Changing Planet

“Return to Paradise” Film Premiere in Palau on Earth Day

It was standing room only by the time the film got rolling on Earth Day last Wednesday night for the premier screening of “Return to Paradise” at the Ngarachamayong Cultural Center in Koror, Palau. The President, ministers, governors, women’s network members, families, tourists and other members of the Palauan community packed the house in anticipation for the unveiling of the movie.

President Tommy E. Remengesau, Jr. presents the Pristine Seas team with a certificate of appreciation for their support of Palau’s 2015 Earth Day events.

The Earth Day Committee planned a lively program featuring a local dance troop “Capt Malii Stars”, awards for winners of an essay contest, and remarks by President Tommy E. Remengesau, Jr.

“Let me thank the National Geographic Society and its Pristine Seas project for such an exceptional film. It showcases Palau’s cultural identity and the value of safeguarding Palau’s assets which are its People, Culture and its Ocean. ”

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Members of the Capt. Malii Stars dance troop perform at the Ngarachamayong Cultural center in Koror, Palau at the Earth Day premiere film screening of the National Geographic Pristine Seas documentary “Return to Paradise.” (Photo by Maggie Hines)

From the depths to the shallows, the film showcased beautiful footage of Palau’s majestic underwater world. More importantly, it told the human story – the strength of the Palauan culture and lessons learned from their long history of a symbiotic relationship with nature. One of the traditions highlighted in the film was the practice of ‘bul’ – Palau’s ancient way of declaring a moratorium on fishing to give fish stocks the opportunity to replenish.

From left to right: Maggie Hines and Monica Medina of National Geographic's Pristine Seas project with Zena of Palau's EQPB and Nanae Singeo of Palau Visitors Authority.
Some of the event sponsors from left to right: Maggie Hines and Monica Medina of National Geographic’s Pristine Seas project with Zena Kulie Rengulbai of Palau’s Environmental Quality Protection Board (EQPB) and Nanae Singeo of Palau Visitors Authority (PVA).

When the film concluded and the credits rolled, the energy in the room was electric and there was a renewed sense of pride. Due to high demand for additional screenings of the film, it will be shown to local schools and broadcast on local networks in the coming weeks for all of Palau to see.

The Pristine Seas team would like to send special thanks to the entire Earth Day Committee, especially: Environmental Quality Protection Board (EQPB), the Palau Visitors Authority (PVA), the Office of the President of Palau, the Palau Conservation Society (PCS) and the Civic Action Team 84-03 for all of their support during Earth Week events.

Click here for more information on the 2014 Pristine Seas expedition to Palau

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Maggie Hines is the program specialist for National Geographic's Pristine Seas project. She works with Explorer-in-Residence Dr. Enric Sala on all aspects of the Pristine Seas project, including planning and executing expeditions to the most remote places on the planet. A Virginia native, her summers were spent on the Chesapeake Bay at her grandmother’s house and on the shores of North Carolina. Maggie received a B.A. in Studio Art with a concentration in photography, and a B.B.A. in Management with a concentration in technology, innovation and entrepreneurship from James Madison University.

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