Conservationists Mr. Douglas Comer and Mr. Jake Comer Collaborate with Governor Stevenson A. Joseph for Nan Madol Preservation

Kolonia, Pohnpei: February 15, 2024 — The distinguished father-and-son team of conservationists from Cultural Site Research and Management (CSRM), Dr. Douglas Comer and Mr. Jake Comer, have embarked on a significant visit to Pohnpei to collaborate with the FSM National Government, Pohnpei State Government and local authorities on the preservation and conservation of the historic Nan Madol.

Renowned for their unwavering commitment to the preservation of cultural heritage sites, the Comers have been actively involved in studying and safeguarding Nan Madol for many years. Their visit to Pohnpei includes a pivotal presentation on their groundbreaking findings at Nan Madol, utilizing Light Detection and Ranging (LIDAR) technology to unearth the intricacies of this architectural marvel.

During discussions with Governor Joseph, the management and conservation of Nan Madol took center stage. Dr. Comer emphasized the need for proactive measures to address challenges such as over-vegetation and siltation that pose threats to the site’s integrity. Dr. Comer referred to Nan Madol as “an incredible engineering feat,” underscoring its significance as a global cultural treasure.

The visionary proposal of creating a trust discussed between the Comers and Governor Joseph aims to foster collaborative efforts in securing funding and technical support for the ongoing preservation of Nan Madol. This initiative aligns with the shared goal of ensuring Nan Madol remains a beacon of cultural heritage for future generations of Pohnpeians and the world.

Governor Stevenson A. Joseph expressed his gratitude for the visit and the valuable insights provided by Dr. Comer and his son, acknowledging the crucial role of experts in uncovering and preserving Pohnpei’s rich cultural heritage. He remarked, “We have not fully realized some of the achievements” of our ancestors, highlighting the need for continued exploration and protection of Pohnpei’s historical sites.

Dr. Comer also shared the results of LIDAR mapping on Temwen, revealing vast agricultural fields and expressing a commitment to extending the search for other historical sites across Pohnpei using this advanced technology.

LIDAR, a remote sensing method utilizing pulsed laser technology, provides precise three-dimensional information about the Earth’s surface characteristics, enabling a deeper understanding of historical landscapes and aiding in effective conservation strategies.

The collaborative efforts of Dr. Douglas Comer, Mr. Jake Comer, and Governor Stevenson A. Joseph underscores a shared commitment to preserving and celebrating Pohnpei’s cultural heritage, setting an inspiring precedent for the sustainable conservation of historical sites worldwide.

Ms. Kukulynn Gallen, Chief of Pohnpei Tourism and Ms. Shirley-Ann Ligohr, Overseas Development Assistance Unit Coordinator joined Governor Joseph during the meeting.


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