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Aug. 20, 2002 – An eight-day Turtle Fest is taking place at Coral World Marine Park, on the east end of St. Thomas, from Aug. 25 to Sept. 2.
The festival, announced by curator Donna Nemeth, is designed to provide information to children and adults who can have a positive impact on local wildlife. Coral World will do this using a variety of creative approaches: crafts, storytelling, educational displays, contests and videos.
"All three sea turtle species that live in the Virgin Islands are on the Endangered Species List," Nemeth said in a release. The three species are leatherback, hawksbill, and green turtle.
The celebration begins Sunday, Aug. 25, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Magens Bay. Coral World experts will set up shop along the shore with information, displays and posters.
During the week, aquarists will make presentations to hotel guests at Sapphire Beach Resort, Wyndham Sugar Bay, Renaissance Grand Beach Resort, Ritz-Carlton and Marriott Frenchman's Reef.
Thursday, Aug. 29, a wine and cheese party will be held on the Blue Water Terrace at the park, at 7 p.m. Rafe Boulon, from the National Park Service on St. John, will provide a slide show about turtle hazards, habits and habitats. Coral World aquarists will be on hand for special night tours and to answer questions. The cost is $10 for nonmembers and $5 for members, and all receipts will go to the Turtle Rehabilitation Program. Please call 775-1555 ext. 247 to reserve.
But the major celebration happens over the Labor Day weekend. The Turtle Fest, chockfull of activities and opportunities, will take place each day from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Blue Water Terrace area. Even the retail shops, Currents and Go Fish, are in on it. Any product that has a turtle on it is 15 percent off. This means everything from plush toys to sundresses to pendants, earrings, prints, books, magnets and hand-painted birdhouses, is on sale.
Last year a turtle hatchling was rescued from its nest on Buck Island and brought to Coral World. Guests will get a chance to name him. And if you are in the mood for a new look, there'll be face painting, turtle style. There will be videos of the recent leatherback hatching on Coki Beach and the subsequent release of hatchlings into the sea. A traveling turtle cart will display turtle models, carapace, skull and bones, posters, leatherback egg shells, and some information materials to take home. Following the oral tradition, stories about animals passed down from generation to generation will be told.
In honor of the turtles of the Virgin Islands, Coral World general manager Trudie Prior is reducing the Sunday admission to $1 throughout September.
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