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Upcoming National Park Seminars Cover Nature, Culture and History

Dec. 6, 2006 — The annual Friends of V.I. National Park series kicks off Jan. 14, with program topics ranging from sea life to stars and steel drums.
"The seminars are a great way to learn more about the park and to learn different skills," said Kristin Maize, Friends program manager. The seminar series raises funds for the organization.
This year the offerings provide a focus on the island's cultural resources, Maize said.
"The focus is different every year," she said. "I try to come up with new ideas from people who attend."
Here's the lineup:
— Marine Biology Sail, 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Jan. 14. Sail St. John's waters aboard the catamaran Magic Carpet. A park marine biologist will be your guide. Meet at Maho Bay Camps pavilion and bring snorkel gear, sunscreen and water. Lunch is included in the $80 fee;
— Archeology Boat Trip, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Jan. 20 and Feb. 24. Visit St. John by boat to see some of the island's ruins and see artifacts not on public display. Park archaeologist Ken Wild leads the trip aboard the Hey Now. Meet at the park Visitor's Center dock with lunch, water, snorkel gear, and sunscreen. The fee is $80;
— Kayak Hurricane Hole, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Jan. 21. Learn about mangrove ecology and the history of Hurricane Hole on a trip through Coral Reef National Monument with University of the Virgin Islands scientist Barry Devine. Meet at Skinny Legs Bar and Restaurant in Coral Bay. Bring snorkel gear, water and sunscreen. Lunch is included in the $75 fee;
— Reptile Hike, 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Jan. 24. Hike down the Reef Bay Trail with reptile expert Renata Platenberg. Meet at the park's Visitor's Center with lunch, water and sunscreen. The $40 fee includes a boat trip back to Cruz Bay;
— Island Tea Time, 10 a.m. to noon Jan. 27 at Julius E. Sprauve School in Cruz Bay. Learn about the medicinal value and flavor of local plants while learning to make bush tea with Joyce Sprauve. Fee runs $30;
— Native Plant Hike, 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Jan. 28. Botanist Gary Ray leads the hike on the Caneel Hill trail. Meet at Caneel Hill trailhead near Mongoose Junction. Bring binoculars, water, lunch or a snack, sunscreen, and insect repellent. Fee is $35;
— Seed Bead Jewelry, 10 a.m. to noon Jan. 31 at T'ree Lizards Restaurant at Cinnamon Bay Campground. Park ranger Deanna Somerville shows participants how to make necklaces out of local plant seeds. Fee is $30;
— Botanical Hike, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Feb. 3. Botanist Eleanor Gibney leads a botany hike on Bordeaux Mountain. Meet at Chateau Bordeaux parking lot to carpool to the trailhead. Bring binoculars, water, lunch or a snack, sunscreen, and insect repellent. Fee is $35;
— Watercolor seminar, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Feb. 4 at Caneel Bay. Local artist Kat Sowa demonstrates how to paint tropical landscapes. Meet at the Caneel Bay Resort parking lot. Fee is $70;
— Steel Pan Lesson, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Feb. 7. Learn to play the steel pan with help from the Love City Pan Dragons. Meet at the Housing, Parks and Recreation building across from the fire station in Cruz Bay. Fee is $70;
— Coral Reef Research, 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Feb. 10. Snorkel St. John's shores with U.S. Geological Survey marine ecologist Caroline Rogers to learn why elkhorn coral is listed as threatened on the Endangered Species list. Meet at the park Visitor's Center dock with lunch, water, snorkel gear, and sunscreen. Fee is $70;
— Stars and their Stories, 7:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Feb. 17 at Peace Hill. Astrologer and mythologist Kelley Hunter guides participants through the night sky constellations. Meet at Peace Hill parking lot on the North Shore Road. Bring a flashlight, binoculars and a blanket. Fee is $25;
— Marine Biology Sail, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Feb. 25. Sail aboard the catamaran Calypso with a park marine biologist as the guide. Meet at the park Visitor's Center dock with lunch, sunscreen and water. Snorkel gear is included in the $80 fee;
— St. John Architecture, 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. March 3 and April 14. Visit several home and historic sites with architects Rob Crane or Michael Milne. Meet at Sun Dog Restaurant at Mongoose Junction shopping center to carpool. Fee is $30;
— Afro-Caribbean Drumming Workshop, noon to 2 p.m. March 10. Join drummer Eddie Bruce at St. John School of the Arts to learn entertainment and ritual drumming techniques. Bring a drum if you have one. The fee is $25;
— Language Melting Pot, 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. Linguist Gilbert Sprauve explores the Dutch Creole language once spoken in the Virgin Islands. Meet at Nazareth Lutheran Church Hall. Fee is $25;
— Oil Painting Seminar. 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. March 17. St. John artist Kat Sowa demonstrates oil painting techniques at Annaberg Plantation. Meet at the overlook. Fee is $85;
— Sea Turtle Sail, noon to 3 p.m. March 18. Sail Castaway Girl II to Buck Island off St. Thomas with park ranger and turtle specialist Sheri Caseau to swim with green and hawksbill turtles. Meet at the Charlotte Amalie Waterfront with sunscreen, hat and swimsuit. Fee is $60;
— Coastal Ecology, 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. March 24. Circumnavigate St. John aboard the Sadie Sea with the park's chief of resource management, Rafe Boulon, as your guide. Snorkel, wade and float in mangrove lagoons, coral reefs and seagrass beds. Meet at the park Visitor's Center dock with lunch, water, wading shoes, and snorkel gear. Fee is $80;
— Garden Workshop, 9 to 11 a.m. April 1. Discuss semi-arid gardening with St. John resident Irene Patton. Call Friends for direction's to Patton's home. Bring gloves, hat, water, and closed toe shoes. Fee is $25;
— Enduring Eloquence, 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. April 4. Meet at Hawksnest Bay's Oppenheimer Pavilion for an historical slide show by historian David Knight. Fee is $30;
— Donkey Stories, 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. April 7. Join educator Guy Benjamin at the Flamingo Club in Coral Bay to hear memories of his youth in the early 1900s, learn about the value of the donkey and take a ride in a donkey-drawn carriage. Fee is $35;
— Full Moon Hike to Ram Head, 6 to 8 p.m. April 18. Hike the island's southernmost point with park ranger Don Near to learn about the area's natural and cultural history. Meet at the Salt Pond parking lot with water, snack, insect repellent, and a flashlight or head lamp. Fee is $35;
— Salt Pond Ecology, 9 to 11 a.m. April 28. Hike Salt Pond trail with park ranger Deanna Somerville to learn about salt pond ecology and traditional methods of salt collection. Meet at the Salt Pond parking lot with lunch, sunscreen, water, and a hat. Fee is $30;
Many seminars fill fast, so anyone interested in participating should sign up now to reserve a spot. Call the Friends at 779-4940. Friends of the Park members get a discount of the listed seminar fees.
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