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CAMERA Visitors Truly 'Clicking' in V.I. Environment

Dec. 15, 2006 – St. Thomas is hosting some special visitors from Philadelphia this weekend. A total of 32 students from Overbook High School are on St. Thomas to join up with 60 10th- and 11th-grade students from Eudora Kean and Charlotte Amalie High Schools to participate in the CAMERA environmental stewardship program.
CAMERA, which stands for Caribbean American Mission for Education Research and Action, is an organization put together by Philadelphia-based Jim Baker through his contact with St. Thomas physician Dr. Katherine Kean.
"The goal is to motivate the students to become environmental stewards and to enlarge their world view," Baker said.
In April, the St. Thomas students went to Philadelphia. Baker said they're expected to visit again in May 2007. This is the second trip to St. Thomas for the Philadelphia students.
"We wanted to give students an opportunity to experience other environments," said Patricia Nathan, the V.I. Education Department's district director for curriculum assessment and technology.
The students arrived Thursday and will leave Monday.
Philadelphia student Terry Robinson, 16, said he found St. Thomas more beautiful this time than he did on his first trip.
"It opened my eyes more to what I could do to keep my world better," he said.
Philadelphia student Jean Bevins, 17, who is also on her second trip, said she likes everything about the Virgin Islands , but she especially likes the water and the palm trees.
"We don't have those in Philadelphia, you know," she said.
And she said that she likes helping out to keep the environment clean.
Nathan said that many of the Philadelphia students never saw a beach before their visit to St. Thomas. The visit included a kayaking excursion at the Lagoon, a trip to Coral World, as well as a visit to St. John .
"And they'll clean up a beach," Baker added.
The students are staying at Marriott Frenchman's Reef Beach Resort.
Baker said the program is funded by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
To date, the program has paid for 30 computers, equipment and materials at Charlotte Amalie. Plans are under way for the CAMERA program to begin a partnership with the marine industry program at Eudora Kean.
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