National Park Series Includes Hikes, Sails and Drumming Lessons

Dec. 28, 2007 — The Friends of V.I. National Park's annual seminar series kicks off in January with lessons about sea life, environmentally friendly buildings, cooking, music, weaving and more.
"The seminars are fun and very educational," said Kristen Maize, the Friends program manager. The series provides a good way for new residents to get introduced to St. John and the park, as well as meet other St. John residents, she said.
People should sign up early, because seminars often fill long before the date of the event. The Friends are offering several new seminars this year, including a tour of several eco-friendly homes led by Doug White, architect and members of the Island Green Building Association. This is a way for the association to introduce its certification program for eco-friendly green-building practices, Maize said.
"It's a way to get practical information," she said.
Idola Scimeca will show participants how to crochet gorgeous woven bags out of plastic grocery bags. They're so lovely the Friends sell them in their Friends of the Park store in Mongoose Junction, Maize said.
Other new seminars include a tour of the park's archives, lessons in using pastels when painting and a hiking and snorkeling excursion at Yawzi Point in the Lameshur Bay area.
Friends members receive a discount that varies by seminar. Children under 12 are eligible for a 50-percent discount, except on boat trips.
A 50-percent cancellation fee applies if canceled within 48 hours of the seminar.
Here's a list of this year's seminars:
Reptile Hike
Jan. 16, 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Hike the Reef Bay Trail with reptile expert Renata Platenberg while searching for some of St. John's native reptiles. The trip includes a boat ride back to Cruz Bay. Meet at the park Visitor's Center. Bring lunch, water and sunscreen. The fee is $45. The maximum group size is 20.
Green Building House Tour
Jan.19, 10 a.m. to noon. Tour eco-friendly homes with St. John builder Doug White. He is one of the founders of the Island Green Building Association. Part of the proceeds go to support the organization. Meet at the Sun Dog Café in Mongoose Junction to carpool. The fee is $30. The maximum group size is 20.
Full Moon Hike
Jan. 23, 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Hike to the top of Ram Head and explore the southernmost point of St. John with Park Ranger Don Near. Learn about the fascinating natural and cultural history that exists there. Meet at the Salt Pond Trail parking area. Bring water, snack, bug repellent and flashlight or headlamp. The fee is $35. The maximum group size is 20.
Archeology Boat Trip I
Jan. 26, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Set a course through prehistory with park archaeologist Ken Wild while visiting St. John's shores by boat. Meet at the park Visitor's Center dock. Bring lunch, water, snorkel gear and sunscreen. Fee is $80. The maximum group size is 18.
Marine Biology Boat Trip I
Jan. 27, Sun, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Snorkel the underwater treasures of St. John's reefs with a park marine biologist aboard the power boat Cinnamon Bay. Meet at the park Visitor's Center dock. Bring lunch, snorkel gear and water. The fee is $80. The maximum group size is 27.
Beach Cat Adventure Sail
Jan. 30, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sail to Congo and Lovango cays aboard a Hobie Getaway to discover the history and ecology of the area from nature guide Han Winogrond. Meet at the Cruz Bay ferry dock. Bring snorkel gear, sunscreen, hat, water and lunch. The fee is $80. The maximum group size is eight.
Native Plant Hike
Feb. 2, 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Hike with Gary Ray, botanist and plant ecologist, on the Cinnamon Bay Trail to learn about St. John's rich and fascinating native plant communities. Meet at the Cinnamon Bay Campground amphitheater. Bring binoculars if you have them, water, lunch or a snack and bug repellent. The fee is $35. The maximum group size is 25.
Eco Weaving
Feb. 3, 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Learn to make woven bags from discarded plastic grocery bags with teacher and artist Idola Scimeca. Meet at the St. John School of the Arts. Bring scissors and crochet hooks if you have them. The fee is $30. Maximum group size 12.
Coastal Ecology
Feb. 9, 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Circumnavigate St. John with park Resource Management Chief Rafe Boulon to learn about the mangroves, seagrass beds and coral reefs that fringe the island's coastlines. Meet at the Visitor's Center dock. Bring lunch, water, wading shoes and snorkel gear. The fee is $80. Maximum group size is 30.
Afro-Caribbean Drumming
Feb.16 noon to 2 p.m. Join master drummer Eddie Bruce and learn basic entertainment and ritual drumming techniques of West African and Afro-Caribbean cultures. Meet at the St. John School of the Arts with a drum if you have one. The fee is $25. The maximum group size is 20.
A Glimpse into St. John's Past
Feb. 17, 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. Travel to back time with St. John native Guy Benjamin, 94, as he shares memories of his youth in the early 1900s when only a couple hundred homes existed on St. John and donkeys were still the mode of transportation. Meet at the Flamingo Club in Coral Bay. The fee is $30. The maximum group size is 15.
Archeology Boat Trip II
Feb. 23, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Set a course through prehistory with park archaeologist Ken Wild while visiting St. John's shores by boat. Meet at the park Visitor's Center dock. Bring lunch, water, snorkel gear and sunscreen. The fee is $80. The maximum group size is 18.
Pastels Workshop I
Feb. 24, 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Learn the technique of pastels as you create tropical landscapes at Caneel Bay under the instruction of St. John artist Livy Hitchcock. Art supplies are included. Meet at the Caneel Bay parking lot. Bring water and wear old clothes. The fee is $75. The maximum group size is six.
Seed Bead Jewelry
Feb. 27, 10 to noon. Join Park Ranger Deanna Somerville and learn to make necklaces out of seeds from local plants. Meet at T'ree Lizards Restaurant at Cinnamon Bay Campground. The fee is $30. The maximum group size is 20.
Kayak the Mangroves of Hurricane Hole
March 1, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Kayak with Arawak Expeditions through the Coral Reef National Monument, stopping to snorkel in the mangroves and seagrass beds. Meet at Skinny Legs Bar and Restaurant, Coral Bay, to carpool. Lunch is included. Bring snorkel gear, water and sunscreen. The fee is $75. The maximum group size is 12.
Botanical Hike
March 2, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Local botanist Eleanor Gibney will lead a botany hike on an old estate road through the recently preserved Estate Maho Bay. Explore this lush terrain and learn about St. John's native plants. Meet at the park's Visitor's Center to carpool. Bring binoculars if you have them, plenty of water, lunch or a snack and bug repellent. The fee is $35. The maximum group size is 25.
Stars and Their Stories
March 8, 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. Astrologer and mythologist Kelley Hunter guides you through the constellations of the night sky. Meet at the Peace Hill parking lot. Bring a flashlight, binoculars if you have them and a blanket. The fee is $25. The maximum group size is 30.
Pastels Workshop II
March 9, 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Learn the technique of pastels as you create tropical landscapes at Caneel Bay under the instruction of St. John artist Livy Hitchcock. Art supplies included. Meet at the Caneel Bay Resort parking lot. Bring water and wear old clothes. The fee is $75. The maximum group size is six.
Sea Turtle Sail
March 15, 12:45 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. Sail the Castaway Girl II to Buck Island, St. Thomas, with park ranger and turtle specialist, Christy Loomis and swim with the many green and hawksbill turtles that make Buck Island their home year round. Snorkel gear is included. Meet at the Charlotte Amalie Waterfront at 12:45 p.m. Bring sunscreen, hat and swimsuit. The fee is $60. The
maximum group size is 30.
Marine Biology Sail II
March 16, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Snorkel St. John's reefs with a park marine biologist aboard the catamaran Calypso. Snorkel gear included. Meet at the park's Visitor's Center dock. Bring lunch, sunscreen and water. The fee is $80. The maximum group size is 27.
Coral Reef Boat Tour
March 22, 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Snorkel areas along the North Shore with U.S. Geological Survey marine ecologist Caroline Rogers and learn about the corals found in St. John's waters. Meet at the park's Visitor's Center dock. Bring lunch, water, snorkel gear and sunscreen. The fee is $75. The maximum group size is 20.
Park Archive Tour and Slideshow
March 29, 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Join the park's museum curator, Susanna Pershern, on a private tour through the Park's archives stored in the Bally Building at the Biosphere Reserve. A slideshow of historic and rarely seen images follows. Meet at the park's Maintenance Division parking lot. The fee is $35. The maximum group size is eight.
A Day out East
April 5, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Join park ranger Laurel Brannick on a hike and snorkel off Yawzi Point, Lameshur Bay, followed by lunch at the V.I. Environmental Resource Station. Lunch is provided. Meet at VIERS. Bring a swimsuit, snorkel gear, sunscreen and hat. The fee is $45. The maximum group size is 20.
Snorkel Tour
April 9, 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Snorkel the reefs off Little Caneel Bay with snorkel guide Lucy Portlock to familiarize yourself with St. John's marine inhabitants. Meet at the Caneel Bay parking lot. Bring swim suit, snorkel gear and water. The fee is $35. The maximum group size is 10.
Traditional West Indian Cooking
April 6, 10 a.m. to noon. With the help of Joyce Sprauve you will learn hands-on how to prepare some traditional West Indians dishes, including roti, pate and johnny cake. Meet at the entrance to Julius E. Sprauve School in Cruz Bay. The fee is $30. The maximum group size is 15.
Garden Workshop
April 12, 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. Garden with Irene Patton to take part in a basic, hands-on gardening discussion on the pleasures and challenges of gardening in the semi-arid climate of St. John. Meet at Patton's home, but call the Friends for directions. Bring gloves, a hat, water and closed-toe shoes. The fee is $25. The maximum group size is $10.
Call 779-4940 or send an email to sign up. The Friends accept Visa, MasterCard and American Express credit cards.
Back Talk Share your reaction to this news with other Source readers. Please include headline, your name and city and state/country or island where you reside.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email