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Friends of Park Seminars Begin Next Month

The Friends of V.I. National Park’s annual seminar series begins Jan. 11. Seminars fill up fast so don’t procrastinate about signing up. Friends program manager Karen Jarvis said people have already signed up.

She said that for vacationers, the seminars are a great way to learn something about the park.

“For those who live here, it’s a great way to do the things you want to do with the experts,” she said.

To sign up, visit the Friends website at www.friendsvinp.org, call the Friends office at 779-4940, call the Friends store at 778-8700, or email seminars@friensvinp.org.

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Friends members get $10 off the seminar price.

Here’s a list of what’s offered.

Jan. 11, 10 a.m. to noon, Build Green. Learn about green building, traditional West Indian wooden cottages, landscaping with native vegetation, solar power, net metering, water conservation, composting, organic gardening and solar ovens with architect Doug White at his East End home. Meet at Skinny Legs Restaurant in Coral Bay to carpool. Bring notebook, building plans and ideas. The fee is $45.

Jan. 12, 12:30 to 2:30 p.m., Cruz Bay History: The Legacy of Julius von Rohr on St. John. Join historian David Knight for a tour of Cruz Bay’s historical streets with a focus on the life and legacy of one of the Danish West Indies’ most notable yet little-known historical figures, Crown Surveyor Julius Philip Benjamin von Rohr. Meet at the Friends store at Mongoose Junction. Bring a notebook and water. The fee is $45.

Jan. 15, 12:30 to 2:30 p.m., Native Arts and Crafts. Delroy “Ital” Anthony shares the tradition of the collection and creation of crafts made from materials found on St. John. Learn about historical uses of the many items that he continues to create in the same fashion as they have been created for generations. Meet at the St. John School of the Arts. The fee is $45.

Jan. 19, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Kayak the Mangroves of Hurricane Hole.Kayak with local scientist Barry Devine and Arawak Expeditions through the Coral Reef National Monument. Stop along the way to snorkel in the mangroves and sea grass beds. Meet at Skinny Legs Restaurant to carpool. Bring lunch, snorkel gear, water, towel, and sunscreen. The fee is $75.

Jan. 22, 12:30 to 2:30p.m., Medicinal Herbs. Delroy “Ital” Anthony explores the natural benefits of native herbs found throughout the Caribbean. Sip on local beverages to experience the smells and tastes of many of the plants first hand. Meet at the St. John School of the Arts. Bring a notebook. The fee is $45.

Jan. 24, 2 to 5 p.m.,Hassel Island Kayak and Hike. Kayak from Frenchtown, St. Thomas, to Hassel Island with V.I. Ecotours on a historical trip past Danish and British colonial ruins and Careening Cove. Once on land, hike past Fort Willoughby, a British fort from the Napoleonic era, and visit the Garrison House, the Creque Marine Railway and Shipley Battery or Cowell Battery. Meet at the dock in front of Hook, Line and Sinker Restaurant in Frenchtown, St. Thomas. Bring towel, sunscreen, water, snack, dry bag and hiking shoes. The fee is $79.

Jan. 25, 9 a.m. to noon, Native Plants of St. John Hike. Gary Ray will lead guests on a hiking tour of the Caneel Bay Trail to explore the unique terrain and enjoy interpretation of the native plants along the trail. Meet at the Friends of the Park Store in Mongoose Junction to carpool. Bring lunch, binoculars, notebook and water. The fee is $55.

Feb. 3, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., Birds of the Park. Tour St. John’s north shore by safari taxi, stopping along the way to view native and seasonal birds in their natural habitat. Park ranger Laurel Brannick will explain bird calls, mating seasons and the seasonal patterns of the birds found on the tour. Meet at the park Visitors Center. Bring snack, binoculars, notebook and water. The fee is $65.

Feb. 5, 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., Join park ranger Laurel Brannick for a seashore walk of Mary’s Creek and Leinster Bay to observe numerous fish, crustaceans, corals and more. Continue on for a snorkel/swim and picnic lunch at Waterlemon Cay. Meet at the park Visitors Center. Bring lunch, optional snorkel gear, binoculars and water. The fee is $65.

Feb. 8, 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., Lovango Sustainable Living and Design Tour. Local boat captain and solar design guru Dan Boyd leads a tour of true off-the-grid island living on Lovango Cay. Tour the Lovango Beach House and learn more about how residents of this island have learned to live off the island. Meet at Friends of the Park Store in Mongoose Junction. Bring sunscreen, hat, lunch, water and hiking shoes. The fee is $65.

Feb. 12, 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., Hike with the Super. Join V.I. National Park Superintendent Brion FitzGerald for a hike and picnic lunch to one of his favorite locations in the park. Meet at Park Visitors Center. Bring lunch, hat, water and sunscreen. The fee is $55.

Feb. 14, 6:30 to 8 p.m., Full Moon Drum Circle. Join master drummer Eddie Bruce for a night of ethnic drumming in celebration of the full moon. Learn about the history of the art of drumming and the ritual drumming techniques of both West African and Afro-Caribbean cultures. Meet at Annaberg Ruins. Bring a drum if you have one. The fee is $35.

Feb. 19, 12:30 to 2:30 p.m., Pepper Sauce Making. Learn the art of making your own hot sauce with popular pepper man Trinidad Charlie. He’ll teach you the process from pepper collection to seasoning the sauce. Meet at St. John School of the Arts. Bring a notebook. The fee is $45.

Feb. 26, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Archaeology by Sea Boat Trip. Discover St. John’s rich heritage on a boat trip along the north shore of St. John with park archaeologist Ken Wild. Using the real artifacts, explore the island’s first prehistoric people, the mysteries behind the petroglyphs, the age of piracy, the time when sugar was king and the rich maritime history of the islands. Bring a camera and bathing suit. Meet at the park Visitors Center. Bring lunch, hat, water and sunscreen. The fee is $75.

Feb. 27, 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., Sea Turtle Sail. Sail aboard the Castaway Girl II to Buck Island, St. Thomas, with park natural resource manager Thomas Kelley. Swim with the many green and hawksbill turtles that make Buck Island their home year round. Meet at the Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas, waterfront. Bring sunscreen, hat, snack, snorkel gear and swimsuit. The fee is $75.

Feb. 28, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.,Botany Hike. Local botanist Eleanor Gibney leads a botanical and historical hike through a variety of native vegetation and past the historic ruins. Enjoy views of the North Shore as you learn about the plants and history of the area. Meet at the Friends of the Park Store in Mongoose Junction. Bring sunscreen, hat, lunch, water and hiking shoes. The fee is $55.

March 1, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Tropical Garden Tour I. Tour various island gardens with local gardening enthusiast Irene Patton. Learn how to incorporate tropical garden design, how to integrate native plants and how to conserve water and soil in your own garden. Tour both professionally designed and owner-designed gardens. Meet at Friends of National Park Store in Mongoose Junction to carpool. Bring lunch, water and sunscreen. The fee is $65.

March 5, 1 to 3 p.m., Ethnic Drumming. Join master drummer Eddie Bruce for a class on ethnic drumming. Learn about the history of the art of drumming and the ritual drumming techniques of both West African and Afro-Caribbean cultures. Meet at St. John School of the Arts. Bring a drum if you have one. The fee is $35.

March 7, 9 a.m. to noon, Kayak, Hike, and Snorkel. Kayak with V.I .Ecotours through turquoise waters, hike along scenic wooded trails and snorkel over colorful coral reefs teeming with marine life. After your tour ends at noon, enjoy complimentary snorkel gear, stand up paddleboards, kayaks, chairs, hammocks and lockers for the rest of the afternoon at Honeymoon Beach. Meet at park Visitor Center. Tour ends at Caneel Bay Resort’s Honeymoon Beach, where taxis to Cruz Bay are available for $5. Bring lunch, snacks, water, towel and sun protection. The fee is $70.

March 8, Sat. 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., Lovango Sustainable Living and Design Tour. Local boat captain and solar design guru Dan Boyd takes you on a tour of off the grid island living on Lovango Cay. Tour the Lovango Beach House and learn more about how residents have learned to live off the island. Meet at Friends of the Park Store in Mongoose Junction. Bring sunscreen, hat, lunch, water and hiking shoes. The fee is $65.

March 9, 9 to 11 a.m., St. Thomas Historical Walking Tour. Explore the historical district of downtown Charlotte Amalie with local historian Felipe Ayala Jr. Tour the 99 Steps and other culturally significant areas, ending in a tour of the St. Thomas Historical Trust Museum. Meet at Blackbeards Castle. Bring a notebook and water. The fee is $45.

March 12, 12:30 to 2:30 p.m., Pepper Sauce Making. Learn the art of making your own hot sauce with popular pepper man Trinidad Charlie. He’ll teach you the process from pepper collection to seasoning your sauce. Meet at St. John School of the Arts. Bring a notebook. The fee is $45.

March 15, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Coastal Ecology. Circumnavigate St. John aboard the motor vessel Low Key with the park’s retired chief of resource management, Rafe Boulon, and learn about the mangroves, sea grass beds and coral reefs that fringe the island’s coastlines. Meet at the park Visitor Center. Bring lunch, water, sunscreen and snorkel gear. The fee is $85.

March 16, 5:30 to 8:30 p.m., Full Moon Hike. Hike to the top of Ram’s Head during the full moon while you explore the southernmost point of St. John with naturalist Dave D’Alberto. On the hike, you will learn about natural and cultural history. Meet at Salt Pond parking lot. Bring hiking shoes, flashlight, snack and water. The fee is $35.

March 19, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Lameshur Bay/V.I. Environmental Resource Station Tour. Join VIERS staff on a historical walk around Lameshur Bay starting at the sugar and bay rum mill ruins. Enjoy a short hike of the Yawzi Trail to the ruins of an 18th century great house. Cap off the trip with a visit to VIERS for lunch and a tour of the facility, including the famous Tektite Underwater Habitat Museum. Meet at Lameshur Bay parking lot. Bring and notebook and water. The fee is $55 and includes lunch.

March 23, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Marine Biology Sail.Enjoy a guided sail aboard the s/v Calypso and snorkel through the underwater treasures of St. John’s reefs with National Park Service marine biologist Jeff Miller. Possible destinations include Waterlemon Cay, Congo and Lovango Cays and Honeymoon Bay. Meet at the park Visitor Center dock. Bring lunch, snorkel gear, water bottle, towel and sunscreen. The fee is $95.

March 24, 8 a.m. to noon, Tropical Light Photography. Travel through the park with photographer Steve Simonsen as he shows you how to creatively capture the beauty of the park using the features available on digital cameras. Meet at Friends of the Park Store in Mongoose Junction. Bring camera and manual, batteries, memory cards, water and notebook. The fee is $55.

March 26, 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., Lionfish Boat Adventure. Lionfish expert Leslie Charpentier and park resource manager Thomas Kelley to show a slideshow about the adverse effect lionfish have on the reef populations. Head out on the m/v Sadie Sea to snorkel, search for lionfish, and watch a live capture. All proceeds go to fund Lionfish eradication in the park. Meet at Friends of the Park Store in Mongoose Junction. Bring: Lunch, water, sunscreen and snorkel gear. The fee is $95.

March 29, 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., Mangrove Snorkeling Boat Trip. Visit Otter Creek and Water Creek in V.I. Coral Reef National Monument’s Hurricane Hole on board the m/v Low Key with marine ecologist Caroline Rogers. Snorkel the mangroves in Hurricane Hole, an area with more types of corals than any other mangrove area in the Caribbean. Participants will receive a $5 discount off the purchase of Rogers’ books at the Friends Store. Meet at the park Visitor Center. Bring lunch, snorkel gear, towel, sunscreen and snack. The fee is $95.

April 2, 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., Hike with the Super. Join park Superintendent Brion FitzGerald for a hike and picnic lunch to one of his favorite locations in the park. Meet at the park Visitors Center. Bring lunch, hat, water and sunscreen. The fee is $55.

April 5, 9 a.m. to p.m., Explore and Photograph Leinster Bay. Join avid snorkeler and naturalist Dave D’Alberto as he leads a hike on the Leinster Bay Trail to Murphy’s Great House. See the native plants and historical highlights along the trail. The hike is followed by a guided snorkel and photography tour around the mature reefs of Waterlemon Cay. Meet at Annaberg parking lot. Bring lunch, water, sunscreen and snorkel gear. The fee is $45.

April 9, 2 to 4 p.m., Eco Spa Mud Bath. Rejuvenate your body and mind with a spa session. Bask in the cleansing mud of Salt Pond while learning about its healing mineral properties and those of other local organic spa materials from park ranger Deanna Somerville. Meet at the Salt Pond parking lot. Bring and old swimsuit, towel, water and snack. The fee is $45.

April 12, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tropical Garden Tour II.Tour various islands gardens with local gardening enthusiast Irene Patton. Learn how to incorporate tropical garden design, integrate native plants, and how to conserve water and soil in your own garden. Tour both professionally designed and owner designed gardens. Meet at Friends of Park Store in Mongoose Junction to carpool. Bringlunch, water and sunscreen. The fee is $65.

April 15, 5:30 to 8:30p.m.,Full Moon Hike. Hike to the top of Ram’s Head during the full moon while you explore the southernmost point of St. John with naturalist Dave D’Alberto. On your hike, learn about the fascinating natural and cultural history. Meet at Salt Pond parking lot. Bring hiking shoes, flashlight, snack and water. The fee is $35.

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