Randall Michael Brown was born on April 18, 1954; he died on Aug. 27 in Maryland.
Randall Michael Brown, Virgin Islands Environmental Resource Station (VIERS) administrator and Clean Islands International (CII) executive director, died peacefully in his Maryland home, lovingly surrounded by his family on Aug. 27. He was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor known as glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) in April of 2015 but continued to influence his vision for VIERS, which he began in 1992 when CII was chosen to manage VIERS.
His love and commitment to experiential learning and the impact that a well-led environmental education has on the preservation and conservation of our natural habitats was contagious and enthusiastically embraced by those who experienced VIERS. Among his greatest achievements are the summer eco-camps and science camps for students from the Virgin Islands. Randy’s commitment and respect for the engaged learning of young people is often returned in the paths they take when they are grown. Those relationships have endured because Randy easily shared his love, his great humor and his warm gap-toothed smile.
Randy saw a need to revive the history of Tektite, an underwater sea lab for which the cabins we know as VIERS were constructed by Navy Seabees to serve as its base camp. The Tektite museum is a tribute to that time when the aquanauts were carefully studied to see the impact that confinement (living in an underwater habitat for 60 days) had on human physiology and psychology. Randy built relationships with those who were involved in Tektite and persuaded them to share their artifacts and other documents so that he could then create the living history of what has left a permanent influence on the sea and space programs after that era.
The many improvements at VIERS that he led volunteers and staff members to make served as a blueprint for energy conservation, water conservation and habitat preservation for many native species of plants and animals. During his time, grant funded projects made considerable improvements to the science lab and surrounding facility, and the installation of a long anticipated wastewater system was completed.
If the measure of a person’s time on this earth is by the number of people personally touched by their relationship with him, then Randy Brown’s cup overflows. He deeply loved his family, Tricia Hopkins and his three daughters: Liberty, Aviva and Serena. And he gave freely to others of his time, his knowledge and his passion for every project in both his personal life and in his professional good works.
A celebration of Randy’s life will be held at VIERS (near Little Lameshur, St. John) at 2 p.m., Sunday, Nov. 13. until the music, laughter and good stories dwindle. Please celebrate with his family and friends, and bring pot luck food and your stories to share with our wonderful community.
The family encourages donations to Clean Islands International (www.islands.org) or to the National Brain Tumor Association (www.braintumor.org) in his good name.