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HomeNewsArchivesPARK FRIENDS OFFERING 4 MONTHS OF OUTINGS

PARK FRIENDS OFFERING 4 MONTHS OF OUTINGS

Four months of informational, educational and, most of all, fun things to do on Saturdays (and three Sundays) await the public in programs being presented by the Friends of Virgin Islands National Park.
The series of lectures, demonstrations and field trips kicks off on Jan. 8 with "Biogeography of St. John," a guided snorkel tour, and continues through April 15, the second session on "Palm Weaving." Reservations are required, and group maximums are often filled well in advance. Here's the whole schedule:
Jan. 8, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. — "Biogeography of St. John," a snorkel tour guided by marine biologist Ginger Garrison that will focus on the ecology of plants and animals (including corals) that inhabit the area. Departure is from the Cinnamon Bay archeology lab. Fee $35. Group maximum 25. Snorkel gear not provided.
Jan. 15, 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m plus bus tour until 2 p.m. — "Water, Water Everywhere," a lecture and guided safari-bus tour of Coral Bay by economist Bernie Kemp looking at how the people of that dry and isolated part of St. John historically collected, conserved and used water. Departure is from Emmaus Moravian Church. Fee $20. Group maximum 15. For the bus tour, bring your own lunch or purchase traditional West Indian fare at Vie's Shack; go swimming for a $2.50 fee at private White Bay.
Jan. 22, 10 a.m. to noon — "Traditional West Indian Cooking," presented by V.I. National Park ranger Denise Georges at the Annaberg Plantation ruins. She will instruct participants in the preparation of fish, seasoned rice, fried plantains and johnnycakes using the traditional coal pot. Meet at Annaberg. Fee $25. Group maximum 12.
Jan. 29, 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. — "Palm Weaving," a demonstration of circular palm front circular weaving by Deanna Somerville, who will lead each participant to complete a hat. Meet at the Hawksnest Bay beach pavilion. Fee $25. Group maximum 6. Bring a small, sharp, non- serrated knife, a clothespin and a yard of string or dental floss.
Feb. 5, 9 a.m. to noon — "Archeology on St. John," a presentation by National Park Service archeologist Ken Wild of the most recent findings from ongoing excavations of Cinnamon Bay sites, including a slide show and a showing of artifacts not on public display. Meet at the Cinnamon Bay Archeology Lab. Fee $25. Group maximum 20.
Feb. 12, 8 to 11 a.m. — "Birdwatching Expedition," a birding tour led by park ranger and naturalist Laurel Brannick with stops at Trunk Bay, the Cinnamon Bay nature trail and Francis Bay. Transportation is provided. Meet at the Trunk Bay parking lot. Fee $30. Group maximum 25. Bring binoculars and insect repellant.
Feb. 19, 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. — "Coastal Ecology," an off-the-beaten-path boat excursion led by National Park Service instructor Rafe Boulon focusing on the diversity of mangrove lagoons, coral reefs, seagrass beds and beaches. Meet at the Visitor Center dock. Fee $45. Group maximum 25. Bring lunch, wading shoes and snorkel gear.
Feb. 26 — nothing scheduled.
March 4, 9 a.m. to noon — "Archeology on St. John." See Feb. 5 listing.
March 4, 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. plus bus tour until 2 p.m. — "St. John Baskets: A Window into the Culture," a lecture-demonstration and guided safari bus tour by arts and crafts economist Bernie Kemp, who will explore the various island basket-weaving traditions and how they contributed to the life and livelihood of the community. Meet at Emmaus Moravian Church. Fee $20. Group maximum 15. For the bus tour, bring your own lunch or purchase traditional West Indian fare at Vie's Shack; go swimming for a $2.50 fee at private White Bay.
March 5 (Sunday), 7:30 to 9 p.m. — "Stories in the Stars," a night walk on Peace Hill led by astro-mythologist M. Kelly Hunter, to identify the stars and constellations overhead and learn of the myths they have inspired in various cultures. Meet at the Peace Hill parking lot. Fee $20. Group maximum 30. Bring binoculars and flashlight.
March 11, 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. plus bus tour until 2 p.m. — "East End St. John: Stability Through Change," a lecture and guided safari bus tour by economist Bernie Kemp focusing on a stable, self-sufficient community that populated the island's isolated East End from 1799 to 1956, thriving despite major changes in the world beyond them. Meet at Emmaus Moravian Church. Fee $20. Group maximum 15. For the bus tour, bring your own lunch or purchase traditional West Indian fare at Vie's Shack; go swimming for a $2.50 fee at private White Bay.
March 18, 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. — "Glassblowing and Harmony," a guided tour of Harmony Studios at Maho Bay Camps by Jim Barefoot, the ecotourism resort's maintenance manager. He'll discuss sustainable development, recycling and solar power and show how glass is crushed and recycled on the site for use in creating glassblowing art. Meet at the Maho Bay Camps pavilion. Fee $20. Group maximum 20.
March 19 (Sunday), 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. — "A Plankton Adventure," a boat excursion led by naturalist and charter captain Lucy Portlock, who will first show participants how to make nets to collect plankton, then take them out in her boat to gather specimens from several areas, and then take them to the Biosphere Lab to look at it under a microscope. Departure is from the Visitor Center dock. Fee $60. Group maximum 6. Wear clothes suitable for getting wet.
March 25, 9 a.m. to noon — "Archeology on St. John." See Feb. 5 listing.
April 1, either 9 a.m. to noon or 12:30 to 3:30 p.m. — "Offshore Snorkel Trip," your choice of a morning or an afternoon of snorkeling at three sites accessible only by boat, led by marine naturalist Cathy Packo, owner of Sea Gypsy Charters. For experienced snorkelers only. Meet at the Caneel Bay dock. Fee $55. Group maximum 6. Bring snorkel gear, wet suit if desired, underwater camera.
April 2 (Sunday), 7:30 to 9 p.m — "Stories in the Stars." See March 5 listing.
April 8, 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. — "Bordeaux Botany Hike," a walking tour led by naturalist Eleanor Gibney through the island's upland forests to the top of Bordeaux Mountain, with a focus on plants including a federally endangered tree. Meet at the Visitor Center to carpool. Fee $25. Group maximum 25. Bring lunch and drinking water.
April 15, 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. — "Palm Weaving." See Jan. 29 listing.
Seminar fee proceeds go to support the work of the Friends of the Park. For reservations, call 779-4940. Payment may be made by Visa or MasterCard. For more information about the Friends of the Park, see its web page at www.friendsvinp.org.

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