Aug. 20, 2003 – There will be two celebrations in one on Sept. 27 when the St. Croix Environmental Association marks its 17th anniversary and SEA's V.I. ReLeaf holds its annual Arbor Day Victory Bash.
The event will take place at Frederiksted's Mount Victory Camp, and "it will be one big happy party," SEA's executive director, Bill Turner, says. The activities get under way at 11 a.m. and will continue until everybody goes home.
On the agenda are guided nature hikes and Jeep tours, demonstrations, tree planting, games and entertainment by Stanley and the Ten Sleepless Knights.
Turner said SEA projects planned for the coming year include kicking off a sea turtle awareness campaign in October to let the public know where the turtles nest, where they are likely to be spotted, and why they need to be protected.
"We have to consider them a very important resource," he said of the endangered species, noting that a green sea turtle and a leatherback turtle were recently killed on St. Croix.
SEA also will undertake a reforestation program at its Southgate Pond Nature Park. Turner said the park area lost lots of trees when Hurricane Hugo hit in 1989, and again when Hurricane Marilyn struck in 1995. Other factors that have contributed to the loss, he said, include an increase in the pond water temperature of 3 degrees over the last 100 years and a drop in rainfall.
Turner said that SEA's V.I. ReLeaf program will work with all of the stakeholders in the area on reforesting efforts. "The vegetation is beginning to come back, but we'll give it a boost," he said.
SEA meanwhile is looking for funding to build an interpretive center at the Barren Spot bat tower to explain the lives of the nocturnal creatures, he said.
The group will distribute an environmental curriculum to all of St. Croix's public and private elementary schools that's intended for use in grades 4 through 6. And it will be expanding the SEA Web site to add environmental education pages for students.
As another incentive to get young people involved environmentally, the organization now offers free memberships for students under age 17.
General admission tickets for the Sept. 27 celebration are $15 in advance and $20 at the gate. For children ages 3-12, they are $8 and $10, respectively. Children under 3 will be admitted free. Tickets are being sold at the SEA office in Gallows Bay.
To learn more about SEA programs and opportunities for getting involved, visit its Web site or call 773-1989.
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