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HomeNewsArchivesFriends of V.I. National Park Announce Seminar Series

Friends of V.I. National Park Announce Seminar Series

With the first of the Friends of V.I. National Park seminars slated for Jan. 2, now is the time to sign up.

“It’s your connection to the community and you’re connection to the park, and you’ll probably learn something you didn’t know,” Friends program manager Karen Jarvis said.

For tourists, Jarvis said they’re educational and much better than a “booze cruise,” meaning the typical day sail trip to the waters off St. John.

Space is limited in each seminar, and advance registration is required. Friends members receive a discount on the seminars.

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Here’s a list of the seminars offered this winter season.

Jan. 2, 5 to 8:30 p.m. Full Moon Hike. Naturalist Jenn Russ leads a hike to the top of Ram Head during the full moon. Meet at Salt Pond parking lot. Bring a snack, water, flashlight or headlamp, and wear hiking shoes. The fee is $35.

Jan. 11, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Pastels with Livy Hitchcock. Create tropical landscapes at Caneel Bay. Take Caneel Bay’s shuttle from the bus shelter to Turtle Bay veranda. Bring drinking water and wear old clothes. The fee is $85.

Jan. 16, 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 kayak/hike past Danish and British colonial forts and batteries, the Creque Marine railway ruins and Careening Cove. Meet at the dock in front of Hook, Line & Sinker Restaurant in Frenchtown, St. Thomas. Bring a towel, sunscreen, plenty of water/snacks, dry bag, and hiking shoes. The fee is $79.

Jan. 17, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tropical Garden Tour I. Tour both professionally and owner-designed islands gardens, learn how to incorporate tropical garden design, integrate native plants, and how to conserve water and soil in your own garden. Meet at the Friends of Park store in Mongoose Junction to carpool. Bring lunch, water and sunscreen. The fee is $65.

Jan. 21, 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Hike with the Super. Hike with park superintendent Brion FitzGerald along the Leinster Bay Trail. Meet at the park Visitors Center. Bring lunch, water, hat, and sunscreen. The fee is $50.

Jan. 25, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Kayak the Mangroves of Hurricane Hole. Kayak through Coral Reef National Monument, stopping along the way for a picnic lunch and to snorkel the mangroves and sea grass beds. Meet at Skinny Legs Restaurant to carpool. Bring lunch, water, snorkel gear, hat, sunscreen, and towel. The fee is $75.

Jan. 29, 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Explore the Shore. Join park ranger Laurel Brannick for a seashore walk of Mary’s Creek and Leinster Bay to observe numerous fish, crustaceans, corals, and more. Meet at Annaberg Plantation parking lot. Wear shoes to walk in the water. Bring water, lunch, water, towel, hat, and sunscreen. The fee is $35.

Jan. 31, 9:00 a.m. to noon. Advanced Caneel Hill – Margaret Hill Natural History Trek. Climb Caneel Hill and Margaret Hill summits with Gary Ray while gaining insights into the plant communities that live there. The trail gains more than 1,000 vertical feet in elevation, making this a trek for those in good physical shape. Meet at the Friends of the Park store in Mongoose Junction to carpool. Bring water, binoculars and notebook. The fee is $40.

Feb. 1, 12:45 to 4 p.m. St. Thomas Mangrove Lagoon/Cas Cay Kayak and Hike. Snorkel and kayak among the small islands of the Mangrove Lagoon Wildlife Sanctuary and Marine Reserve, hike to tidal pools, volcanic cliffs, and visit a rare geologic blow hole. Hike the deserted 15-acre Cas Cay, part of the territorial park system. Snorkel gear is provided. Meet at V.I. Ecotours in Mangrove Lagoon. Bring water, snack, towel, sunscreen, hat, and hiking shoes. The fee is $69.

Feb. 3, 5 to 8:30 p.m. Full Moon Hike. Hike to the top of Ram Head during the full moon to learn about the natural and cultural history of the area. Meet at Salt Pond parking lot. Wearing hiking shoes. Bring snack, water and a flashlight or headlamp. The fee is $35.

Feb. 5, 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 with park ranger Laurel Brannick. Meet at the park Visitors Center. Bring water, snack, binoculars, and a notebook. The fee is $65.

Feb. 8, 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. East End Kayak Tour. Join naturalist Jenn Russ for a guided kayak from Hansen Bay on St. John’s East End to Coral Reef National Monument, stopping for a guided snorkel of the mangroves and sea grass beds. Meet at Skinny Legs Restaurant to carpool to Hansen Bay. Bring lunch, water, swimsuit, water shoes, snorkel gear, sunscreen, and hat. The fee is $75.

Feb. 11, 12:30 to 2:30 p.m. Medicinal Herbs. Delroy “Ital” Anthony will showcase the natural benefits of native herbs found throughout the Caribbean. Sip on local beverages and experience the smells and tastes of many plants. Meet at St. John School of the Arts. Bring and notebook and pen. The fee is $45.

Feb. 15, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Pepper Sauce Making at Hansen Bay. Learn how to make the classic Caribbean condiment from start to finish. Workshop includes a tasting and a small spread of snacks. Round out the day with a swim and snorkel in Hansen Bay. Meet at Skinny Legs Restaurant to carpool to Hansen Bay. Bring lunch, water, notebook, pen, camera, swimsuit, towel, and optional snorkel gear. The fee is $65.

Feb. 18, 9:45 a.mm to 3 p.m. Archaeology by Sea. Discover St. John’s rich heritage as you travel by boat along the north shore of St. John with park archaeologist Ken Wild. Meet at the park Visitors Center dock. Bring lunch, water, hat, sunscreen, swimsuit, and towel. The fee is $75.

Feb. 19, 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Explore the Shore. Join park ranger Laurel Brannick for a seashore walk of Mary’s Creek and Leinster Bay to observe numerous fish, crustaceans and corals. Meet at Annaberg Plantation parking lot. Wear shoes for walking in the water. Bring lunch, water, towel, hat, and sunscreen. The fee is $35.

Feb. 21, 8:45 a.m. to 3 p.m. Coastal Ecology. Circumnavigate St. John aboard the motor vessel Low Key with the park’s former resource management chief Rafe Boulon to learn about the mangroves, sea grass beds, and coral reefs. Meet at the park Visitors Center. Bring lunch, water, sunscreen, and snorkel gear. The fee is $85.

Feb. 22, 1:45 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Booby Rock Snorkel/Sunset Sail. Sail the Mahiya, a 30-foot catamaran, to snorkel at Booby Rock before sailing around Ram Head Point for sunset. Water, ice, island drinks, and snacks are provided. Meet at Calabash Market on Route 107 outside Coral Bay to follow Capt. Karl to Johnson Bay. Bring snorkel gear, hat, towel, sunscreen, and snacks. The fee is $75.

Feb. 25, 12:45 to 2:45 p.m. Traditional Broom Making. Join local artisan Justin Todman for a hands-on class to make a traditional broom. Meet at St. John School of the Arts. The fee is $55.

Feb. 26, 1 to 5 p.m. Sea Turtle Sail. Sail aboard the Castaway Girl II to Buck Island, St. Thomas with the park’s natural resource manager Thomas Kelley to swim with the green and hawksbill turtles that live at Buck Island. Meet at the Charlotte Amalie waterfront across from the Greenhouse restaurant. Bring snack, water, sunscreen, hat, snorkel gear, and swimsuit. The fee is $75.

Feb. 27, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Botany Hike. Local botanist Eleanor Gibney will lead a botanical and historical hike through a variety of native vegetation and past the historic ruins. Hike is easy to moderate. Meet at Friends of the Park store. Bring lunch, water, sunscreen, hat, and hiking shoes. The fee is $55.

March 1, 8:45 a.m. to 3 p.m. Marine Biology Sail. Take a guided sail aboard the Calypso and snorkel through St. John’s reefs with park service marine biologist Jeff Miller. Meet at park Visitors Center dock flagpole. Bring lunch, water bottle, towel, and sunscreen. The fee is $95.

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

March 7, 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 true “off the grid” island living on Lovango Cay. Wear a bathing suit and hiking shoes. Meet at Friends of the Park store. Bring lunch, water, sunscreen, and hat. The fee is $65.

March 8, 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Paddleboard, Hike, and Snorkel. Discover the quiet East End with a hike from Hansen Bay through a private estate along the Wellington trail to the historic ruins and cemetery of the Lambertis family. Stand up paddleboard on glassy waters to Long Point and stop for a guided snorkel at Pelican Rock. Meet at Skinny Legs Restaurant to carpool. Bring lunch, water, swimsuit, water shoes, hiking shoes, towel, hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen. The fee is $70.

March 9, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Lameshur Bay/V. I. Environmental Resource Station Tour. The VIERS staff guides you on an historical walk around Lameshur Bay, including a short hike of the Yawzi Trail to the ruins of an 18th-century great house. Tour includes lunch and tour of the Tektite Underwater Habitat Museum. Meet at the Lameshur Bay parking lot. Bring notebook and water. The fee is $55.

March 11, 12:45 to 2:45 p.m. Traditional Broom Making. Join local artisan Justin Todman for a hands-on class to make a traditional broom from palm fronds. Meet at St. John School of the Arts. The fee is $55.

March 13, 9 a.m. to noon. Caneel Bay Kayak, Hike, and Snorkel Adventure. Kayak through turquoise waters, hike along scenic wooded trails, and snorkel over colorful coral reefs teeming with marine life. After your tour ends, enjoy complimentary snorkel gear, stand up paddleboards, kayaks, chairs, hammocks, and lockers for the rest of the afternoon at Caneel’s Honeymoon beach. Meet at the park Visitors Center. Bring lunch/snacks, water, towel, hat, and sun protection. The fee is $70.

March 14, 8:45 a.m. 3:00 p.m. Mangrove Snorkeling Boat Trip. Visit Otter Creek and Water Creek in Coral Reef National Monument’s Hurricane hole on board the motor vessel Low Key with marine ecologist Caroline Rogers. Meet at the park’s Visitors Center dock. Bring lunch, water, snorkel gear, towel, sunscreen, hat, and snack. The fee is $95.

March 15, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Pepper Sauce Making at Hansen Bay. Learn how to make the classic Caribbean condiment from start to finish. Workshop includes a tasting and a small spread of snacks. Round out the day with a swim/snorkel in Hansen Bay. Meet at Skinny Legs Restaurant to carpool to Hansen Bay. Bring lunch, water, notebook, pen, camera, swimsuit, towel, and optional snorkel gear. The fee is $65.

March 16, 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 park’s beauty. He’ll show you how to get the most out of your digital camera. Meet at the Friends of the Park store. Bring camera and manual, batteries, memory cards, water, and notebook. The fee is $55.

March 18, 12:30 to 2:30 p.m. Medicinal Herbs. Delroy “Ital” Anthony explores the natural benefits of native herbs found throughout the Caribbean. Sip on local beverages and experience the smells and tastes of the plants first-hand. Meet at St. John School of the Arts. Bring notebook and pen. The fee is $45.

March 25. 9:45 a.m. to 3 p.m. Archaeology by Sea Boat Trip. Discover St. John’s rich heritage on a boat trip along St. John’s north shore with park archaeologist Ken Wild. Bring a camera and bathing suit. Meet at the park Visitors Center dock. Bring lunch, water, hat, sunscreen, swimsuit, and towel. The fee is $75.

March 27, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Taino Pottery-Hand-building class. Local artist Gail Van de Bogurt shows participants how to make Taino style pottery. Meet at Pottery in Paradise, located just behind Pickles Deli on Rt. 107 in Coral Bay. Bring a snack and water. The fee is $65.

March 28, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.-Tropical Garden Tour II. Tour professionally- and owner- designed gardens to learn how to incorporate tropical garden design, integrate native plants, and conserve water and soil in a home garden. Meet at Friends of Park store in Mongoose Junction to carpool. Bring lunch, water and sunscreen. The fee is $65.

March 29, 9:45 a.m. to 1 p.m. Maho/Whistling Cay Kayak and Snorkel Adventure. A naturalist guide gives participants an up-close look at an area usually observed from afar. The ocean currents along this historic cay create snorkeling that is rich with soft corals and teaming with life. This trip is for intermediate and advanced snorkelers/kayakers. Meet at the Maho Bay Beach parking lot. Wear a swimsuit. Bring lunch, water, towel, hat, sunscreen and camera. The fee is $65.

April 1, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Hike with the Super. Join park Superintendent Brion FitzGerald on a 2.5-mile hike of the L’Esperance trail followed by a boat ride from Reef Bay back to Cruz Bay. The hike is moderately difficult and involves steep climbs in spots. Meet at the park Visitors Center. Bring lunch, water, hat, and sunscreen. The fee is $65.

April 2, 5 to 8:30 p.m. Full Moon Hike. Join naturalist Jenn Russ for a hike to the top of Ram Head during the full moon to explore the southernmost point of St. John. Learn about the natural and cultural history of this part of the island. Meet at Salt Pond parking lot. Bring snack, water, wear hiking shoes, and flashlight or headlamp. The fee is $35.

April 11, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Leinster Bay Guided Snorkel and Hike. Join snorkeler and naturalist Dave D’Alberto on a hike along the Leinster Bay Trail to Murphy’s Great House. Learn about 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 Plantation parking lot. Bring lunch, water, sunscreen, and snorkel gear. The fee is $50.

April 12, 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Lionfish Boat Adventure. A slideshow is followed by a snorkel and a search for lionfish. All proceeds go to fund lionfish eradication in the park. Meet at the park Visitors Center dock. Bring lunch, water, sunscreen, towel and snorkel gear. The fee is $65.

Sign up by calling the Friends office at 779-4940, via email at info@friendsvinp.org or in person at the Friends store in Mongoose Junction or the Friends office in Mongoose Junction.

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