Group Title: Straight from the VINE : the environmental & cultural education newsletter for the Virgin Islands community
Title: Straight from the VINE : the environmental & cultural education newsletter for the Virgin Islands community. Vol. 2. No. 1.
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 Material Information
Title: Straight from the VINE : the environmental & cultural education newsletter for the Virgin Islands community. Vol. 2. No. 1.
Series Title: Straight from the VINE : the environmental & cultural education newsletter for the Virgin Islands community
Physical Description: Serial
Language: English
Creator: Virgin Island Network of Environmental Educators
Publisher: Virgin Island Network of Environmental Educators
Publication Date: 12/26/2006
Subject: Caribbean   ( lcsh )
Spatial Coverage: North America -- United States Virgin Islands
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: CA01300656
Volume ID: VID00004
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.


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Straight from the Vine

The Environmental & Cultural Education Newsletter for the Virgin Islands Community

S Who has 150% more coastline than all of Los Angeles County?
Read this month's "Straight from the Vine" to find out!


For a second year, VINE mem-
bers collaborated for a presen-
tation at the Quality Education
Standards in Teaching (QUEST)
workshop, held on both St.
Croix and St. Thomas this past
October. The hour-long pres-
entation, "Teaching All, Reach-
ing All Through VINE-Virgin
Islands Network of Environ-
mental Educators", highlighted
various environmental and
cultural programs being of-
fered by VINE members on St.
Croix, St. Thomas and St. John.
The VINE members shared
their expertise and enthusiasm
with teachers, describing the
various free classroom presen-
tations, fieldtrips and resources
that are available through the
VINE network.

VINE consists of environmental
educators, teachers, organiza-
... .. .. a

tions and persons promoting
effective stewardship of the
Virgin Islands, through envi-
ronmental and cultural edu-

Dr. William Coles, of DPNR's
Division of Fish and Wildlife,
moderated both this and last
year's presentations. From
the turnout and positive re-
sponses from teachers, he
says that VINE is uniquely
prepared to assist educators
in encouraging their students
to be proud of their islands'
resources. "We can't always
assume that the busy teacher
will come to you. That's why
VINE comes to them." Dr.
Coles also says that "VINE is
more than guest presenters
and field trips. We have a
wealth of materials that

teachers can use on their own.
We want to encourage sound en-
vironmental education by promot-
ing responsible resource use.
VINE is helping move that for-
ward, one teacher at a time."

For more information on the VINE
network or to arrange a school
visit for any environmental or cul-
tural event by a VINE member,
contact on St. Croix::

Dee Osinski
VI Waste Management Authority

On St. Thomas contact:

Elizabeth Ban
VI Marine Advisory Service

SEA's Mobile Learning Lab Makes Big Splash

With six months under his belt
driving his brightly-decorated
van all around St. Croix, Dan
Odell, Educational Coordinator
for the St. Croix Environmental
Association (SEA), has discov-
ered that more and more people
know that, when they see him
pull up to their school or fair
ground, they're in for a fun time
of learning science and environ-
mental stewardship with St.
Croix's most well-traveled natu-
ralist. After all, how many other
people drive a science labora-
tory to work each day? Says Mr.

Odell, "I think the kids get a
kick out of a van pulling up
and then all these micro-
scopes and butterfly nets and
water testing kits come out. It
gets them really excited for
what they're about to do. I'm
getting busier every day. And
I have VINE to thank for that.
SEA believes that VINE is a
step in the right direction for
protecting the environment.
The more cooperation we can
garner, the easier it will be for
all of us. The mobile learning
lab is a viable resource that

has had a tremendous re-
sponse from teachers, students,
and parents. The challenge
now is to get participation
more systemized and focused
so that every child on St. Croix
has an opportunity to explore
their island in a new and excit-
ing way. Its been tough at
times, but always fun."
For more information or to
schedule a visit, please contact:
Dan Odell
St. Croix Environmental Assoc.

Volume 2
Issue 1

Winter 2006

(INE is

O coral World
O Fort Frederik Museum
0 Hovensa, LLC
0 Island Resources
O The National Park Service
Virgin Islands NP
0 The Nature Conservancy
O USDA Natural Resources
Conservation Service
0 St. Croix Environmental
0 St. Croix Landmarks
0 University of the Virgin
Islands Cooperative
Extension Service
0 University of the Virgin
Islands Globe Program
0 US Fish &Wildlife
0 VI Department of
0 VI Department of
Planning & Natural
0 VI Environmental
Resource Station
0 VI Marine Advisory Service
0 VI Resource Conservation
& Development, Inc.
0 VI Waste Management

Upcoming Events

0 February 6-8: Ship tours of
OSV Bold

0 February 18-20: St. Croix
AgriFest 2006.

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Straight from the Vine

Introducing the Four R's To Students: Five Fun Classroom Activities

Did you know Reducing, Recycling, Reus-
ing and Rethinking are referred to as the 4

Here are some easy ways to introduce stu-
dents to the 4 R's. These fun ideas will help
reduce the amount of waste being dis-
posed of in our landfills. Introduce the
concept of the 4'R's before your classroom
activities such as library time, arts and
crafts and gardening activities.

Students may be unaware, that many of
their daily activities are already part of the
solution to reduce waste. By having open
discussions about waste reduction we are
raising the student's awareness about
waste management and the challenges
we need to address as an island commu-

Want a VINE member to jump start the
lesson? VI Waste Management Authority's
Dee Osinski is available for presentations
about waste management in the Virgin
Islands. For more information about her
programs, please contact:

Ms. Dee Osinski
Environmental Educator
VI Waste Management Authority

Five Simple Things That Can Make
A Difference: Using the Four R's

* Before going to the library, talk about
the importance of having libraries and
thousands of books available for everyone.
Open a discussion of how having a library
is a good example of the how the 4R's
work in reducing waste in the landfill.

* Rent a video or have students bring
one in for a Friday afternoon special event.
Discuss how renting or borrowing rather
than buying video's helps to reduce waste.

* Have a trading day or a flea market for
board, video games and CD's/DVD's. Use
this activity as a way to discuss the
importance of keeping these items out of
the waste stream.

* Start a box garden and compost
organic scrapes such as fruit and vegetable
scraps, grass clippings, and small branches.
Discuss the benefits of composting.

* Collect jars, milk cartons and other
materials to use for arts and crafts and
science fair projects. Discuss that reusing
items that would otherwise be discarded
and placed in the landfill gives the item a
new and renewed purpose.

Teaching students about how they can help
keep their islands clean through recycling is a
great classroom activity that helps build pride
in community and home.

Share Your Stories With VINE!
Have a great story from a beach cleanup?
Or maybe a poem about sea turtles? What
about a great photo of one of our incompa-
rable sunsets? Maybe you would like to
publicize an upcoming event? If so, why
not share it for all to read right here in
Straight from the Vine? If so, please send it
along to:

Liam Carr
University of the Virgin Islands
RR I Box 10,000
Kingshill, VI 00850-9781
692-4047 (fax)

Every effort to return original writings and
artwork will be made.

EPA Ocean Survey Vessel Set To Visit USVI

The United States Environmental Protec-
tion Agency's (EPA) Ocean Survey Vessel
(OSV) Bold is scheduled to make its inau-
gural visit to the territory this coming Feb-
ruary. While docked on St. Thomas on
February 6th, U. S. EPA, in conjunction
with the Department of Planning and
Natural Resources, will co-host media
events, ceremony, VIP tour, and an open-
ship event. This event begins at 8:00 am
and concludes at 5:00 pm. Similarly, while
docked on St. Croix on February 8th, a
media event and an open ship event will
also occur. Students will tour the ship be-

tween the hours of 9:00 am to 3:00 pm.
The public is welcome is visit the ship fol-
lowing the student tours, from 3:00 pm. to
5:00 pm.

For more information on the OSV Bold's
visit or to schedule a tour, please contact:

Ms. Kathleen M. Plaskett
Division of Environmental Protection

The U.S. EPA's OSV Bold is scheduled to visit the
territory this February, providing students with
tours of the ship, highlighting its work as a float-
ing science and oceanographic lab.

Page 2

Volume 2

Conservation Outreach Communities from USVI, BVI Join Forces

Representatives from Environmental and
Conservation outreach programs in the
USVI held a workshop with a group from
the British Virgin Islands to share ideas,
information and discuss their programs.
The October 7 workshop has started an
era of conservation outreach partnership
between the two territories that will help
build stronger programs for environmental
education in the Virgin Islands.

The USVI outreach representatives are
members of the Virgin Islands Network of
Environmental Educators (VINE) and in-
clude representatives from VI Department
of Planning and Natural Resources, The
University of the Virgin Islands, The Virgin
Islands National Park, VI Waste Manage-
ment Authority and The Nature Conser-

vancy. The group from the BVI included
primary and secondary school teachers,
and representatives from the BVI Na-
tional Parks Trust and BVI Department of
Conservation and Fisheries. The work-
shop also included a trip to Coral World.

The workshop was coordinated by Lee
Pagni, Conservation Education Specialist
at the San Diego Zoo and Elizabeth Ban,
Marine Advisor at UVI's VI Marine Advi-
sory Service and co-founder of VINE.
Travel costs for BVI educators were
funded through a grant from the World
Association of Zoos and Aquariums re-
ceived by the San Diego Zoo as part of a
program to help improve capacity for
conservation education with several of
our collaborators in the Caribbean.


various environmental and cultural groups at
a joint USVI-BVI meeting held on the St. Tho-
mas campus of the university.

WIMARCS, Others Encourage Budding Sea Turtle Biologists

The first Junior Sea Turtle Biologist Seminar
was conducted the week of July I Ih at
The Nature Conservancy in Little Princess
on the North side of St. Croix. The semi-
nar series was designed to educate local
grade and high school students (ages 12-
16) about the biology of turtles, and
threats to local sea turtle species. The
seminar also encouraged participation in
field research of sea turtle biology and
consideration of the field of Marine Biol-
ogy as a potential career.
The seminar was organized by Kemit
Amon Lewis, a St. Croix native, who is cur-
rently pursuing his Masters degree at Sa-
vannah State University, in Savannah
Georgia. Mr. Lewis recruited local sea tur-
tle biologists to speak on a variety of top-
ics. Speakers included Steve and Jeanne
Garner of WIMARCS, Amy Mackay of the
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, William Coles
of V.I. DPNR-Division of Fish and Wildlife,
along with Mr. Lewis. Topics included: ba-
sic biology, local concerns and conserva-
tion efforts, global concerns and conserva-
tion efforts, community efforts, and local
research and tagging programs. These
topics were addressed for all three main
nesting species of sea turtles on St. Croix,
including the critically endangered leather-
back, the endangered hawksbill, and
threatened green sea turtles. At the con-
clusion of the week long seminar, partici-
pants were treated to a barbecue at the

Frederiksted pool, followed by a hands-
on educational experience at Sandy Point
National Wildlife Refuge. While on the
refuge, the turtle experience culminated
with students witnessing first-hand the
hatching of a clutch of leatherback tur-
tles. The first Junior Sea Turtle Biologist
Seminar proved to be a great success in
educating and encouraging budding
biologists in the science of sea turtles.
Look for information on the 2006 sea
turtle seminar in the near future. This
seminar will be held close to the end of
the school year.
For more information on the 2006 Sea
Turtle Seminar, please contact:
Steve Garner
For information on other sea turtle pro-
grams available, please contact:
Dr. William Coles
DPNR-Division of Fish & Wildlife

A freshly emerged hatchling rests in the hands of a
WIMARCS biologist during the past sea turtle hatch-
ling season on St. Croix..

Did you know that leatherback sea
turtles, the world's largest turtle,
swims up to 1250 miles each year
just to reach to St. Croix's Sandy
Point to lay their eggs each year? In
June 2005, a female leatherback
crawled up the beachhead of Sandy
Point with research tags indicating
she was last observed laying eggs in

Page 3

Leatherbacks Make Return to St. Croix, See
Turtles Nesting Up Close

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is pleased to
announce that they will, once again, offer school
and youth groups the opportunity to visit Sandy
Point National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) during the
2006 leatherback sea turtle nesting season.
Since 1981, the United States Virgin Islands Divi-
sion of Fish and Wildlife (DPNR), has run a com-
prehensive study of the biology of the leather-
back sea turtles nesting on the beaches of Sandy
Point NWR. Education has been an important
component of the study since its inception.

Sandy Point NWR, as an important nesting site for
these endangered turtles, provides unique educa-
tional opportunities for the St. Croix community.
Every nesting season, hundreds of local students
and adults visit Sandy Point to witness both leath-
erback nesting and hatchling emergence. The
program, started in 1997 by the U.S. Fish and
Wildlife Service, plays an important role in the
conservation of the leatherback sea turtle.

Throughout the history of the Leatherback Re-
search Project, there has been a steady increase
in the number of turtles nesting each season.
The combination of nesting and hatchling turtles
created an opportunity for a visitor program
which would allow community members to see
turtles, while ensuring the protection of this glob-
ally endangered species.

The Sandy Point Sea Turtle Education Program
makes the community an integral part of the pro-
tection of sea turtles and their habitats. In doing
so, it fosters a conservation ethic which extends
to all aspects of the natural community. An edu-
cated and concerned public is our greatest ally
when it comes to the preservation of sites such as
Sandy Point. The visitor program shows visitors a
world they may never have seen before. This is
especially true of our local young people, since St.
Croix has no zoos or natural history museums.
For many of these children, this is their first op-
portunity to interact with a wild animal.
Since 1997, thousands of schoolchildren and lo-
cal adults have visited Sandy Point to see leather-
back sea turtles nesting. Beginning on 23 Janu-
ary, we will be accepting reservations from school
and youth groups for trips in April, May, June,
and July. Reservations are only accepted for
groups of 15 to 30 people at a time. Steve Gar-
ner, of WIMARCS, says people need to call early
to ensure a reservation. "It's a very, very popular
activity on the island. And every year, we have to
turn back classesjust because we're already full
and its only early February. Once you know you
want to see the turtles, call us!"

For more information or to make reservations,
please contact:
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

DPNR-Coastal Zone Division Holds Student Oceans Conference

Department of Planning and Natural
Resources, Coastal Zone Management
Division held its Second Annual Coastal
Zone Management Student Oceans
Conference "Caribbean Coastal Threats
and Protections, Our Oceans Here To-
day Gone Tomorrow" on December 6,
2005. Based on the feedback of con-
ference attendees, the event was a tre-
mendous success. The Conference pro-
vided a unique and exciting opportu-
nity for two students and teachers from
each senior high school and college
campus in the territory to attend the
conference and interact with and learn
first hand from the professionals that
they themselves might someday be-

The main focus of the conference was
on Coastal Zone problems and the pos-
sible solutions, which included present-
ers from University of the Virgin Islands
VIMAS, "Pollution Impacts on the
Ocean Environment" DPNR-Energy
office "New Energy Concepts Relating
to the Ocean", DPNR-Coastal Zone
Management "Legal Issues" and DPNR-
Environmental Protection "The Clean
Marina Program". The presentations
encouraged the students to empower
themselves with the tools to foster ma-
rine conservation with an emphasis on
protection and preservation of the
coastal resources in the Virgin Islands
and the Caribbean.

ing to include a commercial to stop pollu-
tion. Additionally, the students were
given the opportunity to meet peers who
are interested in marine science and con-
servation. It is the hope that they will
draw inspiration from what they have
learned, as they become the new leaders
of our marine environment and help
manage our coastal resources for the

For more information on school activities
and events sponsored by DPNR-CZM,
please contact:
Ms. Lillian Moolenaar
Division of Coastal Zone Management
Did you know that the U.S. Virgin
Islands have nearly 120 miles of

coastline? Compared to Los
Angeles County, which has 81 miles
of coastline in an area of 465

square miles, the USVI has 150%
more coast from only 135 square
miles of land. Its no wonder that

the U.S. Virgin Islands are so
intimately tied to their marine
environment. From fisheries to

Students participated in an afternoon major ports to world-class dive

breakout session with their peers to
prepare group presentations on one of
the topics presented in the morning.
Their presentations were very interest-

spots, the territory boasts
something for everyone, provided
they at least like the ocean!

Hawksbill Hatchlings Recuperate at Coral World

This season Coral World has had the privi-
lege to care for numerous Hawksbill hatch-
lings. Hatchlings are brought in by con-
cerned beachgoers who find them strug-
gling on the beach or getting tossed
around the surf zone. When the turtles
are brought in, measurements are taken to
allow biologists to monitor their health
while in Coral World's care. The average
weight of the hatchlings brought in is just
under half an ounce, or the same weight
as four chicken eggs. They are fed a diet
of sponges, algae, clam and fish. Once
the turtles appear healthy and are eating
and diving well, they are taken by boat
back into the ocean and released in a pro-
tective covering of sargassum or palm
fronds. After all, every hatchling released

is hope for more Hawksbills in the

For more information on the sea tur-
tle rehabilitation program and other
programs offered by Coral World,
please contact:
Thea Monsion
Coral World Ocean Park

Or visit their website at:

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