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Tribute to Seaman continues
Tribute to Seaman continues
This last series tribute to George
A. Seaman will focus on a native
son who never lost sight of the Vir-
gin Islands environment. In his life
time, he received many distin-
guished awards for his work in the
field of ornithology. In 1988, the
Caribbean Ornithology Society
honored Seaman, which was held
on St. Croix, for his years of
defending St. Croix wildlife and its
Seaman was also recognized by
the Virgin Islands Legislature for his
writing and recently before he
passed away a medal of dedication,
honor and accomplishment was
given to him by Gov. Roy L Schnei-
der. Seaman also taught a class of
natural history of St. Croix at then
College of the Virgin Islands.
Throughout his life, Seaman always
said, "he never got to the first base"
with the Virgin Islands government
when it came to the protection of the
Seaman might not have got to
first base with the government, but
many of the recommendations in
his wildlife reports to the govern-
ment have come to pass. On St.
Croix, Sandy Point has become a
National Wildlife Refuge to protect
the endangered species sea turtles,
rare plants and birds.
Green Cay, off the coast of St.
Croix, was also set aside as a
national wildlife Refuge to protect
the St. Croix endangered species
ground lizard. This animal has
become extinct on st. Croix. On St.
Thomas, many cays around the
island have given special protection
because of its habitat to nesting
In 1973, the Virgin Islands Leg-
islature passed the Territorial Parks
Act to protect special areas of the
islands because of their biological
significance. To this day, no land
has been set aside to establish a
Territorial Park system within these
islands. The Virgin Islands hunting
laws are much stronger today than
during Seaman's tenure with the
Virgin Islands government.
During Seaman's life time, he had
seen the destruction of habitats such
as the Krause Lagoon, South Gate
pond, and so many other areas in the
Virgin Islands where wildlife once
thrive in an abundance. You see, very
few people understand as well as Sea-
man did what unplanned develop-
ment means to our islands resources.
Is it because we live in islands
and we are blind consciously to our
natural surrounding? Is it because
we do not care about the very thing
that support our islands economy the
environment? Or is it because we are
born with the instinct to destroy
rather than to give life of hope?
Before Seaman died, he said,
"slowly over the years and many
have passed the horrendous raping
of our most beautiful Virgin by the
smirking bearers of the Great
Wooden Horse called by them
Progress has left me no other
choice. I drive over our once "Gar-
den of the West Indies" and observe
neither garden nor hallowed island
under the sun.
Instead, I pitifully see belching
factories where there were living
marshes; cramped low-cost housing
where once great Red-necked
pigeons boomed their matutinal ora-
torios; the tracks and grinding roar
of that most destructive and insidi-
ous of all modern inventions; the
bulldozers gouging away the sancti-
ty of a once-hidden sandy coves for
the construction of a gigantic condo;
dried up guts that once were graced
with eels, fish and Royal Palms, but
now whose springs have been
sapped by deep wells and over
pumping of our fragile aquifer; our
old and historic estate and place
names gone with the wind of new
owners not satisfied with the ancient
beauty; narrow rutty roads; race
tracks for over population and the
inebriate; a new and over-burdened
infrastructure that cannot handle the
load placed upon it; noise, crime,
drugs. Must I continue this dire
litany? No. What is the use.
As Seaman got older, he became
bitter, sad with the destruction of our
islands environment. Seaman began
to spend most of his old age on the
Dutch island of Saba where life was
a much slower pace. It was here he
died and buried last month. Seaman
left behind a rich natural history in
his books for all Virgin Islanders.
Such books as "The Virgin
Islands Dictionary," a collection of
Cruzan definitions; "Sticks from the
Hawk's Nest," a series of nature
essays; "Not so Cat Walk," a book
of Crucian folk proverbs; "Sadly
Cries the Plover," a series of
poems; "Ay-Ay," an island almanac
of St. Croix; and the last book was
"Every Shadow is a Man."
Education Commissioner Liston
Davis, it would be great and should
be mandatory for every child in
school to read Seaman's books about
the natural history of these islands. It
is important, you see, for our chil-
dren to know, appreciate and under-
stand our rich environmental history.
They read about everybody else's
why not about ourselves.
Believe me, in doing this, Sea-
man's spirit will live on in many
generations to come.
Olasee Davis, who has a master
of science degree in range manage-
ment and forestry ecology, is a St.
Croix ecologist, activist and writer.