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. Volume 1. Issue 2.
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 Material Information
Title: Straight from the VINE : the environmental & cultural education newsletter for the Virgin Islands community. Volume 1. Issue 2.
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: 2005
Subject: Caribbean   ( lcsh )
Spatial Coverage: North America -- United States Virgin Islands
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: CA01300656
Volume ID: VID00002
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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CS^*" Issue 2

Straight rom the ne Summer
V, 2005
The Environmental & Cultural E nation Newsletter for the Virgin Islands Commnunity

S How much is that light you left on adding to your electric bill?
Read this month's "Straight from the Vine" to find out!

St. Mary's Students Discover Jack and Isaacs Bay .

)n March 15, St. Mary's stu- further study and to seek *. _
lents from Ms. Georgine Inks' answers to questions at the
and 6 grade classes dis- on-site shelter and back at Anti-Litter
covered some of the beauty school. On this particular Beautification, St. Croix
ature has to offer on a Dis- walk, students came back to 0 Coral World
over Walk at Jack and Isaac the shelter with feathers,
3ays, along St. Croix's unde- rocks, and plant and animal 0 Island Resources
eloped East End. The Dis- specimens. Mr. Gideon, the Foundation
very Walk, a hands-on, conservancy's land steward, O The National Park Service
environmentall educational says he uses these initial ex- Virgin Islands NP
program led by The Nature aminations of natural 'found 0 The Nature Conservancy
onservancy's Richard objects' to introduce larger Students work to identify "found 0 USDA Natural Resources
Gideon, gives students the concepts such as watershed Conservation Service
hance to observe up-close management, biodiversity, found objects in larger systems. 0 St. Croix Environmental
he "wild" side of St. Croix as preservation versus conserva- "By tapping into students' curiosity Association
t looked before settlers and tion and endangered species. and letting them form the ques- 0 st. croix Landmarks
development arrived. Mr. Like any discovery these tions, we are not only giving them Society
ihdeon beginservancy's trips are only the beginning information, but also nurturing 0 University of the Virgin
through the conservancy's t es Suden ue their ability to examine the world Islands Cooperative
ack and Isaac Bays Preserve the process. Students use around them," said Gideon. Extension Service
it as a starting point for more
)y tapping into each stu- i University of the Virgin
went's natural curiosity, criti- in-depth learning," says Mr. For more information on Discov- Islands Globe Program
al thinking skills and a little Gideon. Emphasizing this ery Walks for your class or group, 0 US Fish & Wildlife
it of their sweat. In their point, Mr. Gideon followed call:
ouhour trip t the prr up on the walk by spending 0 VI Department of
he kids a re encouraged to a few hours at St. Mary's Mr. Richard Gideon Agriculture
collect fd noubjects for working with the students to The Nature Conservancy 0 VI Department of
ollectfound objectsexamine the role of their (340)773-5575 Planning & Natural
0 VI Environmental

What's The Scoop? It's No Mystery! ResurceStation
ilizabeth Ban, of UVI's Virgin "Mystery Creature" web con- 0 VI Marine Advisory Service
islands Marine Advisory Service test where people try to iden-c VI Resource Conservation
VIMAS) has started a regular tify some unusual marine & Development, Inc.
olumn, "Sea Scoop!" in the creature. She says she enjoys 0 West Indies Marine Animal
Virgin Island Source, an online her small corner of the inter- Research & Conservation
Th rll -mn n- n et "F\~or\nn in the nffirc Service, Inc.

swers people's questions about
the marine environment in an
accessible, easy-to-understand
manner. The column also in-
cludes a section called "Today's
Tip" and links to related online

L. v y I I II I I VIII
loves helping me with the
column or guessing what the
creature is. It's a lot of fun."
To read "Sea Scoop!", go to: and
click the "Environment" link.

This month's Sea Scoop! column ex-
p/ores the world of bioluminescent
marine creatures like this combjelly

Ms. Ban, in addition to writing To see this month's "Mystery Creature", go to:
the monthly column, has a creature.htm

Upcoming Events

0 June 5:
World Environment Day

0 July I I--August 5:
Summer Workshops,
Whim Museum






Straight from the Vine

Landmarks Society Sweetens St. Croix with Chocolate Workshops

The St.Croix Landmarks Society's Educa-
tion Outreach Program, with the spon-
sorship of the Prosser ICC Foundation,
Inc., is presenting several half-day parent/
child Chocolate Workshops at the Whim
Museum on St. Croix. In the workshops,
participants learn about the ecology of
cacao trees and watch a short video
about cacao production in Venezuela.
Real cacao seeds are passed out, and
participants try to peel them. Children
work with parents to grind up cacao
seeds using a variety of implements, then
use an Aztec recipe to make, and sample,
the drink first offered to Spanish explorer
Hernando Cortez by Aztec king Monte-
zuma. This drink includes annatto, ancho
chili peppers, and vanilla in addition to
cocoa powder and water.
Cortez took cacao seeds back to the
Spanish court in 1519, and for the next
100 years, only the Spanish knew how to
prepare chocolate. Since then, though,
chocolate has literally taken the world by
storm, with thousands of different recipes
and uses from bonbons to hot cocoa.

In the workshop, participants make a
chocolate drink the Spanish way, with
cinnamon and sugar. Groups of parents
and kids then prepare their own choco-
late fudge to snack on. The workshop
concludes with participants melting
chocolate and pouring it into molds, chill-
ing the molds, and popping out the fin-
ished chocolates to take home. Work-
shops are given on Saturday mornings
from 9:00 am until noon. The cost is $5
per person.

Fun Chocolate Facts

The cacao tree bears its flowers, and its
seed pods, on the trunk and main
branches of the tree, a characteristic
known as cauliflory.

Cacao flowers are pollinated by tiny flies
called midges that live in the leaf litter
underneath cacao trees.

A cacao pod is roughly the size of a pine-
apple. Each pod contains between 30 to
50 cacao seeds.

It takes about 12 cacao seeds to make I
ounce of dark chocolate, and about 4
seeds to make I ounce of milk chocolate.

Cacao seeds are bitter because they con-
tain the chemicals caffeine and theobro-

Cacao trees cannot grow well in the sun-
shine. Cacao plantations usually plant
cacao trees between taller trees called
mother of cocoa. The mother of cocoa
trees provide the shade needed by the
cacao trees to grow and reproduce.

The average American eats about 12
pounds of chocolate each year. Over
the course of a year, Americans spend
about $13 billion on chocolate
products! Not to be outdone, an
average Swiss eats a staggering 22
pounds of chocolate annually, more
than any other country on the planet!

Students Follow the Trail to Adventure

On March 2, The Evelyn Williams Eco-
Gecko Environmental Club celebrated
the opening of the Estate Adventure
Nature Trail on St. Croix with a ribbon
cutting followed by an exciting, fun-filled
hike led by UVI's Olasee Davis, the well-
known ecologist and nature writer.

Fifth grader Chedelle Antoine said the
trip was both fun and exciting because
we "got to exercise, learn about tropical
plants and see our tropical environment. I
learned about the fruit bat. I like the
plaques along the trail that tell you about
the animals, plants and trees. I learned
the fruit bat is 'nocturnal', which means it

only comes out at night." Jacquelyn De-
port liked learning about grey nickers.
Grey knickers, also called "burning stones",
heat up when rubbed together and are
used to play the African game Wari.

The club was organized in 2004 by library
media specialist Ms. Rosilie Allaire and Ms.
Dee Osinski of the VI Waste Management
Authority. This year, 15 4th-6th grade
students have been meeting weekly every
Wednesday at 12:30pm to learn about
environmental and cultural issues around
the Virgin Islands, and to participate in
environmental activities.

Life does t get much sweeter than this!

Mexicans use chocolate mostly as a drink
and a spice. They use chocolate to make
a sauce called mole. Mexicans do not eat
much chocolate as a candy.
Europeans consume a lot of chocolate
too. Of the 16 leading chocolate-
consuming nations of the world, 15 are
in Europe, with Switzerland leading the
pack. At number 9, the U.S. is the only
non-European country in the top 16.

Asians don't eat much chocolate. The
Chinese eat about I bar of chocolate for
every 1,000 chocolate bars eaten in Eng-

Although more than half of the world's
cacao is grown in Africa, most of it is ex-
ported. African nations are among the
lowest chocolate consumers in the world.

For more information on chocolate work-
shops, please contact:

Marilyn Chakroff
St. Croix Landmarks Society
(340) 772-0598


Evelyn Williams students begin their trip down
the Estate Adventure Nature Trail on St Croix..

To start an environmental club in your
school please contact:

Ms. Dee Osinski
VI Waste Management Authority
(340) 773-4489

Page 2

Volume 1

Have A Good Story or Picture? Share It Here At Straight from the 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 incomparable 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?

The Virgin Islands Network of Environ-
mental Educators (VINE) is looking for
original stories, news releases, lesson
plans, art, and photos from all around the
Virgin Islands. The environmental and
cultural newsletter is published season-
ally both on St. Croix and St. Thomas. If
you have a story or artistic piece to share,

please send it along to:

Liam Carr
University of the Virgin Islands
RR I Box 10,000
Kingshill, VI 00850-9781
(340) 692-4144
(340) 692-4047 (fax)

Be certain to include contact
information and return ad-
dress. VINE will make every
attempt to return all submis-
sions. VINE maintains editorial
oversight for grammar and
overall clarity.


Students from St Croix helped to make UVI's AgriFest tent a
rousing success with games like "MPA Fishing Derby" Have
a stoiy to share? Let all the Virgin Islands read it here in
Straight from the Vine.

St. Thomas Gives EPA and 'Pro-Enviro Fair' A Warm Island Welcome

The U.S. Environmental Protection
Agency (EPA) Virgin Islands Office cele-
brated Earth Month 2005, island-style,
with a series of fun public events high-
lighting environmental issues and educa-
tion on St. Thomas. In addition to the
usual Earth Day fare focused on involv-
ing school children and community
groups, this year also saw the EPA host-
ing the first 'Pro-Enviro Fair', a symposium
bringing together the territory's environ-
mental professionals and schoolchildren
to discuss solutions to the island's various
environmental concerns through educa-
tional initiatives and local action.

The Pro-Enviro Fair was held at the Ber-
tha C. Boschulte Middle School on Earth
Day, April 22. The theme for this year's
celebration was "Sustainable Green Build-
ing and Living Practices" with a focus in
the Virgin Islands on "Water Conserva-
tion and Energy Efficiency". These issues
carry a critical, and ever increasing signifi-
cance to the communities' daily experi-
ence, quality of life, and the territory's
economy. The EPA stated their goal in
convening this mini-fair was "to educate,
inform and excite our islands' youth and
community to the importance of sustain-
ing a healthy island environment." Ap-
proximately 250 students participated in
the fair from Bertha C. Boschulte and
Addelita Cancryn Junior High School.

There were a variety of presenters from
governmental and non-governmental
organizations, including The Department
of Planning and Natural Resources, The
University of the Virgin Islands Marine
Advisory Services, Friends of the National
Park, and the V.I. Water and Power Au-
thority. The presentations ranged from
displays, hands on activities and speakers,
to information packets that teachers and
parents could keep.

From all accounts and feedback received,
the kick-off of EPA's Ist Pro- Enviro Fair
was a huge success. The agency plans to
make this event an annual one, creating
a forum for highlighting environmental
and natural resource management issues
of interest to the Virgin Islands experi-
ence, to celebrate the people and meas-
ured progress achieved in those areas,
and to empower the youth to become
good stewards of an environmentally
sound Virgin Islands.

For More Information on Pro-Enviro Fair,
Earth Day materials, and other EPA pro-
grams in the Virgin Islands, please con-

Keshema Abramsen
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
(340) 7142233

Did you know that Earth Day has a
connection to St. Croix? St. Croix,
Wisconsin, that is. In 1963, at the
urging of Wisconsin senator Gaylord
Nelson, President Kennedy undertook
a largely ignored five-day, eleven-state
"National Tour of Conservation". Six
years later, inspired by the anti-war
protests known as "teach-ins", Senator
Nelson found the right vehicle to bring
environmental issues to the nation's
conscience-grassroots educational
demonstrations. His office released a
statement that in the spring of 1970,
there would be a nation-wide teach-in
on behalf of the environment. That
little teach-in became one of the great
environmental moments of the 20th
century, with nearly 20 million
volunteers around the country
participating that first spring. Within
months, Congress passed the Clean Air
Act and, in 1972, the Clean Water Act.
The Environmental Movement was
born. Thanks in large part to the ideas
and courage of a lone senator from
outside St. Croix, Wisconsin, who
understood the importance of
protecting the environment long
before it became a national issue.

Page 3

RC&D Supplements Classroom Texts
with Fun, Informative Materials

The Virgin Islands Resource Conservation
and Development Council, Inc. (VI RC&D)
is again offering environmental educa-
tion materials to students, teachers, and
parents in the Virgin islands. This year's
offerings deal with conservation of soils,
water, plants and animals. For the past
fours years, VI RC&D has endeavored to
provide environmental education materi-
als and information to both public and
private schools throughout the territory.
These publications are meant to supple-
ment classroom instructions.
The information is geared towards stu-
dents from grades 2-8, but can be easily
modified to suit other grade levels. Mate-
rials currently available include the fol-
* The Living Ocean Water Cycle
Poster Water: A Spash in Class Search
for Soil It All Starts with Soil Soi
Story Wonders of the Soil Habitat
Heroes Habitat Network How to
Plant A Tree Trees and Me Tree Lab *
Earth's Bright Future People and
Places: Neighbors with Nature Wendy
Water Coloring Book Sammy Soil
Coloring Book
For more information on VI RC&D pro-
grams or to pick up any of the materials
listed above, please contact:
Julie Wright
5030 Anchor Way Suite 2
Gallows Bay, Christiansted, VI 00820
(340) 692-9632

VI Energy Office to Unveil New Look, Website This Summer

After discussing the weather, especially
during hurricane season, one of the most
familiar and popular topics of conversa-
tion in the Virgin Islands is the cost of
electricity. While its well-known that the
U.S. Virgin Islands are home to some of
the highest electricity rates in the Carib-
bean, owing to the high cost of oil
needed for the oil-fired power plants at
Water and Power Authority (WAPA), very
few Virgin Islanders realize that they are
not powerless to accepting high electric-
ity bills. Thankfully, there is The Virgin
Islands Energy Office (VIEO), a division of
the Department of Planning and Natural
Resources. VIEO is at the frontline of
educating energy consumers throughout
the territory about energy conservation,
alternative and renewable energy
sources, and, most importantly to Virgin
islanders, lowering their WAPA bills
through wise consumption of electricity.

Through The Experience Energy pro-
gram, VIEO champions energy efficiency
and renewable energy technology. The
program, which highlights the realm of
possibilities of solar and wind power, has
been received warm receptions at school
and community events throughout the
islands. VIEO's Leila Muller says, "We
want to modify the every-day energy
behaviors of our audience so that they
become energy-wise consumers."

Additionally, VIEO is preparing to unveil a
new-look website. The website, which will
be online on June I, is full of information
packets, energy conservation tips, fun ac-
tivities, and useful facts for the energy-
conscious consumer.

For more information on VIEO's various
programs and educational materials, please

Leila Muller
Virgin Islands Energy Office
(340) 772-2616

Or visit their new website at:
http://www.vienergy. org

Did you know that leaving one
100- Watt bulb on in your house
while you're gone can end up
costing nearly $100 in unneeded
electric bills? Leaving one light on
in your house while you sleep or
while you're at school or work eats
up over 300 Kilowatt-hours (kWh)
each year. If you leave on your air
conditioner, you waste over
13,000 kWh. In a year, that's
nearly $3000 in extra electric bills.
Why not save some energy and
buy a $20 timer switch instead?

Seeking the Next Jacques Cousteau, VIMAS Turns to Virgin Islanders

In response to a territory-wide demand to
find more Virgin Island students to con-
sider marine careers, The Virgin Islands
Marine Advisory Service (VIMAS) has
begun a series of classroom presenta-
tions highlighting the exciting world of
working above and below the sea.
"There is a natural attraction to working
on the sea here in the Virgin Islands,"
says VIMAS' Liam Carr. 'Yet few students
know that there are number of options
aside of becoming a fisherman. What we
want to do is get excitement growing
here in the territory to address the new
generation of marine issues that we all
are facing. We have a strong tourist in-
dustry, vital commercial and recreational

fisheries, and a whole host of issues
which threaten their continued growth
and prosperity. Its absolutely vital for
the Virgin Islands community to identify
and develop some of their own to help
tackle these issues and lead the next
wave of economic growth and environ-
mental stewardship. That's where VI-
MAS comes in."
In addition to school classroom and
Career Day presentations, VIMAS has a
number of bulletins available highlight-
ing marine careers. "Its no longer just
marine biology," Carrjoked. Turning
serious, he added, "Marine organisms
and their unique chemical compounds
lead to novel medical and pharmaceuti-

cal advances. Oil and mineral companies have
turned their attention to off-shore drilling and
mining. The U.S. Navy and Coast Guard both
have increased roles in our nation's defense.
There's a tremendous diversity in the field.
And there's a need here in the Virgin Islands
for people with these skills, talents, and ener-
gies. Lawyers, scientists, resort managers, busi-
ness owners, dive masters, you name it. We
have a great career for you."
For more information on marine careers, call:
Liam Carr
(340) 692-4144
Or visit their website at:


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