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. 2.
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 Material Information
Title: Straight from the VINE : the environmental & cultural education newsletter for the Virgin Islands community. Vol. 2. No. 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: 12/26/2006
Subject: Caribbean   ( lcsh )
Spatial Coverage: North America -- United States Virgin Islands
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: CA01300656
Volume ID: VID00005
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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Volume 2
Issue 2


Once again, the
Wildlife Service,
Department, wil
the nesting of L
refinery. Every/
migration, Least
St. Croix to nest
endangered bir(
can be seen aro
from May until t
their winter gro

Nests are found
in wide open nc
areas close to th
three eggs are u
each female. Be
and industrial ar
are used as nest
these small sea

...Just In
Spring brings th
sea turtle nestin
and the surroun
Although some
green and hawk
year round in th
there are distinc
for all three turtl
ing here. Leathf
first to begin the
erback activities
in February, witl
ing from April th
Leatherbacks pr
wide, sandy bea
Point. Sandy Po
Wildlife Refuge,
the height of tur

Straight from the Vine Spring2006

The Environmental & Cultural Education Newsletter for the Virgin Islands Coimnunity

Where do Least Terns spend their winters?
Read this month's "Straight from the Vine" to find out! ,

ered Least Terns Make Return Trip To Islands... VINE is

U. S. Fish and is an active nesting area for Least Terns are listed as an endan- \ y -4,"
in cooperation the Least Tern on St. gered species by the USVI Indige-
s Environmental Croix. The nests in the refin- nous and Endangered Species Act 0 Coral World
I be monitoring ery are usually concentrated of 1990 and are also protected Fort Frederik Museum
east Terns at the in the tank fields and in the under the federal Migratory Bird 0 Hovensa, LLC
April, after a long land farms. The nests are Treaty Act. This species was nearly 0 Island Resources
Terns return to marked by the Environmental hunted to extinction in the early 0 The National Park Service
and breed. The personnel with bright orange 1900's for their feathers, which Virgin Islands NP
d, and its nests, or pink flagging tape placed adorned women's hats. Disturbing 0 The Nature Conservancy
und the refinery on opposite sides of a nest. nesting habitat is currently the 0 The Ocean Conservancy
hey depart for HOVENSA sends a notice to main reason for the low Least Tern 0 St. Croix Environmental
funds in August. all employees informing them population. These disturbances by Association

on the ground to avoid driving or walking humans, as well as predators like 0 USDA Natural Resources
o tConservation Service
nn-vegetated through or close to the areas mongoose or dogs, keep birds off 0 UVI Cooperative
e sea. One to flagged with such tape. This nests, preventing them from incu- Extension Service
usually laid by year the HOVENSA Environ- bating eggs or attending young. 0 uVI Globe Program
_aches, salt flats, mental Department is hoping The development of the shoreline 0 UVI Virgin Islands Marine
eas on St. Croix to see for over 100 pairs of for recreation has limited the num- Advisory Service
ing sites for nesting birds throughout the ber of suitable sites available for 0 us Fish & Wildlife
birds. HOVENSA refinery. nesting by Least Terns. 0 VI Department of
V VI Department of
Time To Meet Up With Nesting Sea Turtles Planning & Natural
e official start of son to protect the vulnerable grape trees. Their nesting grounds 0 VI Environmental
g on St. Croix nests and hatchlings. Most on Buck Island are world-famous. Resource Station
ding islands. impressive of the returning Local school groups and commu 0 VI EPSCoR
species, such as sea turtles, the critically en- nity organizations interested in at 0 VI Resource Conservatior
ksbill turtles nest dangered leatherback is the tending the Turtle Watch program & Development, Inc.
e Virgin Islands, largest sea turtle, weighing at Sandy Point should contact: Management
t high seasons from 600-800 pounds. Then, Authority
e species nest- from August to October, fed- U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 0 West Indies Marine
Animal Research &
erbacks are the erally threatened 200-300 (340) 772-4554 Conservation Service, Inc.

love-in. Leath-
generally begin
h extensive nest-
rough August.
efer to nest on
ches like Sandy
int, a National
is closed during
rtle nesting sea-

pound green sea turtles will
nest on the cobblestone
beaches of Jack and Isaacs
Bay. The endangered hawks-
bill, the smallest of local sea
turtles, nest over the late sum-
mer months on many types of
beaches, building their nests
under manchineel and sea

Successful nesting seasons are vital
to the recovery of our local sea tur-
tle populations. USFWS urges the
public to please let them nest,
hatch, and live in peace. As a re-
minder, it is a federal offense to dis-
turb sea turtles, collect their eggs,
harm or kill sea turtles.

Upcoming Events
March 26: Shell-A-Bration,
Rainbow Beach, St. Croix

April 20-21: EcoFair, St.
George Village Botanical

Straight from the Vine

Paper Versus Plastic: Is Either Better For Our Island?

Hey, it's human nature and a lot easier to
automatically make a decision without fact
finding. For instance, I presumed that the
use of plastic bags was much worse for the
environment than the use of paper bags.
Why? Because I have heard that outcry
from my friends, my family and probably a
talk show host or two. After a bit of re-
search, I can now make a more informed
decision about Plastic vs. Paper. Let's look
at some facts about paper production and

* It takes four times the amount of energy to
produce a paper bag than a plastic bag.

In the case of wood, you have to cut down
a whole lot of trees using heavy machinery,
turn the wood into pulp by using thou-
sands of gallons of water, all requiring the
use of electricity, chemicals and fossil fuels.
When recycling paper, again thousands of
gallons of water are used and the costs are
high for both labor and the mechanical op-
eration of the recycling facilities. The waste-
water can be extremely harmful to our eco-

* Eightplastic bags can be made from 1 gal-
lon of oil.

While this sounds like a environmentally-
friendly balance, let's look at plastic produc-
tion and recycling. It's estimated that nearly
12 million barrels of oil are required to make
the 100 million plastic shopping bags.
Translated worldwide, over 60 billions of oil
are needed to make the I trillion plastic

bags that are consumed each year, ac-
cording to, a website
launched to educate the public about
the true costs associated with the use of
disposable bags.

* Compared to paper bags, plastic bags
are more efficiently made, easily recycled,
and take up less landfill space

If it is recycled. Currently, the Virgin Is-
lands do not have a formal recycling pro-
gram, instead relying on individuals ei-
ther reuse their bags or to dispose of
them properly. When it is not recycled,
plastic bags pollute our lands and waters.
They are a very real threat to wildlife as
well, especially sea turtles and shore
birds, who mistake the bags as food or
become tangled in it.

SThere's a third opton to plastc or pa-
per Canvas Bags.

Since the Virgin Islands are currently
poorly-equipped to reuse or recycle plas-
tic and paper bags, and are facing the
closure of over-full landfills, plastic bags
all too often end up as unsightly litter or
marine debris strangling birds and sea

So, when the clerk at the grocery store
says: Plastic or Paper? I now know that
both plastic and paper use up our pre-
cious natural resources at different rates.
Maybe it is time to consider something
truly reusable: canvas bags.

Why not use canvas bags at the store to help
keep our islands litter-free and beautiful? Mini-
mizing your amount of waste is a great way to
showyou love your island home. And its been
shown to help out your pocketbook too!

EPA Mark 35 Years, Plant
Trees At St. John School
As part of EPA's celebrating 35 years of
work in the Caribbean, activities in the
Virgin Islands included a symbolic plant-
ing of 3 Lignum Vitae trees on the newly
constructed high school campus of The St.
John School, at Gift Hill, St. John. Lignum
Vitae means tree of life", and the plant-
ing represents a commitment by The St.
John School to re-vegetate and bring life
back to the campus grounds, which
shares borders with the Virgin Islands Na-
tional Park of St. John. EPA chose the
ceremony to positively influence the edu-
cation of students and to encourage the
St. John community to become partners
in maintaining a sustainable environment
in the Virgin Islands. Attendees made
pledges to recommit themselves to envi-
ronmental protection and conservation in
the Virgin Islands.

Students Visit OSVBold, Learn About St. Croix's Coral Reefs

On February 8, over 300 students from
seven St. Croix schools, along with more
than 100 interested members of the public,
were welcomed aboard the United States
Environmental Protection Agency's Ocean
Survey Vessel Bold. The students learned
about the history of the Bold, its parts and
functions, and the responsibilities of the
scientists, captains, divers, cooks and other
personnel on board. The Bold visited the
territory for three weeks, including a week-
long stay at St. Thomas, welcoming over
500 individuals including Governor Charles
W. Turnbull. The Boldis supporting DPNR's

water quality and marine resource monitor-
ing of coral reefs. Monitoring is important
in protecting both the reef and those who
rely on it for work, food, and play. As the
students discovered, learning can happen
outside the classroom. Even on a ship!

For more information on educational activi-
ties sponsored by DPNR, please contact:

Kathleen M. Plaskett
Education & Grant Specialist
DPNR- Environmental Protection
(340) 773-1082

St. Croix elementary students listen on the back
deck of the OSV Bold to research scientists dur-
ing the EPA ship's visit to the territory. The Bold,
once a spy ship, was visiting the Virgin Islands to
assist DPNR in monitoring coral reefs.

Page 2

. .

Volume 2 Page 3

Environmental Observances In March Begin Build Up To Earth Day 2006

In anticipation of Earth Day 2006, celebrated
every April 20, March welcomes Nonpoint
Source Pollution Month, Ground Water
Awareness Week, and Poison Awareness

As part of the campaigns, DPNR's Division of
Environmental Protection would like to
heighten the Virgin Islands community's
awareness about Nonpoint Source Pollution,
Ground Water, Poisons and Pesticides.

What is Nonpoint Source Pollution? The
State of the Environment, United States Vir-
gin Islands explains that nonpoint source
pollution (NPS) results from the action of
rainfall running over and through land, pick-
ing up natural and human-made pollutants
and carrying them to our coastal waters.
How can individuals help to prevent NPS?
DPNR-DEP offers the following tips:

* Keep litter, pet wastes, leaves and debris
out of street gutters and storm drains.
* Protect wells and surface waters by apply-
ing lawn and garden chemicals only accord-
ing to directions.
* Dispose of used oil, antifreeze, paints and
other household chemicals properly,
not in storm drains.
* Clean up spilled brake fluid, oil, grease and
antifreeze rather than hosing them into the
* Control soil erosion on your property by
planting ground cover and stabilizing ero-
sion-prone areas.
* Have your septic system inspected and
pumped at least every 2 years.
* Reduce the amount of nutrients released
into our waters by using low-phosphorous
detergents and cleaners.
* Reduce soil erosion and by using conserva-
tion practices and other applicable best man-
agement practices.

This year's National Ground Water Aware-
ness Week is themed, "Schedule Your Water
Well Checkup" and will be celebrated from
March 16 to 22. Ground water is a limited
yet extremely valuable and renewable re-
source. DPNR-DEP urges Virgin Islanders to
conserve and protect their ground waters.
Ground water, extracted from wells, has long
been an integral part of Virgin Island's life.

Today, ground water accounts for 30% of
the water supply and has provided up to
100% of the public's potable water sup-
ply after major disasters such as Hurri-
cane Hugo. DPNR-DEP's Harold Mark
urges the public to protect this precious
resource by following these suggestions:

* Don't dispose of hazardous waste sub-
stances by dumping them in or on the
* Don't pour hazardous substances into
drains or sewers.
* Don't over apply pesticides, herbicides
and fertilizers.
* When handling hazardous substances,
do so over cement to avoid ground water
infiltration or runoff into surface water
from accidental spills.
* Have your water well tested yearly.
* Have your septic system cleaned and
serviced every 2 years.

Determined to cut down the number of
accidental poisonings involving children,
the DPNR-DEP's Pesticide Control Pro-
gram acknowledges March 19-25 as Na-
tional Poison Awareness Week. This
year's theme is "Children Act Fast... So
Do Poisons!" As part of the campaign,
DPNR-DEP's Pesticide Coordinator Nevlin
Williams will make several Poison Aware-
ness presentations to selected schools
around St. Croix. Along with these pres-
entations, he shares these tips to protect
children from pesticide and lead poison-

* Always store pesticides and other
household chemicals out of children's
* Always read the product label first. Pesti-
cide products, household cleaning prod-
ucts, and pet products can be dangerous
or ineffective if too much or too little is
* Before applying pesticides or other
household chemicals, remove children
and their toys as well as pets from the
area. Keep children and pets away until
the pesticide has dried or as long as rec-
ommended on the label.
* Always ensure that pesticide containers
are completely closed.

* Never transfer pesticides from their origi-
nal containers to other containers for stor-
* When applying insect repellents to chil-
dren, read all directions first. Do not apply
over cuts, wounds, or irritated skin. Do not
apply to eyes, mouth, hands, or directly on
the face. Use only enough to cover ex-
posed skin or clothing. Never spray onto
any skin covered by clothing.
* Have your home tested for lead if it was
built before 1978 and you plan to remodel
or renovate it.
* Ask about lead when buying or renting.
SGet your child tested for lead.
SKeep children's hands, toys, and bottles

During March, DPNR-DEP will set up an
educational display to provide additional
information and educational activities on
these topics at the Athalie MacFarlane Li-
brary in Frederiksted and the Florence Wil-
liams Library in Christiansted.

Join WIMARCS For A Turtle
On March 26, from noon until 7pm, the West
Indies Marine Animal Research and Conser-
vation Service will host the inaugural "Sea
Turtle Shellabration" at Rhythms at Rainbow
Beach. This family-friendly event will kick off
the beginning of turtle nesting season with a
celebration of everything sea turtle-related.
Posters, videos, brochures, and more will
help the community better understand the
vital role sea turtles play in our oceans, and
how to protect and conserve them for future
generations. Topics include sea turtle biol-
ogy, the dangers of street lights to hatch-
lings, sea turtle research, and the STAR net-
work for sick and injured sea turtles. Local
sea turtle biologists and scientists will be on
hand to answer questions and "talk turtle"!
There will be music, T-shirts, games, raffles,
prizes, and turtle trivia. All proceeds will
benefit WIMARCS research and conservation

For more information on WIMARCS and Sea
Turtle Shellabration, please contact:

Steve Garner
(340) 772-1382

VI EPSCoR Announces 2006 Incubator VINE, SEA Readies Volunteers For
Grants Competition EcoFair, Earth Day 2006

The Virgin Islands Experimental Program
to Stimulate Competitive Research (VI-
EPSCoR) is offering incubator grants for
new research on the Bio-complexity of Car-
ibbean Coral Reefs. The grants can support
pilot research, proposal development, and
other activities to advance research to the
point at which it can attract major funding.
Proposals for the 2006 grants competition
are due by March 15, 2006. Preference
will be given to proposals that include evi-
dence of:

* Relevance to the BCCR research thrust
* Interdisciplinary collaboration
* Collaboration between university re-
searchers and local organizations
* Undergraduate research opportunities
* Potential for economic impact and spill-
Potential to attract competitive funding

An incubator grant can be funded up to
$25,000. Successful proposals will be an-
nounced on April 3, 2006. Project funding
will be available immediately.

For more information, please visit the VI-
EPSCoR website at:

or contact:

Meri Whitaker
Project Co-Director
(340) 693-1478

USDA Seeks To Donate Computers
To St. Croix Schools

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's St.
Croix offices are seeking to donate the fol-
lowing computer equipment to eligible
Virgin Islands learning institutions:

* I Windows NT Desktop Compaq Desk-
pro E FY98 CCEOO I

* I Windows NT Laptop Dell Latitudes
Cpi266XT FY98-CCE002

For local educational institutions to be eli-
gible to receive USDA computer equip-
ment, they must demonstrate, in writing,
to the USDA that they meet all of the fol-
lowing criteria:

As part of St. Croix's Earth Day 2006 cele-
brations, the St. Croix Environmental Asso-
ciation, along with many member agencies
of the VINE Network will participate in the
annual EcoFair, to be held at St. George
Village Botanical Gardens on April 20 and
21. On the 20th, third and fourth graders
will make their way around to a number of
fun, interactive activities, learning about
importance of a happy, healthy St. Croix.
On the 21st, it will be the fifth and sixth
graders turns.

For the past thirteen years, SEA has been
the lead organization in sponsoring the
Eco-Fair to coincide with annual Earth Day
celebrations held around the world. At the
EcoFair, various government agencies and
private organizations from all over the is-
land give presentations, offer garden tours
of the St George grounds and give kids up
to date information about how they can
make St. Croix a cleaner and healthier place
to call home. The two day fair expects to
receive over 1000 students from the public
and private schools on the island. Funding
for the Fair has traditionally come from the
VI Waste Management Authority.

For more information on EcoFair 2006,
please contact:

Dan Odell
Education Coordinator
(340) 773-1989

* The computers must be set up solely for
educational purposes at the institution.

. The institution must have a non-profit

* The computers must service or be a 2-year or 4-year secondary educa-
tional institution.

Unfortunately, institutions such as day care
centers, churches, community centers, the
Boy/Girl Scouts, etc. would not qualify be-
cause their sole purpose is not education.
However, any private K- 12 school operated
by a church or non-profit group would

W L 4a- t -* I


Did you know that Least Terns spend

their winters in South America,

traveling as far south as Peru and
Brazil? The Least Tern, North
America's smallest gull, spends its

summers as monogamous nesting

pairs from northern Maine all the

way south to St. Croix and other
Caribbean islands. Other

populations nest along the

Mississippi River, the Great Lakes, or

along the California coast. But come

September, the terns fly to South

America, completing their 10,000

mile round-trip!

Interested teachers, administrators, or in-
stitutions should contact the USDA to
complete the necessary form AD- 107
which confirms eligibility requirements
and relays school information to the
USDA. The school must be registered in
the Computer for Learning Web site:

For more information, please contact the
USDA Service Center at:
(340) 692-9632 x 101

Received requests will be considered
based on meeting of all requirements and
the order in which the request is received.

__ __ __ __ __ __

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