Green Building Seminar Kicks Off Friends of VINP Seminar Series 2014

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From learning all about green building and natural vegetation on Saturday, January 11, to hiking Ram Head under a full moon on Tuesday, April 15, Friends of V.I. National Park’s 2014 Seminar Series has events for all ages and interests.

“The seminars are a great way for people to have really cool, interesting and educational experiences in the park at great prices,” said Friends of VINP Program Manager Karen Jarvis. “And by attending these great events, you know you are a supporting a great organization.”

The series kicks off on January 11 when local architect and solar energy enthusiast Doug White will lead “Build Green,” all about environmentally-conscious building techniques, native vegetation landscaping, water conservation and more. Attendees will spend a day at White’s East End sustainable home, Stoney Point, and learn how to make their own homes more environmentally sensitive.

Later in the month kayak the mangroves of Hurricane Hole with local scientist Barry Devine, who will lead a tour through the Coral Reef National Monument. Also in January, Delroy “Ital” Anthony will share his rich knowledge of traditional crafts at his popular “Native Arts and Crafts” workshop.

February’s seminars will feature something for bird lovers, NPS enthusiasts and musicians alike. Ornithologists will not want to miss “Birds of the Park” with VINP Educational Specialist Laurel Brannick on February 3.

Travel out to Lovongo Cay on February 8 to take a tour of true “off the grid” island living from local boat captain and solar design expert Dan Boyd. On February 12, join VINP Superintendent Brion FitzGerald for a hike and picnic lunch as he shares his personal favorite VINP locations.

Spend Valentine’s Day at the Annaberg Ruins with master drummer Eddie Bruce who will lead a full moon drum circle and teach West African and Afro-Caribbean drumming techniques.

Don’t miss the chance to whip up a batch of pepper sauce with the man behind the popular hot sauce Trinidad Charlie’s, Charles Deyalsing on February 19.

All of the most popular events in Friends’ Seminar Series are back this year as well. Hear about the fascinating history of St. John with VINP Archaeologist Ken Wild while cruising the beautiful North Shore on February 26.

Enjoy a day sail aboard s/v Calypso on March 23 and learn about the underwater treasures in VINP with U.S. Geological Survey marine biologist Jeff Miller.

Looking to brush up on those photography skills? Take a lesson from renowned St. John photographer Steve Simonsen, who will lead “Tropical Light Photography” on March 24.

On March 26, learn about the local lionfish threat from Leslie Charpentier and Thomas Kelley then head out on m/v Sadie Sea for a snorkel to look for the species. All proceeds from this seminar will fund the lionfish eradication effort in VINP.

Head back to the mangroves of Hurricane Hole with USGS marine biologist Dr. Caroline Rogers on March 29, when she leads a snorkel through this biologically diverse area.

Other highlights of this year’s seminar series include the popular garden tour with Irene Patton, a coastal ecology sail with retired VINP Chief of Resource Management Rafe Boulon and a tour of Cruz Bay with local historian David Knight.

“The seminars are led by experts in their fields,” said Jarvis. “Who could share more information about coastal ecology than Rafe or who could teach more about the park’s history than archaeologist Ken Wild? We have these local experts who have so much knowledge leading the seminars and it’s fantastic.”

Wrapping up this year’s Friends Seminar Series is local naturalist David D’Alberto who is leading full moon hike to Ram Head on April 15.

The seminar series offers $10 off the cost of each event for Friends of VINP members. With membership costing $30, attending just three seminars makes the membership fee worthwhile, Jarvis explained.

“A lot of the popular seminars do fill up quickly,” she said. “So if there is something you want to do, be sure to register early.”

For more information about the Friends Seminar Series or to sign up for an event, call the group at (340) 779-4940 or stop by the Friends of the Park store in Mongoose Junction.