Feb. 10, 2006 – Two UVI staff members, Toni Thomas and Barry Devine, have written a new book chronicling some of the plants and marine communities found in the Virgin Islands.
Entitled "Island Peak to Coral Reef: A Field Guide to the Plant and Marine Communities of the Virgin Islands," the book has hundreds of color photographs, explanatory text and a map of the territory's plant and marine communities.
An extension agent at the Cooperative Extension Service, Thomas said of the book, "A picture is worth a thousand words."
The book also provides detailed descriptions of the terrain, habits and vegetation that exist throughout the Virgin Islands. From shrublands to grasslands, woodlands to moist forests and beaches, "Island Peak to Coral Reef" documents the types of plant and marine communities that flourish in the Virgin Islands. It also explains what differentiates one community from another.
Thomas and Devine hope their book will raise awareness among V.I. residents about the islands. The book covers St. Thomas, St. Croix, St. John and Water Island. It also touches on the offshore cays.
Devine, who serves as the chief scientist at the Conservation Data Center, said the book would be interesting to nonscientific readers because it was not scholarly.
He said he hopes the book would spark a renewed interest in preserving the territory's environment while still having a thriving economy.
Thomas and Devine spent more than three years photographing and documenting the territory's natural environment for the book.
The book is an offshoot of a Rapid Ecological Assessment done by the Conservation Data Center. Thomas and Devine both said that after they had all the data, they looked for a way to get the information out to the public.
Devine said the University of the Virgin Islands donated their time and the V.I. Agriculture Department gave the project a $20,000 grant from the Urban and Community Forestry Assistance Program. Additionally, Cooperative Extension loaned the project $8,000 to pay for the printing.
Devine added that once they had the funding in place, the book grew from about 70 pages to its current 214.
Thomas said that she and Devine aren't making any money off sales of the book.
"Whatever we make will go into future publications," she said.
Priced at $20, "Island Peak to Coral Reef" is available on St. Thomas at Dockside Book Shop in Havensight, the UVI bookstore and the Cyril E. King Airport gift shop. Buy it on St. Croix at the UVI bookstore. It's available on St. John at the Book and Bean in the Marketplace shopping center, at Mumbo Jumbo in Coral Bay, at Crabby's Watersports in Coral Bay, at Maho Bay Camps, at the V.I. Environmental Resource Station, and the Friends of V.I. National Park office in Mongoose Junction.
Devine said people who want to mail order the book can contact him via e-mail. There is an additional $5 charge for shipping and handling.
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