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Hundreds Hit the Beach for Reef Jam

May 24, 2009 — Sunday afternoon at Reef Jam you didn't even have to get up from your seat on the beach or put down your cold drink to get some education about the marine life surrounding the Virgin Islands.
William Cole of the V.I. Fish and Wildlife Division walked around Rainbow Beach in Frederiksted, showing anyone who was interested a lion fish embalmed in formaldehyde in a bottle.
"If you see this fish in the water kill it — then call me," Coles told people. He then went on and told how the non-native fish had been introduced to Virgin Islands waters recently and was posing a great danger to native species.
If you wanted to get more marine education, you could walk up to one of the many booths set up for St. Croix's second annual Reef Jam. Youngsters buried ping-pong balls in the sand at the tent sponsored by the DPNR, where Chris Niebuhr of the West Indies Marine Animal Research and Conservation Service explained how sea turtles lay their eggs and then bury them.
"This allows us to portray education in a fun way," Niebuhr said.
When Niebuhr was finished with his presentation, John Farchette of St. Croix East End Marine Park, under DPNR, dissected a Nile tilapia while a rapt audience listened to him explain the different parts of the fish. One little boy turned his nose up in disgust.
Education was just one aspect of what organizers call "the biggest beach music fest on island." The event featured live music from Siete Son, Kurt Schindler and the Reggae Bubblers. There were also underwater-photography contests, a free snorkel excursion, local food vendors, T-shirts and raffles.
The funds raised from the event will go to more local coral-reef-education events throughout the year/ and conservation efforts with all proceeds staying on St. Croix.
The response to the event has been overwhelming, according to Karlyn Langjahr from the Reef Jam Committee and representative from DPNR's East End Marine Park.
"We're very happy with the turnout," Langjahr said. "It seems stronger than last year. People are excited that it is now an annual event. We may even do something bi-annually."
Janelle Schindler, wife of muscian Kurt Schindler and one of the sponsors of the jam, said at 4 p.m. more than 500 people had paid to hear the music on the stage. The jam was scheduled until 10 p.m.
"It is exciting to see so many supporting the cause to protect the water around the island," Janelle Schindler said.
From the Rainbow Beach bar north for about a quarter mile, the beach was filled with at least 500 more people relaxing, except for a spot where a volleyball game was going on. To the south of the bar a dozen guys played a Frisbee team game.
Reef Jam committee members were recently selected as winners of the 2009 U.S. EPA Environmental Quality Award for their 2008 International Year of the Reef efforts on St. Croix.
The proceeds from this year's Reef Jam will be distributed through a mini-grant program. Community organizations, schools, non-profits, government agencies and individuals with projects aligned with Reef Jam's mission will be eligible to apply. Contact Karlyn Langjahr at 340-773-3367 or Emily Tyner at 340-692-4144 for more information about the programs.
This year's Reef Jam was sponsored by HOVENSA, Bellows International, Caribbean Printing Mart, Isle 95.1, the Mongoose and STX 100 FM, and receives fiduciary services from the V.I. Resource Conservation & Development Council (V.I. RC&D).
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May 24, 2009 -- Sunday afternoon at Reef Jam you didn't even have to get up from your seat on the beach or put down your cold drink to get some education about the marine life surrounding the Virgin Islands.
William Cole of the V.I. Fish and Wildlife Division walked around Rainbow Beach in Frederiksted, showing anyone who was interested a lion fish embalmed in formaldehyde in a bottle.
"If you see this fish in the water kill it -- then call me," Coles told people. He then went on and told how the non-native fish had been introduced to Virgin Islands waters recently and was posing a great danger to native species.
If you wanted to get more marine education, you could walk up to one of the many booths set up for St. Croix's second annual Reef Jam. Youngsters buried ping-pong balls in the sand at the tent sponsored by the DPNR, where Chris Niebuhr of the West Indies Marine Animal Research and Conservation Service explained how sea turtles lay their eggs and then bury them.
"This allows us to portray education in a fun way," Niebuhr said.
When Niebuhr was finished with his presentation, John Farchette of St. Croix East End Marine Park, under DPNR, dissected a Nile tilapia while a rapt audience listened to him explain the different parts of the fish. One little boy turned his nose up in disgust.
Education was just one aspect of what organizers call "the biggest beach music fest on island." The event featured live music from Siete Son, Kurt Schindler and the Reggae Bubblers. There were also underwater-photography contests, a free snorkel excursion, local food vendors, T-shirts and raffles.
The funds raised from the event will go to more local coral-reef-education events throughout the year/ and conservation efforts with all proceeds staying on St. Croix.
The response to the event has been overwhelming, according to Karlyn Langjahr from the Reef Jam Committee and representative from DPNR's East End Marine Park.
"We're very happy with the turnout," Langjahr said. "It seems stronger than last year. People are excited that it is now an annual event. We may even do something bi-annually."
Janelle Schindler, wife of muscian Kurt Schindler and one of the sponsors of the jam, said at 4 p.m. more than 500 people had paid to hear the music on the stage. The jam was scheduled until 10 p.m.
"It is exciting to see so many supporting the cause to protect the water around the island," Janelle Schindler said.
From the Rainbow Beach bar north for about a quarter mile, the beach was filled with at least 500 more people relaxing, except for a spot where a volleyball game was going on. To the south of the bar a dozen guys played a Frisbee team game.
Reef Jam committee members were recently selected as winners of the 2009 U.S. EPA Environmental Quality Award for their 2008 International Year of the Reef efforts on St. Croix.
The proceeds from this year's Reef Jam will be distributed through a mini-grant program. Community organizations, schools, non-profits, government agencies and individuals with projects aligned with Reef Jam's mission will be eligible to apply. Contact Karlyn Langjahr at 340-773-3367 or Emily Tyner at 340-692-4144 for more information about the programs.
This year's Reef Jam was sponsored by HOVENSA, Bellows International, Caribbean Printing Mart, Isle 95.1, the Mongoose and STX 100 FM, and receives fiduciary services from the V.I. Resource Conservation & Development Council (V.I. RC&D).
Back Talk Share your reaction to this news with other Source readers. Please include headline, your name and city and state/country or island where you reside.