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HomeNewsArchivesFriends of V.I. National Park Announces Winter Seminars

Friends of V.I. National Park Announces Winter Seminars

With the winter season officially starting next week, the Friends of V.I. National Park are out with a list of activities for its annual winter seminar series.

"It’s an opportunity to experience the cultural and environmental wonders we have here in V.I. National Park," Friends program manager Audrey Penn said.

The seminars have something for everyone, Penn said, and provide a wide variety of ways to enjoy the park. She said that some are more sedentary and others more adventurous.

The Friends expanded the list of offerings this year, including two offerings at the park’s Hassel Island location.

The series kicks off Dec. 19 and runs through April 17. Penn suggested booking early to ensure a spot because the seminars are already starting to fill up. Friends members receive a price reduction.

Here’s a list of what’s on tap. Water, sunscreen and a hat are recommended for all outdoor activities.

* Dec. 19 – A native plant and bird hike runs from 8 a.m. to noon. Meet botanist and plant ecologist Gary Ray at the V.I. Environmental Resource Center with lunch and binoculars for a short hike from Lameshur to Europa Bay. The cost is $45.
* Dec. 21 – A SNUBA expedition runs from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Trunk Bay. Meet guides Frank and Tammy Cummings at the Trunk Bay parking lot. Bring a towel, swimsuit and lunch. The Cost is $65.
* Dec. 26 – A Kwanzaa drum circle has two sessions led by master drummer Eddie Bruce. The first, geared toward children, runs from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and the second, which is for adults, is from noon to 1:30 p.m. Both are at the park Visitors Center. Bring a drum if you have one. The children’s session is $15. The adult session is $30.
* Dec. 27 – A Pastels Workshop is taught by local artist Livy Hitchcock. It runs from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Meet at the Caneel Bay Resort parking lot with a snack and wearing old clothes. The cost is $75 a session.
* Dec. 30 – A Native Tea Time shows participants how to prepare local teas. It runs from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Meet instructor Joyce Sprauve in front of Julius E. Sprauve School in Cruz Bay. The cost is $35.
* Jan. 5 – An Eco Spa runs from 2 to 4 p.m. at Salt Pond. Meet park ranger Deanna Somerville at the Salt Pond parking lot with an old swimsuit and towel to learn about the healing properties of the pond’s mud. The cost is $35.
* Jan. 9 – Using the Five Senses in Writing runs from 9 a.m. to noon. Meet local author Cristina Kessler at Trunk Bay parking lot with a notebook and pen. The cost is $45.
* Jan. 10 – A Botanical Hike runs from 9 a.m. to noon with botanist Eleanor Gibney. She’ll guide hikers to Hawksnest Point. Meet at the Caneel Bay parking lot wearing a hat and hiking shoes. The cost is $45.
* Jan. 14 – A Spirit Doll Workshop runs from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Meet artist Anne Caswell at Skinny Legs Restaurant in Coral Bay with ideas or found items to create a spirit doll. Bring lunch. The cost is $95.
* Jan. 16 – Kayak the Mangroves of Hurricane Hole with scientist Barry Devine. He’ll guide participants through Coral Reef National Monument. It runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Bring snorkel gear and a towel. The cost is $75.
* Jan. 17 – A Pastels Workshop, the second of the seminar season, is taught by local artist Livy Hitchcock. It runs from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Meet at the Caneel Bay Resort parking lot with a snack and wearing old clothes. The cost is $75 a session.
* Jan. 23 – A Marine Biology Boat Trip aboard the Low Key runs from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Meet National Park Service biologist Jeff Miller at the park’s Visitors Center dock in Cruz Bay with snorkel gear, towel and lunch. The cost is $85.
* Jan. 27 – A Pepper Sauce-Making seminar runs from 2 to 4 p.m. Meet "pepper man" Trinidad Charlie at the Moravian Church parking lot in Bethany. Bring a notebook. The cost is $35.
* Jan. 29 – A Full Moon Hike to Ram Head runs from 6 to 8:30 p.m. Meet park ranger Don Near at the Salt Pond parking lot with a flashlight and snack and wearing hiking shoes. The cost is $35.
* Jan. 30 – The Hassel Island Tour runs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Meet park archeologist Ken Wild in Frenchtown for a kayak trip from Frenchtown to Hassel Island. Wear a swimsuit and hiking shoes and bring a towel. The cost is $90.
* Feb. 3 – A Park Archive Tour runs from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Meet the park’s museum curator, Milagros Flores, at the Friends of the Park store in Mongoose Junction shopping center. The cost is $35.
* Feb. 5 – Kayak Caneel Bay with park ranger Laurel Brannick. It runs from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. The trip ends with a hike to Turtle Point. Meet at the Caneel Bay parking lot with swimsuit, towel, dry bag and hiking shoes. The cost is $90.
* Feb. 6 – A Glimpse into St. John‘s Past runs from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. with Guy Benjamin. He shares memories of the island’s past at Concordia Pavilion. The cost is $30.
* Feb. 8 – An Archeology Boat Trip takes participants along St. John’s shores with park archeologist Ken Wild. It runs from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Meet at the park Visitors Center dock with snorkel gear, lunch and a towel. The cost is $85.
* Feb. 10 – Birds of the Park runs from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. with ranger Laurel Brannick. Meet at the park Visitors Center with binoculars and a notebook. The cost is $55.
* Feb. 13 – Coastal Ecology takes participants on a trip around St. John aboard the Sadie Sea with park Chief of Resource Management Rafe Boulon. It runs from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Meet at the park Visitors Center with lunch and snorkel gear. The cost is $85.
* Feb. 14 – Romance in the Sky runs from 7:30 to 9 p.m. with mythologist Kelley Hunter and amateur astronomer Rich Gingold. Meet at Annaberg Plantation with a blanket, flashlight, pillow and binoculars. The cost is $45.
* Feb. 20 – Kayak the Mangroves of Hurricane Hole with scientist Barry Devine. It runs from 1 to 4:45 p.m. Meet at Skinny Legs Restaurant in Coral Bay. Bring a snack, snorkel gear and a towel. The cost is $55.
* Feb. 24 – A Reptile Hike runs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. with reptile expert Renata Platenberg. The tip includes a boat ride on the Sadie Sea along St. John’s north shore. Bring hiking shoes, a snack and bug repellent. The cost is $55.
* Feb. 26 – A Sea Turtle Sail runs from 12:45 to 5 p.m. aboard the Castaway Girl II. It goes to Buck Island off St. Thomas with park ranger Carrie Stengel as guide. Bring hat, snack, snorkel gear, and a swimsuit. The cost is $75.
* March 3 – A Home Grown Jewelry seminar runs from 9 a.m. to noon at St. John School of the Arts. Natural jewelry maker Alton Evans shows participants how to make jewelry from seeds. Bring seeds. The cost is $45.
* March 6 – An Underwater Photography seminar runs from 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. at V.I. Environmental Resource Station. Taught by underwater photographer Jamie Irving, the seminar also includes a tour of the Tektite museum. Bring an underwater camera, snorkel gear and a notepad. The cost is $50.
* March 8 – Archeological Collections Showcase seminar runs from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Cinnamon Bay Museum. Park archeologist Ken Wild discusses artifacts and photos from the Cinnamon Bay dig. The cost is $50.
* March 13 – A Fish Identification Sail runs from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. aboard the Calypso with park ranger Laurel Brannick as guide. Meet at Margarita Phil’s Restaurant in Cruz Bay with snorkel gear, lunch and towel. The cost is $85.
* March 20 – A Tropical Garden Tour runs from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. with gardening enthusiast Irene Patton. Meet at the Friends of the Park store in Mongoose Junction shopping center with lunch and a notebook. The cost is $35.
* March 24 – A Caneel Bay Historical Tour runs from 9 a.m. to noon with local historian Chuck Pishko as guide. Meet at the Caneel Bay parking lot. The cost is $35.
* March 27 – A Reef Ecosystem Exploration has park ranger Jessica Hornbeck as guide. Meet at the park Visitors Center with lunch and snorkel gear. The cost is $85.
* April 3 – A Green Building Tour runs from 10 a.m. to noon with architect Doug White as guide. Meet at the Friends of the Park store. The cost is $35.
* April 3 – The Hassel Island Tour runs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Meet park archeologist Ken Wild for a kayak trip from Frenchtown to Hassel Island. Meet in Frenchtown. Wear a swimsuit and hiking shoes and bring a towel. The cost is $90.
* April 7 – A Snorkel Tour runs from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. with "snorkelologist" Lucy Portlock guiding participants to the undersea world. Meet at the park Visitors Center with snorkel gear, towel and a snack. The cost is $60.
* April 10 – A Tropical Gardening seminar shows participants how to start a spring garden. Irene Patton runs this hands-on class from 9 a.m. to noon. Meet at the Friends of the Park store with a plant or cutting. The cost is $30.
* April 14 – A Coral Reef Boat Tour takes participants along the north shore aboard the Sadie Sea. It runs from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Caroline Rogers, a marine ecologist with the U.S. Geological Survey, serves as guide. Meet at the park Visitors Center with snorkel gear, towel and a snack. The cost is $85.
* April 17 – Maho Art Center Expo showcases how Maho Bay Camps recycles its waste into art objects. Participants take home their creations. It runs from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the campground art center. Wear closed- toe shoes and an apron or old clothing. The cost is $75.

The Friends group is also offering three one-on-one classes in wood turning with master wood turner Avelino Samuel. Penn said they are by request. Participants meet at Skinny Legs Restaurant. The classes are for beginner, intermediate or advanced wood turners. The cost is $85.

To reserve a spot at a Friends seminar, call the Friends at 779-4940. For more information, visit www.friendsvinp.org.

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