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Sign-Up Starts for Park Friends Seminars

The winter season brings the Friends of V.I. National Park seminar series, an annual event that draws attention to the park and raises money for the Friends’ projects.

“It’s a unique way to experience the park and get to know the aficionados,” Friends Program Manager Audrey Penn said.

The seminars start Jan. 4 but since they often fill up quickly, sign up soon. Penn pointed out that they make good holiday gifts.

Friends members receive a reduced price on the seminar fee.

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Call the Friends office at 779-4940 to sign up.

Here’s the schedule.

  • Jan. 4. Pepper Sauce Making with pepper man Trinidad Charlie runs 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Learn the pepper making process and tour his gardens. Meet at Bethany Moravian Church parking lot. Bring a notebook. The fee is $45.
  • Jan. 5. Native Arts and Crafts with Delroy “Ital” Anthony runs 12:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. Learn about making crafts with materials found on St. John. Meet at St. John School of the Arts. The fee is $45.
  • Jan. 7. Native Plant and Bird Hike with Gary Ray runs 9 a.m. to noon. Tour the four habitats in the area of Salt Pond Bay. Meet at Salt Pond parking lot with sunscreen, hat, water, lunch, and binoculars. The fee is $55.
  • Jan. 8 and Feb. 5. Pastels Workshop with local artist Livy Hitchcock runs 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. both days. Learn the technique of pastels at Caneel Bay Resort. Meet at Caneel Bay parking lot. Bring drinking water and snack and wear old clothes. The fee is $85.
  • Jan. 11. Park Critter Crawl with reptile expert Renata Plattenberg of the Planning and Natural Resources Department’s Fish and Wildlife Division runs 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Identify the hidden critters that are all around. Meet at the park Visitor Center with a notebook, water and lunch. The fee is $55.
  • Jan. 15 and March 23. Hassel Island Tour with V.I. Ecotours runs 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. both days. Kayak from Frenchtown to historic Hassel Island on a trip past Danish and British colonial ruins and Careening Cove. Hike to Fort Willoughby, a British fort from the Napoleonic era, and visit the Garrison House, the Creque Marine Railway, and Shipley Battery or Cowell Battery. The trip includes lunch and drinks. Meet at Frenchtown, St. Thomas. Bring a swimsuit, towel, sunscreen, dry bag, and hiking shoes. The fee is $95.
  • Jan. 18. Birds of the Park with park ranger Laurel Brannick runs 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tour the North Shore by safari bus, stopping along the way to view native and seasonal birds in their natural habitat. Meet at the park Visitor Center with binoculars, water and a notebook. The fee is $65.
  • Jan. 24. Archeology Boat Trip with park archeologist Ken Wild runs 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. View St. John’s coastline aboard the motor vessel Low Key. Explore the island’s pre-history. Meet at the park Visitor Center dock. Bring snorkel gear, lunch, water, towel, and sunscreen. The fee is $95.
  • Jan. 26. Caribbean Creole with local linguist and retired educator Gilbert Sprauve runs 10 a.m. to noon. He shows you how Caribbean languages relate to one another, how their grammatical structure relates back to the root languages and he will discuss his research on the last Dutch Creole speaker. Meet at the St. John School of the Arts. Bring a notebook. The fee is $35.
  • Jan. 28. Recycled Glass Blowing with resident Maho Bay Camps Glassblower Greg Lee offers a choice of three classes that run from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. and 1:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. Participants will make a paperweight out of recycled glass. Meet at Maho Bay Camps Art Center. Bring a notebook. The fee is $75.
  • Feb. 1. Batik Class with Maho Bay Camps textile artist Annalisa Jensen runs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Learn the technique of using wax resist and dye to create layered designs on recycled cloth. Meet at Maho Bay Camps Art Center. Wear close-toed shoes and an apron or old clothing. The fee is $75.
  • Feb. 7. Full Moon Drum Circle with master drummer Eddie Bruce runs from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Learn about the history of drumming and the ritual drumming techniques of both West African and Afro-Caribbean cultures. Meet at the park Visitor Center. Bring a drum if you have one. The fee is $35.
  • Feb. 8 and March 7. Treasures of the Virgin Islands with gemologist Ivanne Farr runs 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. both days. Learn about local, regional and global mineral specimens and gems. Meet at R&J Latte store on the Charlotte Amalie Waterfront at R & J Latte. The fee is $65.
  • Feb. 11. Botanical and Historical Hike with botanist Eleanor Gibney runs 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. She leads a botanical and historical hike along the Leinster Bay trail to the Murphy’s Great House, highlighting the land uses of the area in the 1950s and the seashore vegetation along the trail. Meet at Annaberg Plantation parking lot. Bring sunscreen, hat, lunch, water, and hiking shoes. The fee is $55.
  • Feb. 12. Coastal Ecology with the park’s chief of resource management Rafe Boulon runs 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Circumnavigate St. John aboard the motor vessel Low Key to learn about the mangroves, sea grass beds, and coral reefs that fringe the island’s coastlines. Meet at the park Visitor Center. Bring lunch, water, sunscreen, and snorkel gear. The fee is $85.
  • Feb. 18. Build Green with architect Doug White runs from 10 a.m. to noon. Learn about green building, traditional West Indian wooden cottages, landscaping with native vegetation, solar power, net metering, water conservation, composting, organic gardening, and solar oven bread making. Meet Skinny Legs Restaurant to carpool to White’s East End home. Bring a notebook, building plans and ideas. The fee is $45.
  • Feb. 19. Marine Biology Sail with park marine biologist Jeff Miller runs from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Take a guided sail aboard the sailboat Kekoa and snorkel through the underwater treasures of St. John’s reefs. Meet at the park Visitor Center dock. Bring snorkel gear, lunch, water, towel, and sunscreen. The fee is $95.
  • Feb. 22. Heritage Exhibit Tour with park archeologist Ken Wild and his interns runs 10 a.m. to noon. Take a guided tour of the recently created Heritage Education Station and Archeology Lab to explore prehistory and the significance of the archeological sites around the island. Meet at Cinnamon Bay parking lot. Bring a notebook. The fee is $35.
  • Feb. 24 and April 15. Kayak Caneel Bay with V.I. Ecotours runs from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. for both trips. The trip ends with a hike through the tropical forest at Turtle Point. Meet at Caneel Bay Resort parking lot. Bring a swimsuit, towel, sunscreen, dry bag, and hiking shoes. The fee is $85.
  • Feb. 25. Leap Year Stars with astro-mythologist Kelley Hunter and Rich Geengold on telescope runs from 7:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. Star gazers will see planets, red, white and blue stars and trace constellation shapes. Meet and Concordia Preserve Pavilion. Bring a blanket, flashlight, pillow, and binoculars if you have them. The fee is $45.
  • March 3 and March 10. Tropical Garden Tour with local gardening enthusiast Irene Patton runs from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. both days. Tour four very different island gardens and learn how to incorporate tropical garden design, integrate native plants and conserve water and soil in your garden. Meet at Friends of the Park store in Mongoose Junction. Bring lunch, reusable water bottle and sunscreen. The fee is $55.
  • March 8. Full Moon Hike with Friends program manager Audrey Penn runs from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. Hike to the top of Ram Head while learning about St. John’s natural and cultural history in this part of St. John. Meet at Salt Pond parking lot. Bring hiking shoes, flashlight, snack, and water. The fee is $45.
  • March 11. Historical Walking Tour with local historian Felipe Ayala Jr. runs from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. Explore the downtown Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas historic district including 99 steps and a tour of the St. Thomas Historical Trust Museum. Meet at Blackbeard’s Castle on St. Thomas. Bring a notebook and water. The fee is $45.
  • March 14. Investigating Island Burials with park assistant archeologist Kourtney Donohue and park archeology intern Chela Thomas runs from 10 a.m. to noon. Look at human skeletal remains and learn about island burial traditions. Meet at Cinnamon Bay parking lot. Bring a notebook. The fee is $35.
  • March 17. Sea Turtle Sail aboard the Castaway Girl II to Buck Island, St. Thomas runs from 12:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. A park ranger will guide the swim to see green and hawksbill turtles. Meet at Charlotte Amalie waterfront, St. Thomas. Bring sunscreen, hat, snack, snorkel gear, and swimsuit. The fee is $85.
  • March 21. Medicinal Herbs with Delroy “Ital” Anthony runs from 12:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. Investigate the natural benefits of native herbs found throughout the Caribbean. Meet at St. John School of the Arts. Bring a notebook. The fee is $45.
  • March 25. Tropical Light Photography with photographer Steve Simonsen runs from 8 a.m. to noon. Travel through the park to creatively capture the park’s beauty. Meet at Friends of the Park store in Mongoose Junction shopping center. Bring camera and manual, batteries, memory cards, water, and notebook. The fee is $55.
  • March 31. Taino Pottery Making with potter Gail Van de Bogurt runs from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Learn to make Taino style pottery. Meet at Maho Bay Camps Art Center. Wear close-toed shoes and an apron or old clothing. The fee is $65.
  • April 1. Tropical Gardening with local gardening enthusiast Irene Patton runs from 9 a.m. to noon. This hands-on gardening class emphasizes water conservation, organic pest control, garden design, and composting. Meet at Friends of the Park store in Mongoose Junction shopping center. Bring a hat, sturdy shoes, ideas/experiences, and lunch. The fee is $45.
  • April 4. Ethnic Drumming with master drummer Eddie Bruce runs from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Learn about the history of drumming and the ritual drumming techniques of both West African and Afro-Caribbean cultures. Meet at St. John School of the Arts. Bring a drum if you have one. The fee is $35.
  • April 7. Kayak the Mangroves of Hurricane Hole with local scientist Barry Devine and Arawak Expeditions runs 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Snorkel the mangroves and sea grass beds of Coral Reef National Monument. Lunch is included. Meet at Skinny Legs Restaurant to carpool. Bring snorkel gear, water, towel, and sunscreen. The fee is $75.
  • April 11. The History of Steel Pan with Samuel Lawrence, a lead pan player of the renown WITCO Desperados of Trinidad, runs from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. Learn the art and history behind steel pan creation. Meet at the Pan Dragons pan yard across from the Cruz Bay fire station. Bring a notebook and snack. The fee is $75.
  • April 18. Fish Identification Sail with park ranger Laurel Brannick runs from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sail aboard the Calypso to learn how to identify fish. Meet at Margarita Phil’s restaurant in Cruz Bay. Bring snorkel gear, lunch, water, towel, and sunscreen. The fee is $95.
  • April 28. Snorkeling Adventure in the Mangroves with marine ecologist Caroline Rogers runs 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Visit Otter Creek and Water Creek in V.I. Coral Reef National Monument’s Hurricane Hole aboard the sailing vessel Keoka. Participants will receive a $5 discount on the purchase of Roger’s book “The Mysterious, Magical Mangroves of St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands.” Meet at the park Visitor Center. Bring snorkel gear, towel, sunscreen, and snack. The fee is $95.
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The winter season brings the Friends of V.I. National Park seminar series, an annual event that draws attention to the park and raises money for the Friends’ projects.

“It’s a unique way to experience the park and get to know the aficionados,” Friends Program Manager Audrey Penn said.

The seminars start Jan. 4 but since they often fill up quickly, sign up soon. Penn pointed out that they make good holiday gifts.

Friends members receive a reduced price on the seminar fee.

Call the Friends office at 779-4940 to sign up.

Here’s the schedule.

  • Jan. 4. Pepper Sauce Making with pepper man Trinidad Charlie runs 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Learn the pepper making process and tour his gardens. Meet at Bethany Moravian Church parking lot. Bring a notebook. The fee is $45.
  • Jan. 5. Native Arts and Crafts with Delroy “Ital” Anthony runs 12:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. Learn about making crafts with materials found on St. John. Meet at St. John School of the Arts. The fee is $45.
  • Jan. 7. Native Plant and Bird Hike with Gary Ray runs 9 a.m. to noon. Tour the four habitats in the area of Salt Pond Bay. Meet at Salt Pond parking lot with sunscreen, hat, water, lunch, and binoculars. The fee is $55.
  • Jan. 8 and Feb. 5. Pastels Workshop with local artist Livy Hitchcock runs 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. both days. Learn the technique of pastels at Caneel Bay Resort. Meet at Caneel Bay parking lot. Bring drinking water and snack and wear old clothes. The fee is $85.
  • Jan. 11. Park Critter Crawl with reptile expert Renata Plattenberg of the Planning and Natural Resources Department’s Fish and Wildlife Division runs 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Identify the hidden critters that are all around. Meet at the park Visitor Center with a notebook, water and lunch. The fee is $55.
  • Jan. 15 and March 23. Hassel Island Tour with V.I. Ecotours runs 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. both days. Kayak from Frenchtown to historic Hassel Island on a trip past Danish and British colonial ruins and Careening Cove. Hike to Fort Willoughby, a British fort from the Napoleonic era, and visit the Garrison House, the Creque Marine Railway, and Shipley Battery or Cowell Battery. The trip includes lunch and drinks. Meet at Frenchtown, St. Thomas. Bring a swimsuit, towel, sunscreen, dry bag, and hiking shoes. The fee is $95.
  • Jan. 18. Birds of the Park with park ranger Laurel Brannick runs 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tour the North Shore by safari bus, stopping along the way to view native and seasonal birds in their natural habitat. Meet at the park Visitor Center with binoculars, water and a notebook. The fee is $65.
  • Jan. 24. Archeology Boat Trip with park archeologist Ken Wild runs 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. View St. John’s coastline aboard the motor vessel Low Key. Explore the island’s pre-history. Meet at the park Visitor Center dock. Bring snorkel gear, lunch, water, towel, and sunscreen. The fee is $95.
  • Jan. 26. Caribbean Creole with local linguist and retired educator Gilbert Sprauve runs 10 a.m. to noon. He shows you how Caribbean languages relate to one another, how their grammatical structure relates back to the root languages and he will discuss his research on the last Dutch Creole speaker. Meet at the St. John School of the Arts. Bring a notebook. The fee is $35.
  • Jan. 28. Recycled Glass Blowing with resident Maho Bay Camps Glassblower Greg Lee offers a choice of three classes that run from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. and 1:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. Participants will make a paperweight out of recycled glass. Meet at Maho Bay Camps Art Center. Bring a notebook. The fee is $75.
  • Feb. 1. Batik Class with Maho Bay Camps textile artist Annalisa Jensen runs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Learn the technique of using wax resist and dye to create layered designs on recycled cloth. Meet at Maho Bay Camps Art Center. Wear close-toed shoes and an apron or old clothing. The fee is $75.
  • Feb. 7. Full Moon Drum Circle with master drummer Eddie Bruce runs from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Learn about the history of drumming and the ritual drumming techniques of both West African and Afro-Caribbean cultures. Meet at the park Visitor Center. Bring a drum if you have one. The fee is $35.
  • Feb. 8 and March 7. Treasures of the Virgin Islands with gemologist Ivanne Farr runs 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. both days. Learn about local, regional and global mineral specimens and gems. Meet at R&J Latte store on the Charlotte Amalie Waterfront at R & J Latte. The fee is $65.
  • Feb. 11. Botanical and Historical Hike with botanist Eleanor Gibney runs 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. She leads a botanical and historical hike along the Leinster Bay trail to the Murphy’s Great House, highlighting the land uses of the area in the 1950s and the seashore vegetation along the trail. Meet at Annaberg Plantation parking lot. Bring sunscreen, hat, lunch, water, and hiking shoes. The fee is $55.
  • Feb. 12. Coastal Ecology with the park’s chief of resource management Rafe Boulon runs 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Circumnavigate St. John aboard the motor vessel Low Key to learn about the mangroves, sea grass beds, and coral reefs that fringe the island’s coastlines. Meet at the park Visitor Center. Bring lunch, water, sunscreen, and snorkel gear. The fee is $85.
  • Feb. 18. Build Green with architect Doug White runs from 10 a.m. to noon. Learn about green building, traditional West Indian wooden cottages, landscaping with native vegetation, solar power, net metering, water conservation, composting, organic gardening, and solar oven bread making. Meet Skinny Legs Restaurant to carpool to White’s East End home. Bring a notebook, building plans and ideas. The fee is $45.
  • Feb. 19. Marine Biology Sail with park marine biologist Jeff Miller runs from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Take a guided sail aboard the sailboat Kekoa and snorkel through the underwater treasures of St. John’s reefs. Meet at the park Visitor Center dock. Bring snorkel gear, lunch, water, towel, and sunscreen. The fee is $95.
  • Feb. 22. Heritage Exhibit Tour with park archeologist Ken Wild and his interns runs 10 a.m. to noon. Take a guided tour of the recently created Heritage Education Station and Archeology Lab to explore prehistory and the significance of the archeological sites around the island. Meet at Cinnamon Bay parking lot. Bring a notebook. The fee is $35.
  • Feb. 24 and April 15. Kayak Caneel Bay with V.I. Ecotours runs from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. for both trips. The trip ends with a hike through the tropical forest at Turtle Point. Meet at Caneel Bay Resort parking lot. Bring a swimsuit, towel, sunscreen, dry bag, and hiking shoes. The fee is $85.
  • Feb. 25. Leap Year Stars with astro-mythologist Kelley Hunter and Rich Geengold on telescope runs from 7:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. Star gazers will see planets, red, white and blue stars and trace constellation shapes. Meet and Concordia Preserve Pavilion. Bring a blanket, flashlight, pillow, and binoculars if you have them. The fee is $45.
  • March 3 and March 10. Tropical Garden Tour with local gardening enthusiast Irene Patton runs from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. both days. Tour four very different island gardens and learn how to incorporate tropical garden design, integrate native plants and conserve water and soil in your garden. Meet at Friends of the Park store in Mongoose Junction. Bring lunch, reusable water bottle and sunscreen. The fee is $55.
  • March 8. Full Moon Hike with Friends program manager Audrey Penn runs from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. Hike to the top of Ram Head while learning about St. John’s natural and cultural history in this part of St. John. Meet at Salt Pond parking lot. Bring hiking shoes, flashlight, snack, and water. The fee is $45.
  • March 11. Historical Walking Tour with local historian Felipe Ayala Jr. runs from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. Explore the downtown Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas historic district including 99 steps and a tour of the St. Thomas Historical Trust Museum. Meet at Blackbeard’s Castle on St. Thomas. Bring a notebook and water. The fee is $45.
  • March 14. Investigating Island Burials with park assistant archeologist Kourtney Donohue and park archeology intern Chela Thomas runs from 10 a.m. to noon. Look at human skeletal remains and learn about island burial traditions. Meet at Cinnamon Bay parking lot. Bring a notebook. The fee is $35.
  • March 17. Sea Turtle Sail aboard the Castaway Girl II to Buck Island, St. Thomas runs from 12:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. A park ranger will guide the swim to see green and hawksbill turtles. Meet at Charlotte Amalie waterfront, St. Thomas. Bring sunscreen, hat, snack, snorkel gear, and swimsuit. The fee is $85.
  • March 21. Medicinal Herbs with Delroy “Ital” Anthony runs from 12:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. Investigate the natural benefits of native herbs found throughout the Caribbean. Meet at St. John School of the Arts. Bring a notebook. The fee is $45.
  • March 25. Tropical Light Photography with photographer Steve Simonsen runs from 8 a.m. to noon. Travel through the park to creatively capture the park’s beauty. Meet at Friends of the Park store in Mongoose Junction shopping center. Bring camera and manual, batteries, memory cards, water, and notebook. The fee is $55.
  • March 31. Taino Pottery Making with potter Gail Van de Bogurt runs from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Learn to make Taino style pottery. Meet at Maho Bay Camps Art Center. Wear close-toed shoes and an apron or old clothing. The fee is $65.
  • April 1. Tropical Gardening with local gardening enthusiast Irene Patton runs from 9 a.m. to noon. This hands-on gardening class emphasizes water conservation, organic pest control, garden design, and composting. Meet at Friends of the Park store in Mongoose Junction shopping center. Bring a hat, sturdy shoes, ideas/experiences, and lunch. The fee is $45.
  • April 4. Ethnic Drumming with master drummer Eddie Bruce runs from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Learn about the history of drumming and the ritual drumming techniques of both West African and Afro-Caribbean cultures. Meet at St. John School of the Arts. Bring a drum if you have one. The fee is $35.
  • April 7. Kayak the Mangroves of Hurricane Hole with local scientist Barry Devine and Arawak Expeditions runs 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Snorkel the mangroves and sea grass beds of Coral Reef National Monument. Lunch is included. Meet at Skinny Legs Restaurant to carpool. Bring snorkel gear, water, towel, and sunscreen. The fee is $75.
  • April 11. The History of Steel Pan with Samuel Lawrence, a lead pan player of the renown WITCO Desperados of Trinidad, runs from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. Learn the art and history behind steel pan creation. Meet at the Pan Dragons pan yard across from the Cruz Bay fire station. Bring a notebook and snack. The fee is $75.
  • April 18. Fish Identification Sail with park ranger Laurel Brannick runs from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sail aboard the Calypso to learn how to identify fish. Meet at Margarita Phil’s restaurant in Cruz Bay. Bring snorkel gear, lunch, water, towel, and sunscreen. The fee is $95.
  • April 28. Snorkeling Adventure in the Mangroves with marine ecologist Caroline Rogers runs 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Visit Otter Creek and Water Creek in V.I. Coral Reef National Monument’s Hurricane Hole aboard the sailing vessel Keoka. Participants will receive a $5 discount on the purchase of Roger’s book “The Mysterious, Magical Mangroves of St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands.” Meet at the park Visitor Center. Bring snorkel gear, towel, sunscreen, and snack. The fee is $95.