Greetings!

Today, I am writing to you as a part of our network of park stewards and asking you to play a continued role in protecting Virgin Islands National Park.

As we ready for a new season on St. John, we can look back in pride at the incredible 2020-2021 season we collectively pulled off against some impressive odds. Important research to guide land management decisions, such as best practices for mangrove planting, was carried out. The Sea Turtle Nest Monitoring and Protection Program set record numbers for beaches patrolled and counted 2634 hatchlings! We produced a documentary to keep the spirit of the 30th Anniversary of the Folk Life Festival alive, and continued to educate and engage hundreds of students through the virtual festival.

You know your support goes a long way to help fund critical conservation programs and projects in your Park each year. Did you also know that as a member and supporter of the Friends, you maintain 27 miles of hiking trails, and enable our consistent efforts to replant native vegetation for shoreline stabilization?

Let's go into this new year with full support for Virgin Islands National Park! Please make a charitable gift before the end of the year of $100 or more!

Good conservation work does more than address the environmental challenges we see today. It connects people with their environment and invests in the future. Your ongoing support is helping to build a pipeline of conservation education opportunities for island youth from School Kids in the Park to our Learn to Swim program and our Summer Trail Crew. As well as the Jeffery Matheny Scholarship, the Noble Samuel Scholarship and Internship, and the AmeriCorps VISTA program.

Thank you for your membership, volunteerism, and charitable giving!

It is an honor to work on your behalf. I look forward to our successful future as protectors of the natural and cultural resources found in Virgin Islands National Park!

Warmly,
Tonia Lovejoy, Executive Director
First Noble Samuel Scholarship Recipients
Noble Samuel was a Ranger in Virgin Islands National Park and the scholarship in his name is endowed by anonymous donors inspired by a man who generously shared his love for the Park with passion and humility. 

Friends of Virgin Islands National Park is happy to announce that this year there will be two recipients of the Scholarship available to St. John youth attending college. Ki’Janne’ Alfred and Lila Uzell will each receive an award of $5,000. 

The decision to award two talented students rather than one was made possible thanks to the quality of scholarship applicants and the success of Friends of Virgin Islands National Park’s recent Villas For The Park fundraiser that exceeded expectations.
Playground Reconstruction Project
Community Meeting
Visitor Center Pavilion
Thursday, December 16 at 5pm

Join us for an update on approved plans for the playground and give us your feedback! A child's gateway to the Park, the playground outside of the Virgin Islands National Park headquarters is the ideal location for integrating natural landscapes, cultural history, trail guides, community meeting areas, and play structures. After being hit by two category five hurricanes in 2017, the playground needs to be completely rebuilt and is expected to cost over $500,000.
Visitor Experience
We know that good conservation work includes connecting people with their environment. The more we can promote the
responsible enjoyment of the park, the more people will come to love and value its protected resources.

With Park visitation at particularly high levels, we produced a Visitors Guide instead of our usual year end appeal brochure as a resource to help people enjoy our Park responsibly! Please use it and share it!
Friday With Friends: Explore and learn about Virgin Islands National Park through a series of hikes, nature & culture walks, and turtle talks. Join us! These seminars run from November 2021 to June 2022 and are free for members with a suggested $30 donation for non-members.  Participants must register as space is limited. 
1st Friday – Native Plants Walk & Talk
2nd Friday – Annaberg Culture & History Tour
3rd Friday – Turtle Talk
4th Friday – Hike With Friends
Audubon Bird Count
Bird Count on St.John
Sunday December 19, 2021

The St. John Audubon bird count is Sunday December 19. If you would like to sign up as a bird counter, please email Ranger Laurel Brannick at laurel_brannick@nps.gov 

If you are interested in learning more about birds on our island or need a refresher on our birds before the count please view this wonderful presentation by Ranger Laurel recorded last year.
Tree Planting On North Shore
The long term protection of our beaches against erosion depends on the work we do today! The Trail Crew supported by amazing volunteers and local horticulturalist, Eleanor Gibney have planted some 150 trees on Trunk and Francis this month. This adds to the over 500 planted on North Shore beaches last year!

The plants are initially cultivated in nurseries before being planted on our shores. The species planted include buttonwood, seagrape, turpentine, false nutmeg, orange manjack, white cedar, frangipani and tyre palm. These species tend to be salt tolerant and have far-ranging root systems that help keep the sand and soil together.

Please help us protect these plants by keeping clear of the new trees and marked areas.
Volunteer On Our Trails: Spend a Tuesday or Thursday with us helping maintain the 27 miles of trails in the park as well as a number of historical sites and ruins! Work locations and meeting points and times for each week are posted on our social media pages every Monday. 
Turtle Protection
Our sea turtle nesting season is going strong with 31 nests laid and some 3,000 hatchlings headed on their way17! Protecting the nests of these endangered species is critical.

An equally important aspect of the work of the Sea Turtle Monitoring and Protection Team is education. The team regularly hosts students and visits schools, does talks and seminars including Friday With Friends, and works on maritime outreach to encourage a higher level of awareness among boaters.

Materials available on our website include critical contact numbers and guidance on how to swim and snorkel responsibly with these majestic creatures!
Useful Numbers for Park Stewards