Photo: Kayden Richards, Friends Photographer in Residence
Greetings!
The new year brings with it the opportunity for reflection as well as a sense of hope and possibility! The renowned marine biologist and oceanographer, Sylvia Earle recently posted: "Half the coral reefs are either gone or are in a state of sharp decline. The good news? We still got about half of them left. We can reverse to a very large extent the harm we have imposed, because now we know. Knowledge is the superpower of the 21st century. Even the smartest people alive when I was born did not know what 10-year-olds today have available to them. That’s truly cause for hope."

In the case of our coral reefs, we know that wearing sun-protective clothing and reef-safe sunscreen while in the ocean is a contribution each and every one of us can make. We also know what as an organization we will continue to support programs related to the research and treatment of stony coral tissue loss disease (SCTLD), the eradication of invasive lionfish, the maintenance and management of anchor-less mooring fields, and mangrove research and planting, among others.

Even as we focus on how full our half glass is on St. John, our ability to be resilient and flexible will continue to be tested. In the past week, we had to make the decision to switch both our upcoming Annual Meeting and Annual Gala to virtual events. We hope that you will join us wherever you are to learn about the current marine landscape in the Virgin Islands from our Annual Meeting's keynote speaker, Dr. Paul Jobsis, Director for UVI Center for Marine & Environmental Studies. And then switch gears and have some Annual Gala fun at home! This important fundraising event will include park trivia, multiple opportunities to win great raffle prizes, and an online auction!

As I have said before, good conservation work does more than address the environmental challenges we see today, it connects people with their environment and invests in the future. This is why I am excited to announce the unveiling of Here, St.John! An oral history, Here, St.John serves to give voice to the heritage, culture, and natural history of our island as told by born St. Johnians and resident scientists. It is a small building block towards forging a healthier partnership between the Virgin Islands National Park and the local community. 

I wish you and your family a happy and healthy 2022! It is an honor to work on your behalf. Thank you for being a Friend!

Warmly,
Tonia Lovejoy, Executive Director
Friends Annual Meeting
Friday January 28
12PM to 1PM AST
Please join us for Friends of Virgin Islands National Park's Annual Meeting. This year-in-review look at the Friends is open to everyone and will be held virtually via zoom. Registered participants will receive zoom call information via email.

The Board of Directors will be swearing in new members, Dr. Paul Jobsis, Director of University of Virgin Islands Center for Marine & Environmental Studies, and St. John Administrator, Shikima Jones-Sprauve. Virgin Islands National Park Superintendent Nigel Fields will also be in attendance along with Deputy Superintendent Scott Simmons.
Our keynote speaker will be Dr. Paul Jobsis.
Here, St. John: Voices & Stories
Here, St.John is an oral history about Virgin Islands National Park and St. John made possible by a grant from the National Endowment For The Humanities. 

It serves to give voice to the heritage, culture and natural history as told by born St. Johnians and resident scientists. These stories recall historical details of the people and the natural life of the island that shape this place. 

St. John is a place that is much beloved by thousands of people from around the world. However it is not common to hear about the place from the perspective of the people who are from here. In creating Here, St.John we hope to take a small step towards changing that! 
Annual Gala
Saturday February 5, 2022
Enjoy an Enchanted, Fun Gala at Home Wherever You Are!

We have so much to celebrate! Join us for a fun virtual evening with friends and family! This year's Annual Gala to benefit Friends of Virgin Islands National Park includes Park Trivia, multiple opportunities to win great prizes, and an online auction!

Each February we count on seeing you, and raising critical funds. Thank you for celebrating our shared passion to protect and preserve the natural and cultural resources of Virgin Islands National Park! 
St. John Playground Project
Playgrounds are places of joy, adventure, and imagination, where children create memories to carry with them for the rest of their lives.
Throughout this year in addition to the regular projects we commit to, Friends is working with the National Park Service and the community to rebuild the playground in front of the Park Visitor Center that was damaged in the 2017 hurricanes. This is a big expensive project with a funding goal of $800,000 so every donation will make a critical difference!

Thanks to a wonderful, generous gift from Dr. Steven and Jann Paul of $350,000, as well as smaller donations from some 100 individuals and businesses we are halfway to our goal and hope to break ground this year!
Sea Turtle Love
Our sea turtle nesting season is slowing down. The nest count this season is 31 hawksbill nests with some 3,000 hatchlings headed on their way so far! Select beaches are still being regularly monitored for any new nesting activity with five nests incubating!

In addition, Adren Anderson and Willow Melamet, the Turtle Program co-ordinators will be presenting at the Southeast Regional Sea Turtle Network meeting in Alabama at the end of this month. This biennial scientific meeting aims to advance the diversity of sea turtle knowledge and conservation across the region.
Meet our Turtle Team and learn more about this endangered species and the work we do at one of the following:
  • Turtle Info Table: Every Tuesday and Thursday until June from 9AM to 11AM at Maho.
  • Friday With Friends Turtle Talk: Every third Friday until June. Free for members. Learn more and register here.
  • Unique Sea Turtle Boat & Snorkel Excursion: Every second Sunday until June from St. Thomas and St. John. Learn more and purchase ticket here.
Park Visitor Guide
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!
Useful Numbers for Park Stewards