Photo Credit: Tom Larson / Team River Runner

To say that many hands make light work is an understatement when it comes to the Friends of Virgin Islands National Park. In fact, we have seen many helping hands make our mission a reality time and time again!

Friends hosted the 18th Annual Beach to Beach Power Swim on Sunday, May 30th. This incredible open-water race was made possible - and successful - thanks to over 150 volunteers. From the St. John Rescue team and volunteers on land, to the 30 safety paddlers and 10 boat captains out on the water, the Power Swim truly demonstrates St. John's community spirit!

Every week from November to May, trail crew volunteers help maintain the park's 27 miles of trails, clear historical ruins, help with native plant restoration, and assist the park archeology team! It is hot, sweaty work but they show up with a smile. In the season that just ended, well over 200 volunteers logged some 4,000 hours! Thank you doesn't come close to showing our appreciation!

Heading into the summer we will once again rely on volunteers to lend a hand! The Youth Summer trail crew will hit the beaten path to learn about trail maintenance, summer campers will join our Learn to Swim classes, and dozens of volunteers will learn to tread lightly along our shorelines looking for sea turtle tracks, and their gentle nests.

Our mission becomes a reality with members and supporters like you who engage, participate, and enliven our programs in the park. Thank you! Please keep in touch over your summer months and look forward to our upcoming 2021-2022 season announcements, including our Annual Gala held the first Saturday of February each year.

Tonia Lovejoy, Acting Director
2021 Beach To Beach Power Swim
Congratulations to all the swimmers! What an incredible day! Some of the 280 registered swimmers were veterans, coming together just like old times, such as Craig Barshinger and Alfredo del Olmo. Others were swimming the course for the first time, like 3-year-old Azalea Nesbitt. For the Friends and many participants, it will stand out as one of the best days of the 2020-2021 season!
Thank You To Volunteers And Supporters!

Thank You Sponsors! In particular our flagship sponsors: 340 Real Estate, St John Insurance Agency, St. John Hardware, and USVI Tourism.
Learn To Swim Program
We are excited to be back in the water teaching kids to swim! This year our program includes providing Red Cross Instructor and lifeguard training and summer employment for a group of fabulous youth, a Saturday swim meet at Oppenheimer for Summer Camp participants and their families, and Wednesday lessons for Sports, Parks and Recreation Summer Campers!
Youth Opportunities
Summer Trail Crew
A professional summer job opportunity provided by Friends of VINP for Virgin Island youth interested in conservation. This six week program is open to high school students (ages 15-19). Learn More.

YCC Youth Conservation Corps
Virgin Islands National Park offers this summer employment opportunity for youths ages 15 to 18. Learn More.
Jeffrey Matheny Scholarship
Friends invites applications for this scholarship program that aims to encourage study, among Virgin Islanders at the university level, in fields related to natural resource management and/or protection. Learn More.
Endangered Species Seminars
On Friday, May 21, Endangered Species Day, Friends held two virtual seminars highlighting some of the endangered species issues in Virgin Islands National Park beyond sea turtles, the most high profile of the endangered species on St. John.
Sea Turtle Program Call For Volunteers
Join the Turtle Patrol Team! Dedicated and trained volunteers who live on St. John monitor assigned beaches at least 1-2 times a week from July through November looking for sea turtle nesting activity. Nests are protected and monitored throughout the duration of incubation. Visit our turtle page for information on the program including training dates.
VINP Caneel Environmental Assessment
The National Park Service (NPS) will release the Engineering Evaluation and Cost Analysis (EE/CA) draft report on environmental conditions at Caneel Bay Resort on June 10, 2021 and begin a 30-day comment period to receive public input on the report and findings to date.

The NPS will hold two virtual public meetings on the EE/CA report, including:
  • A Community Learning Session on June 10 at 5:30 pm for NPS officials to provide attendees an overview of the draft report and findings, and
  • A NPS Listening Session on June 24 at 5:30 pm where the public will have an opportunity to provide oral comments on the draft report.
Friday With Friends
Explore and learn about Virgin Islands National Park through a series of hikes, cultural walks, paddles, and turtle talks.

June schedule:
  • June 4 - Traditional Cultural Uses of Plants in the Virgin Islands Walk
  • June 11 - Paddle & Explore Hurricane Hole
  • June 18 - Talk Turtles & Paddle Maho

Free for members!

Thanks to these sponsors for hosting the paddle tours: Virgin Islands Expedition Company, Virgin Islands Ecotours, and Reef2Peak.