Greetings!

We all conserve for different reasons. Some worry about sea turtles, while others worry more about birds or trees. Some of us just conserve across the board.

In many cases there are no questions as to why we do what we do at the Friends. From clearing trails to monitoring sea turtle nests, the ways we help protect and preserve in the park are clear, measurable, and necessary.

However, conservation work is not always 'clear-cut' in the 21st Century. In our park, decisions regarding the re-development of Caneel Bay, questions about banning pollutants like oxybenzone (found in non-reef safe sunscreens), and ways to approach parking are all on the table.

Please join me on Thursday, November 18th to learn more about the Conservation Conversations we have here at the Friends, and what action we are geared up to take with your support!

Lastly, special thanks to the many volunteers who Adopted a Beach in the month of October for International Coastal Cleanup Week.

Warmly,
Tonia Lovejoy, Executive Director
Conservation Conversation
Thursday November 18
12pm to 1pm

Join us for a virtual open house to meet Friends new Executive Director, Tonia Lovejoy and get an update on program and fundraising priorities for the 2022 fiscal year. A 20 minute presentation will be followed by an opportunity to ask questions.
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
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. 
Villas For The Park Registration Open
Online Auction & Fundraiser
November 12 to 26, 2021

Escape to our beautiful islands and help preserve and protect our national park!

Register now for the Villas For The Park auction and see what amazing villas have donated stays for groups and budgets of all sizes! 

There is still time if you would like to donate a stay in your villa or hotel, please contact Jennifer Stone at (340) 779-4940 or jstone@friendsvinp.org 
Thanks to the villas and hotels that have donated stays: Villa Calypso, Astral Villa, Banana Tree Villa, Beach House on Hurricane Hole, Bombalassy Villa, Coral Caribe Villa, Dahlia Villa, Dream Come True, Fish Tales Cottage, Garden By The Sea, Gaia’s Pearl, Kia Ora Villa, Lime Time, Marketplace Suites, Moondance Villa, Nancy’s Folly, On A Clear Day, Sago Cottage, Sunset Ridge Villa, The Hills St. John, The Cottage At Battery Hill, The Green Iguana Hotel, The Other World Villa, Tropical Blessings, Villa Adagio, Villa Bonita, Villa Mirino, Wharfside Village Hotel, Windwardside Main House.
Turtle Love
It's been a turtley-awesome month on St.John! Nesting season is going strong with 27 nests laid and 17 hatched. The team also spent time with a number of students talking about turtle species, and the importance of protecting these endangered creatures!

In addition, our Adopt a Sea Turtle Membership Drive was a success! Congratulations to the winners of the raffle: Teri Wibright who won the Vibe necklace, and Ruth Howard who won the gift bag!

Thank you to everyone who signed up or renewed their membership last month! Your support of our mission to help protect and preserve Virgin Islands National Park is valued and appreciated!
Baobab Tree Farewell
With heavy hearts we have to let you know that St. John’s beloved baobab tree on L’Esperance Trail has died.

Our team together with the park and local horticulturalist Eleanor Gibney have been waging a battle with the Mango Stem Borer (Batocera rufomaculata) for the past year. The Mango Stem Borer is native to Asia and has unfortunately been introduced to St. John.

While this is not a native plant it has significant cultural value to our island so our native plant team is looking at options to replace the baobab.
Teacher Mini Grants
Thanks to a grant from the National Park Foundation, Friends is able to offer mini-teacher grants of $500 for park field trips and/or classroom materials and project-based learning supplies to support meaningful environmental and cultural education experiences.

We were happy to be able to support Gifft Hill School teachers during Ocean Week and the school's Minimester and get students in the park for turtle talks, hiking, citizen science fish counting projects, trail maintenance volunteering and kayaking.

In addition, we are proud to support Lorraine (Ms. Pat) Richards who has been providing 26 Sprauve students with a home-schooling base for the last 18 months. Our park is an amazing classroom!
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 with multiple opportunities for learning because of its location and established use as a play area for island youth and a community meeting spot.

After being hit by two category five hurricanes in 2017, the playground and adjoining ball field suffered substantial damage. Plans for the playground are final and approved which means we need to get down to the business of raising the substantial amount of money needed for equipment, ground cover, construction, and ongoing maintenance! Our fundraising goal is $500,000.
Ocean Week Thanks
Thank you to the organizations, businesses, visitors and residents who helped clean up beaches during Ocean Week and who attended our seminars. Recordings of these seminars are now available online:

·     Rethink, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle presented by Kelly Lawson, Executive Director, Island Green Living Association.

·     Initiatives that Support Seagrass Meadows and Coral Reefs in the USVI presented by Danielle Olive, Fisheries Biologist I and Victoria Beasley, Wildlife Biologist II DFW-DPNR.

·     An Underwater Scavenger Hunt: Cryptic Fish of St. John presented by Lee Richter, Marine Biological Science Technician, National Park Service.
Park Ambassadors Wanted
Do you love Virgin Islands National Park? Would you like to be a part of its success? 

Friends is hiring Park Ambassadors/Sales Associates for the National Park Visitor Center and Park Shop in Cruz Bay. This is a great opportunity for someone who loves talking to visitors about our trails and beaches and who needs flexible hours!
Giving Tuesday
GivingTuesday is a global generosity movement unleashing the power of radical generosity. Created in 2012, GivingTuesday is a simple idea: a day that encourages people to do good and inspires hundreds of millions to give, collaborate, and celebrate generosity.
Useful Numbers for Park Stewards
This fridge magnet includes some useful numbers of park stewards as well as some tips and guidelines for visitors! If you have a villa or location on STJ where you could use one or more, please contact Jennifer Stone at jstone@friendsvinp.org