How are you? I am pleased and honored to be writing to you as the new Executive Director of the Friends of VI National Park.

Summer is fully upon us on St. John! Our seas glistening that gorgeous green-blue hue are calm, as are the streets of Cruz Bay. For the next few weeks, we review requests for support from Virgin Islands National Park for the coming year. Great ideas, research proposals, continued projects, and new suggestions come to the table!

Alongside each project or proposal is a budget, and next to that is a question mark. We have to make tough decisions and do our best to predict the funds we can raise. Your invaluable support is the difference between projects going ahead or not! Thank you to everyone who has already responded to the summer appeal that we recently mailed out. Your support matters!

One exciting new program that is happening is the establishment of an education endowment in honor of Mr. Noble Samuel, a great Virgin Islands National Park Ranger, and beloved community leader.

A few months ago a kind couple visited the Friends office to share a story about how they met Mr. Samuel in 1968. Through his interpretative talks at Caneel, Mr. Samuel opened their eyes to St. John. They fell in love with the island and bought a vacation home for their children to grow up in. Now, their children are grown with children of their own and they want to give back to the island with a legacy gift.

Their generous anonymous gift will offer a yearly college scholarship and paid summer internship in perpetuity to St. John youth! What a legacy, and what an honor for the Friends to award the Noble Samuel college scholarship year after year!

I look forward to fulfilling the Friends mission with your ongoing support and connecting with you more in the coming months.

Tonia Lovejoy, Executive Director
Friends Appoints Tonia Lovejoy As Executive Director
Join us in congratulating Tonia Lovejoy as the new Executive Director of Friends of Virgin Islands National Park! 

“After a competitive hiring process, Tonia’s expertise, experience and work ethic stood out,” shared Chairman of the Board Andy Rutnik. “Her candidacy received unanimous approval from the Board of Directors. We look forward to supporting her leadership.” 

Tonia joined the Friends in 2016. Since that time she has made her mark effectively directing and expanding the organization’s fundraising efforts, notably following the hurricanes of 2017 and more recently during the pandemic. She looks forward to ensuring that the Friends - its caring members, volunteers, donors and sponsors – continues to be the Park’s best friend.
The Inspiration Of Ranger Noble Samuel
"...his love for the uniqueness of St. John, its natural beauty, culture and history was evident whenever he shared."
We are happy and proud to announce a new scholarship opportunity for St. John youth! The Noble Samuel Scholarship benefits from an endowment by wonderful donors who wish to remain anonymous. They fondly remember a man and a Virgin Islands National Park Ranger who generously shared his love for our park with passion and humility.

The scholarship is aimed at St. John youth who need encouragement to attend college (the University of the Virgin Islands or another university) and includes a paid internship opportunity with Friends to gain conservation-related work experience.
Sea Turtle Nesting Season Update
This past week alone three new sea turtle nests were laid! This brings our total nest count this season to 15. We also had a nest hatch leaving behind the beautiful little flipper marks of the hatchlings making their way to the ocean.

There are currently 12 nests incubating on St. John with one projected to hatch any night now. After a nest hatches the Park's Turtle Protection Team waits 3-5 days giving hatchlings the time they may need to naturally emerge on their own before conducting a nest excavation. During a nest excavation the team digs down into the egg chamber and examines the contents of the nest. Excavations yield valuable data on clutch size, hatch and emergence success, and provides the opportunity to release any stragglers that may be left in the egg chamber.

We hope this next month brings many more nesting females to our shores to lay their eggs. Thank you all for your continued support and your love of sea turtles.
Villas For The Park 2021
Online Auction & Fundraiser
November 12 to 26, 2021

We are currently soliciting villa and hotel donations for our 5th Annual Villas For The Park auction! If you would like to donate a stay in your villa or hotel, please contact Jennifer Stone at or (340) 779-4940

Huge thanks to the places who have already signed up and and donated incredible stays: Astral Villa, Garden By The Sea, Kia Ora Villa, Moondance Villa, On A Clear Day, The Hills St. John, and Villa Calypso.
Paddle The Park Registration Open
Welcome to the 9th Annual Paddle The Park!
Maho to Hawksnest on Sunday, November 7
Friends of Virgin Islands National Park Paddle the Park SUP and kayak race gets our season off to a fun start and raises funds for programs like turtle protection, mangrove research and restoration, and coral reef protection.

The downwind paddle event is open to all ages and all skill levels so the whole family can join in the fun!

Want to see your business recognized as a friend of the Park? Email Jennifer Stone to become an event sponsor today!
Thanks to our 2021 flagship sponsors 340 Real Estate Company, Maho Crossroads, VI Expedition Company, and USVI Tourism.
Photographer In Residence
Inspiration from our 2021-2022 season Photographer-In-Residence, Kayden Richards. For more of his beautiful visual record of our park, visit his gallery.
Useful Numbers for Park Stewards
VINP NPS Visitors Center in Cruz Bay
(340) 776-6201, ext 238 /

VINP NPS Park Ranger Hotline
(866) 995-8467

Report Sea Turtle Nesting Activity - (340) 643-8560 /

Report Injured Turtles/STAR Network (340) 690 0474
Was $30, Now $15
Was $55, Now $27
Was $35, Now $25