Friends of VINP Hosting Second Annual Earth Day Fair April 20

Friends of the V.I. National Park personnel are gearing up for the second annual Earth Day Environmental Fair on Friday, April 20, from 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the VINP ball field across from Mongoose Junction in Cruz Bay.

The free event is open to the public and will include a number of exciting activities, according to Friends program director Kristen Maize.

“We have a ton of new participants this year,” said Maize. “It’s going to be bigger and better than last year. It’s really exciting.”

Students from all schools on the island will have the chance to learn about local gardening, landscaping and bush tea preparation, explained Maize.

“Also we’re going to have a fun planting activity for the kids where each one will plant a native seed and be able to take it home with them,” said Maize.

In addition to gaining gardening expertise, students will be able to brush up on their painting and digging skills.

“We’re going to have a mock archeology dig for the kids where they will be able to dig up treasures,” Maize said. “We’ll have recycled art projects and also the St. John Historical Society has made of a drawing of the Annaberg School House. The kids will paint the drawing and the society will choose the best one and put it on their Web site.”

Information on Natural Resources
VINP representatives will be on hand with demonstrations of fish traps, mooring balls, coral reefs and other park resources.

“A lot of the natural resources on St. John will be included in demonstrations for the kids,” said Maize.

Animal Care Center volunteers will also be in attendance at the fair, Maize added.

“There will be great animal awareness  information for the kids,” she said. “The kids will be able to interact with animals and learn some basic skills about the animals.”

Children will also be able to tour rescue boats, learn about solar energy and enjoy performances by the Love City Pan Dragons, according to Maize.

“The list just goes on and on,” she said. “We have so many fun activities planned, we’re really excited.”

In a new venture this year, the students will compete in an exciting game, Maize added.

“Once the kids arrive they will be given a questionnaire and a pencil and be asked to find answers to different questions based on their age groups,” said Maize. “This way the kids will interact more with the presenters and volunteers. Some of the questions will be easy but for others they will have to ask the participants questions.”

Earth Day Should Be Everyday
It’s important for students to learn about their environment, explained Maize.

“I know Earth Day is only once a year, but it really should be every day,” she said. “It’s important for kids to learn these messages and being able to interact with the different community and government groups will show them all the resources available here. Plus, it’s fun.”

The Earth Day Fair will be followed by beach and trail cleanups on Sunday, April 22.

Participants in the Friends’ Adopt-a-Beach/Trail program, are asked to remove debris from their adopted beaches or trails as part of an island-wide clean-up effort.

Anyone interested in joining the clean-up, adopting a beach or trail, or volunteering for the Earth Day Fair, should contact Maize at 779-4940.