You should have been here last year!
Fifth grade students from the Guy H. Benjamin Elementary School learned an environmental lesson during a beach clean-up at Brown Bay on Wednesday, October 14.
For the teachers, the trip did evoke memories of last year’s hike, when that group of students met a Cuban national arriving on the isolated beach, ending his quest for freedom. This year the only civic lesson learned was that the ocean’s trash is still washing up on the shores of St. John.
The students enjoyed lunch, snacks and a chance to wade in the pristine waters off the sandy beach after hiking the 0.8 mile trail from the shooting range at Hurricane Hole to the northeast shore facing the British Virgin Islands.
The sandy, eastern portion of the beach looked relatively clean of debris when the students set off to collect, tally and bag plastics and other sea-borne trash along the coral-laced shoreline on the wind-swept west end of the bay under the supervision of VINP Education Specialist Laurel Brannick-Bigrig.
Before they left the beach in mid-afternoon to hike back to their awaiting taxi driver, Ken Marsh, the student crew had collected a few hundred plastic bottles and containers, an assortment of shoes, sandals and soles, a half-dozen fishing buoys and two pieces of giant rope. The collected flotsam and jetsam filled a half-dozen reinforced trash bags which were left for a VINP crew to pick up by boat.
Not to be outdone by last year’s clean-up trip, the students did haul back a bag of sun-bleached bones — most of what they assumed was the skeleton of a deer — which they found on the shoreline.
They were hoping a teacher will help them reassemble it.