Seeking Good on St. John

Letter to the Editor:

With so many growth concerns happening on St. John, it is easy to feel discouraged and miss seeing the good.

I happened to witness something WONDERFUL at Trunk Bay for the past few weeks.

What I first noticed was a number of our local native kids playing on the beach.

I knew a few of them, so we got into a conversation as I was headed out for a snorkel.

They started asking me about snorkeling — what was it like? Was it hard? Was I afraid? There were numerous questions again after I returned.

I encouraged them to try it — that it was an incredible world — being under the sea and watching the creatures in their habitat.

There was a lot of “I’m afraid!” and overall a combination of anxiety and doubt, mixed with excitement and possibility!

I saw the same kids again the following week again at Trunk Bay. They excitedly came over.

I found out that Miss Laurel Brannick from the National Park, had worked with their teacher Miss Tyler at Sprauve school and her 13 students to explore the underwater world of fish. Miss Tyler had applied for a grant from Friends for her fourth grade class to help local kids learn more about their island! They told me that they were very afraid, but were going to try snorkeling for the first time!

I was there when this group of kids returned from their first “official” snorkel with Laurel.

The excitement level; the awe in their voices when they expressed overcoming their fears; the fish that they saw — was an absolute joy to experience! They told me that Laurel helped them “not be afraid!” At the snack bar, I chatted with another group of students who I did not know who were excitedly volunteering information about their incredible experience!

Congratulations to Miss Tyler, Friends of the Park, Laurel and everyone involved in this program.

These are the kinds of experiences that both personally empower kids and help make them true stewards of our island’s natural resources.


Bonny Corbeil