Major Accomplishments & Goals

With the generous financial support of our donors, Friends of Virgin Islands National Park has played a significant role in helping protect and preserve VI National Park and will celebrate our 25th anniversary in 2013. Below is just a sample of the projects and programs that Friends funding has supported over the years:
SCA Trail Crews — During the last eleven summers, teams of young conservationists improved more than 65 miles of Park trails ($316,000). 
Boat Moorings – The Friends installed 220 moorings in 10 bays to protect turtle habitat and coral reefs from anchors’ damage. More recently, 25 day-use, fishing and dive moorings, and 125 storm moorings were installed in Hurricane Hole in the Coral Reef National Monument ($593,000). 
Eco-Camps – Hundreds of 7-16 year old Virgin Islands youth have spent two to four nights at camp in the Park learning about the island’s terrestrial and marine eco-systems at Eco-Camp, Science Camp and Ranger-in-Training Camp ($376,000).
Archeology Program – Uncovering and preserving pre-historic Taino and St. John plantation era artifacts and renovating the archeology labs to create a museum ($861,000).
 
The Friends closely monitors projects for which we raise funds. We assure that projects are conducted on schedule and that funds are expended effectively. We invite you to learn more about Friends’ Programs.
 
Our Board of Directors are dedicated, our staff is skilled, our accomplishments are admirable, and our reputation is that of an organization that gets good things done for the park and St. John.
 
Early each year, Virgin Islands National Park submits a support request to the Friends’ Board of Directors. The Board carefully evaluates each request within the context of our mission and funding priorities. Projects and programs that further efforts previously funded and those that involve volunteers are of most interest to us.
 
Looking toward the future, we work closely with the park superintendent and park staff to develop new projects, set priorities, and apprise philanthropic individuals and organizations of opportunities for supporting Virgin Islands National Park.
 
Currently, over 60% of our support comes from the generous donations of individuals, with the remaining 40% from corporations, private foundations, events, and proceeds from the Friends of the Park Store. In 1999, we received a large gift which allowed us to establish an endowment of $1,700,000.
 
Friends provides $500,000 to $600,000 in funding to support programs and projects in Virgin Islands National Park each year.
 

Goals for Fiscal Year 2013

The Friends’ Board of Directors recently approved an ambitious program plan for 2013 valued at almost $500,000.  Below are the details of our program plan which includes many of our traditional projects as well as some new ones.  

Cultural Resource Preservation Projects

  •      Annaberg Cultural Demonstrations ($1,500 - funded): Provides supplies for the Annaberg Living History program which consists of a baker baking bread in a “Dutch Oven”, and a gardener maintaining and interpreting a subsistence garden plot.
  •      Archaeology Museum Exhibits ($18,000 - partially funded): Complete the deesign and installation of exhibits in the newly renovated Heritage Center and
  •      Archaeology and Heritage Program($105,000 - funded): Contined ongoing support for the archaeology program, covering stipends and other costs for interns and international collaboration with the University of Copenhagen, and coordination of research volunteers and projects.
  •      Cultural Evening at Cinnamon Bay ($9,600 - funded): Drummers under the leadership of Eddie Bruce will tell the story of the history of the “African Drum” and its use as a communication tool. Other cultural performers will also participate.
  •      Folk Life Festival ($12,000 - funded):  ($12,000 - funding needed): This is the 22nd anniversary of the festival and will focus on sugar production in the Danish West Indies. It will also feature traditional dance and music, storytelling, arts and crafts.
  •      Hassel Island ($18,000 - funded): Conservation of metal artifacts uncovered at the Creque Marine Slipway and within the head house. 
  •      Publication of ICOFORT 2010 Meeting Proceedings ($4,200 - funding needed) Fund costs of publishing the proceeds of the ICOFORT meeting held here in 2010. The studies address and promote the preservation of historic fortifications and military heritage.
  •      Submerged Cultural Resource Recovery ($48,000 - funded) Conduct an archeological survey in park waters along the north shore between Johnson's Reef to Windswept Point and Cinnamon Beach.
  •      Post-Emancipation Interpretation Program ($15,000 - funding needed) Produces four wayside signs that focus on the history of cattle and their ecological legacy on St. John and in VI National Park.
  •      Recovery & Relocation of Historical Anchor ($1,500 - funded as part of archeology program) Recover and replace a large, historic anchor to VI Coral Reef National Monument.

Education Projects

  •      Earth Day Fair and Reef Fest ($6,000 - funded): As part of a week of Earth Day activities, an Earth Day Environmental Fair will be organized for local school kids. Through hands-on teaching methods, story-telling, and environmental demonstrations, the youth of St. John will learn about ways to respect and preserve the world around them. In an aquatic component, called Reef Fest, youth will participate in a day of learning on the marine resources of St John.

  •      Eco-camps ($35,000 - funded) Funds at least 120 school children to attend the Eco-camps, Science camp, and Ranger-in-Training camp at VIERS. Kids experience 3-5 days in the park learning about marine and terrestrial eco-systems.

  •      Ranger-in-Training Camp ($7,500 funded) Provides additional education days to Eco-Camps for ranger skills training to give middle and high-school students an opportunity to engage in everyday activities of a park ranger and apply resource knowledge learned.

  •      Scholarship Fund ($3,600 - funding needed): Provides three $1000 scholarships to VI students studying natural sciences at the university level.

  •      School Kids in the Park -- SKIP ($38,400 - partially funded): The flagship of our environmental education program for children, the project funds small ($500 max) grants for teachers to use VINP as a teaching/learning resource, and provides transport for ranger-led field trips into the park. This year an additional component will take 500 middle school children to Hassel Island.

  •      Educational Wayside Exhibits and Signs ($25,000 - funded) Repair or replace damaged and faded interpretive signs throughout the park to improve visitor experience and understanding of park resources. It is estimated that about 20 signs need urgent attention.


Natural Resource Protection Projects

  •      Accessible Trails ($42,000 - funded): Complete the handicapped-accessible boardwalk at Francis Bay. The first half of this ADA compliant nature trail was completed in 2009, over 700 feet of boardwalk remain unfinished.
  •      Accessibility Assessment ($4,000 - funded) Support for a comprehensive accessibility assessment throughout the park to identify areas of opportunity for improved access and target barrier removal.
  •      Trail Rating System ($4,000 - funded)  Develop a trail rating system for all trails, similar to those used on ski slopes, within VI National Park.  Once the rating is determined for all trails, a new brochure, signage, and web pages will be developed in subsequent phases.
  •      Moorings for Large Boats ($70,000 - funded) Installing 14 moorings for boats 60'-100' in overall length. This completes the mooring program and helps make VINP an anchorless park which protects coral reefs, seagrass beds and marine life. VINP is providing $40,000 of additional funding to the project.

  •      Lionfish Response ($2,000 - funded) Support efforts to reduce lionfish populations in Virgin Islands National Park and VI Coral Reef National Monument. This project will primarily be used to put together lionfish capture kits that will be used by NPS, USGS, NOAA and other divers when working in Park and Monument waters.

  •      Beach Restoration ($10,000 - funding pending) Protects and stabilizes National Park beaches by planting native trees and vegetation to prevent erosion.

  •      SCA Trail Crews ($42,000 - funding needed) A Summer Trail Crew program which, in a departure from the past, will be non-camping crews that come to work daily. It will focus on kids from St. John and St. Thomas; they will work on trail repair and maintenance, and will include an environmental education component. They will repair/improve approximately 10 miles of park trails.

  •      Blue Flag Program ($1,500 - funded) Provide ongoing funding for the water quality tests at Blue Flag beaches such as Trunk Bay.

  •      Picnic Tables for Beaches ($12,000 - funding needed) Construct wheelchair accessible picnic tables and install them at the beach pavilions.

  •      Smoke-free Beaches ($1,600 - funded) Assisting in making park beaches smoke-free by supporting costs for signs and cigarette butt receptacles.

  •      Trails Program (21,600 - funded) Covers the stipend for the Volunteer Field Coordinator and provides supplies and materials for the trail and beach cleanups and the walkup volunteer program.

   

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