April 18, 2002 – Earth Day is officially Monday, but observances aimed at reminding folks to show respect for the planet they call home already are under way on St. Croix, and a full day of activities is planned for Saturday on St. John.
St. Croix fair through Friday
An ecology fair sponsored by the St. Croix Environmental Association that opened Wednesday at St. George Village Botanical Garden on St. Croix continues Thursday and Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
While the event is aimed at school children, the public is invited to visit. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Planning and Natural Resources Department, other agencies and businesses that deal with ecological issues have displays set up and experts on hand to talk about their organizations' services and answer questions.
In talking with young people about the fragility of Earth, the exhibitors are "exposing them to it at a young age, so by the time they get older they'll be able to preserve it," Vanessa Peter, SEA administrative assistant, said.
Marcia Taylor, education programs coordinator at the Center for Marine and Environmental Studies on the University of the Virgin Islands St. Croix campus, said some eco-fair participants have slide shows and others are offering nature walks.
St. John events Saturday
On Saturday, the St. John Community Foundation and the V.I. National Park will co-sponsor several Earth Day events, starting off with an island-wide cleanup from 8 a.m. to noon.
Anyone wanting to join in can pick up trash bags and gloves at the Lumberyard Shopping Complex or at the East End trash bin. Volunteers willing to provide trucks to haul the collected bags of trash to the Susannaberg dump are asked to call Rob Crane at 776-6116.
For those interested in something more adventuresome than roadside pickups, the National Park is looking for volunteers to clean up some remote park beaches that can't easily be reached by land. If you're available, call either of the coordinating park rangers, Deanna Somerville or Pat Dinisio, at 776-6201.
Park Deputy Superintendent Judy Shafer explained that currents send flotsam and jetsam toward Haulover, Brown and Menebeck bays, all East End locations difficult to clean up from land. "It accumulates," she said. If at least a dozen volunteers come forward, Shafer said, the Park Service will provide a boat to send them to those beaches for an Earth Day cleanup.
In Cruz Bay Park, the community's annual Earth Day program of exhibits, demonstrations and information-sharing will run from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Exhibits will include art created from recycled garbage by Kevin O'Connell and environmentally safe consumer products.
The St. John Community Foundation will unveil the island's new Way-Finding sign system during the park exhibition hours. The signs, designed by Nancy Ryan, will be posted around St. John to provide directions for tourists. "They're colorful and easily identifiable," Mary Blazine, the Community Foundation executive director, said.
No information could be obtained on Earth Day observances on St. Thomas.
Earth Day was established on April 22, 1970, to bring attention to the Earth's plight. It is celebrated all over the country. For more information on its history, other planned observances, teaching guides and more, visit the National Center, Earth Day and Envirolink web sites. Or just go to your favorite search engine and type in "Earth Day 2002."
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