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Earth Day Kickoff Set for Monday


The Friends of V.I. National Park will kick off its annual Earth Day celebration Monday by handing out “green giveaways” at the Marketplace shopping center.

“I’ll be giving out information you can take home and put on your fridge,” Friends program manager Audrey Penn said. The giveaway runs from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

In addition to information from various agencies participating in St. John’s Earth Day festivities later in the week, Penn will be handing out “green” bags and slide rules.

Although Earth Day is actually Friday, the Friends moved the event forward by a week to April 29 because of the Easter holiday. The day marks the 41st anniversary of Earth Day. The Friends group held Earth Day events since 2003.

The Friends will start the April 29 celebration with a Litter Stomp Parade hosted by the V.I. Waste Management Authority. It begins at 8:45 a.m. and runs from Julius E. Sprauve School to the park’s ballfield.

Penn expects Guy Benjamin School, Gifft Hill School and Sprauve School students to participate with posters in hand. She won’t reveal what the students plan for their posters, dances and other entertainment.

“It’s very competitive,” she said.

The Earth Day Environmental Fair runs from 9 a.m. 1 p.m. April 29, with exhibitors ringing the National Park ballfield. Students and adults are invited.

“Earth Day should be every day,” Penn said.

She spoke about how important it is for residents to minimize their impact on the island.

“We need to be mindful of plastic bags,” she said.

According to Penn, numerous agencies will set up to showcase what they have to offer. Additionally, she anticipates demonstrations, such as yoga and hula hooping.

Earth Day activities wrap up with a Reef Fest that runs from noon to 5 p.m. April 30 at Hawksnest Bay Beach. Exhibits, activities and events will happen in and out of the water throughout the day.

“It’s a marine-themed Earth Day fair,” Penn said.

Island-wide beach cleanups will be happening throughout Earth Week. Participants of the Friends’ Adopt-A-Beach/Trail program are asked to remove debris from their adopted beach/trail as part of an island-wide cleanup. The Adopt-A-Beach/Trail program encourages volunteer groups to adopt a site and become responsible for keeping it clean.

All events are free and open to the public, and all St. John schools and families are invited. Last year more than 700 St. John students attended the Earth Day Fair and more than 150 participants attended Reef Fest.

Volunteers are needed to help make these events a success. Those interested in volunteering for Earth Week or adopting a beach or trail should contact Audrey Penn at 779-4940.


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