Director of Service-Learning
Office of Service-Learning
4200 54th Avenue South
St. Petersburg, FL 33711
St. John: Spring Break 11
Twelve awesome and eager students and one staff member went to St. John, US Virgin Islands. One would ask, community service in the Virgin Islands? Yes and what a humbling, back-breaking experience. Our adventure began with a ferry ride from St. Thomas to St. John. We were picked up by Jeff Cabot, Volunteer Coordinator for the Friends of the Virgin Islands National Park. The Friends of the Virgin Islands National Park is a non-profit organization that works to maintain and protect the natural and cultural resources of the parks. We spent 9 days/8 nights camping at Cinnamon Bay Campground. After relaxing and getting settled on Saturday and Sunday, Monday was the day of work.
Our mornings (Monday-Friday) started out bright and early, grabbing instant breakfast, packing lunches, and driving about 25 minutes to get to the Johnny Horn Trail. We then hiked 2 miles in the National Park to our work site. Over the five days, we constructed 4 waterbars. A waterbar is a construction feature that helps to prevent erosion and flooding on the trails in the park. Because the park is so large, Cabot relies heavily on volunteer hours in order to do maintenance on trails. On the last and final day, we topped off the trip by constructing a rock bench that would let hikers overlook the vista and the ocean's scenery.
Not only were we able to enjoy nature's beauty, we were also able to enjoy history from hundreds of years ago. Taking in the sites of the Annaberg Sugar Mill, with Miss Olivia making dumb bread in Dutch ovens, has you traveling back in time. Thirteen different individuals worked and lived together and created memories that will last a lifetime. But beyond the memories that we made, we know that our service would be there for generations to come. To learn more about the Friends of the Virgin Islands National Park, visit www.friendsvinp.org. Maybe during your next visit to St. John, you can spend a day helping out too!!