As you all know, the island suffered tremendous damage back in 2017. And while we have made significant progress in restoring the island in many places like our beaches and the majority of our business, there are still some areas that need attention.
Our children are our greatest resources, and currently their only public playground is in disrepair. Several play structures remain damaged, and the fencing around the area is either broken or missing entirely.
Friends of Virgin Islands National Park is planning to not only repair the playground that sits beside the National Park Visitor’s Center in Cruz Bay, but they have a revitalized vision for the area plus the adjacent grounds. However they need additional financial support. That is where I am hoping some of you may be willing to help.
Friends of the VI National Park has raised $2,200 of its $20,000 goal, according to its website. Let’s give them a little push today. You can make your tax-deductible donation here.
Here’s what Friends of the VI National Park had to say about the project:
The playground outside of the Virgin Islands National Park headquarters is the ideal location for integrating natural landscapes, cultural history, trail guides, community meeting areas, and play structures with multiple affordances (opportunities for learning) because of its location and established value/use as a community meeting spot.
After being hit by two category five hurricanes, the playground and ballfield next to the Virgin Islands National Park headquarters suffered substantial damage. Several play structures and the fencing surrounding the playground are in disrepair. In order to restore the area and provide a connection for children to the Park, a revitalized vision for the playground and adjacent grounds is warranted.
The playground has been traditionally used heavily by local families, afterschool programs, summer camp programs, as well as school groups, and park visitors. Currently, it is the only public playground on the island. Additionally, the playground and its surrounding grounds (Visitors Center, pavilion, ballfield and adjacent land) provide numerous community groups with a meeting area. Most significantly, VINP’s Interpretative Rangers currently use the locale as a staging/briefing area for the Reef Bay and L’Esperance guided hikes. With improved design, this area would be ideal for additional VINP interpretative activities.
By reimagining the playground and the use of its adjacent lands as a ‘Ridgetop to Reef’ playscape will increase environmental education opportunities by providing space for park interpreters to meet groups and interpretive signs that teach children about their Virgin Islands National Park.
Steps away from the base of the Lind Pointe Trail and the National Park pier, the playground is uniquely positioned to be a launching area to the Park’s beaches, peaks, and reefs. In this way the playground and its adjacent lands are the true ‘gateway’ into Virgin Islands National Park, in particular for youth. As such, the opportunity to teach children about the ecological and cultural significance of the park starts in the playground!
Designing the playscape with these goals in mind means using play elements that integrate the Taino, Danish settlements, local flora and fauna, and play structures that mimic the ecosystems of St. John. For example, the ‘Ridgetop to Reef’ playscape includes a shaded gathering area, grass bermed amphitheater-like seating area, picnic tables, a native plant garden with interpretative signage, an enclosed play area for 0-4 years old, and multiple sensory play areas for ages 5-9 years and 10-12 years old with additional interpretative signage.
Again, if you are willing and able to help, please do. Every little bit helps. Here is the link to donate once again: https://friendsvinp.org/playground-repair. Thanks all!!