Good Morning, Good Morning! I received a phone call a few weeks ago from the Commodore of the Coral Bay Yacht Club, Leah Hansen, about a young lady from Virginia who was working towards her Girl Scout Gold Award. The project she choose to dedicate 80 hours towards was the coordination and execution of a clean up on the shores of Coral Bay. I asked Leah to connect us to chat about the cleanup that is happening this weekend. And, last week, I had the opportunity to speak to this bright 17-year-old about the motivation behind her choosing of this particular project and the information she wanted to share about the event.
Carina Jones is no stranger to St. John. Her mother, Catherine, owns a home in Coral Bay and Carina visited for the first time when she was in third grade. In more recent years, they arrived for a brief stay just prior to COVID-19 hitting the USVI and their “two weeks turned into forever.” She remembers traveling down at that time and recalled the airlines being empty just before all of the mandates hit.
They spent their two weeks and then it was “hard to get home.” So, they stayed…
She spent a month in Coral Bay, snorkeling and scuba diving and attending school remotely. And, during this time, fell in love with the underwater world.
“I like seeing all of the different coral reefs,” she told me.
She developed an interest in the health of the waters and sea life during this time. And, although Carina is pretty determined to take a career path in the arts, this newfound passion led her to her choice to coordinate a cleanup of the shores of Coral Bay in order to obtain her Girl Scout Gold Star Award.
A lot of you might be familiar with this award…I was not 🙂 So, I asked her to break it down for me. There are three awards, Gold Star being the third and highest honor, that lead to this 80 hour immersive project that is done solely by the Girl Scout without much outside assistance. The Bronze Award is the first that is done as a team with the rest of your Troop. Carina and her Troop made toys for the animals in a local shelter. The second is a Silver Award and, for that, Carina created a Pollinator garden in her hometown as a Memorial Garden for someone in her neighborhood that had passed recently. Her step-brother constructed the memorial bench in the garden as the other half of her two person team for this second award.
The Girl Scout Gold Award, equivalent to that of Eagle Scout status in the Boy Scouts, requires that the Scout not only put in the 80 hours of work, but also track all of those hours and provide a review of the activity they coordinated. And, provide others with resources to support the cause, long after it is over. Carina plans to create a QR code that folks can scan in order to learn ways that they can contribute to keeping their environment clean as this final piece of her project.
When I asked her how she would track the success of her Coral Bay Shoreline Cleanup, she simply said it would be based on the turnout of volunteers for the event.
“People showing up and helping out.”
So….This weekend, if you are on island, stop by to show this ambitious and caring young lady some support. More hands equals more trash off of the shorelines in this ecologically fragile environment containing mangroves, coral and a multitude of underwater life.
The cleanup-meetup is on Sunday, July 10 at the picnic tables near the Coral Bay dinghy dock (near Skinny Legs) at 7:30AM. Dependent upon the turnout, there may be three different areas of the shorelines surrounding Coral Bay that get a cleanup this weekend! If you are considering joining up with this awesome cause for a few hours of time on Sunday morning, Carina asks that you please fill out this very short form that she created ahead of time in order to register. Thanks to all of you, in advance, for your support on this one of a kind Coral Bay Cleanup!