Migratory Bird Festival at Amuseum Naturalis 9am to Noon Saturday, October 14th

The free Migratory Bird Festival will be held at Amuseum Naturalis from 9am-noon on Saturday, October 14th.

The public is invited to a free festival celebrating St. Martin’s migratory birds on Saturday, October 14th from 9am to noon at Amuseum Naturalis in French Quarter. The event will include the launch of two new bird coloring books: Soualiga Birds and Birds Around Me. The two books will be available for free at the event while supplies last. Kids can dive right into the books at the festival’s coloring station. Guests can also play fun bird games in the Amuseum’s gardens, learn about the science of bird tracking, and explore the museum exhibits and grounds.

“We’re super excited to bring back the Migratory Bird Festival with the launch of these two great new books!” explained Jenn Yerkes, President of the Les Fruits de Mer association. “ Each one is the latest coloring book in two popular series about local nature. And they both showcase St. Martin birds, including birds that migrate here each year!”

Soualiga Birds is the newest edition in the association’s multi-lingual Soualiga series. It invites young children to learn and practice writing the names of St. Martin birds in English, French, Spanish and Dutch. Like the other books in the Around Me series, Birds Around Me is bilingual in English and French, and is also a nature journal where kids can record their own observations and make their own drawings of local species.

In addition to discovering the new books, festival guests can participate in fun Birdsleuth Caribbean activities like Bird Bingo and the Bird Habitat Scavenger hunt. These activities were adapted specifically for the Caribbean, featuring local birds and nature. They are perfect for kids and families to enjoy in the Amuseum’s gardens.

“Migratory birds are truly amazing,” said Mark Yokoyama, co-founder of the Les Fruits de Mer association. “These birds travel thousands of kilometers each year and connect St. Martin with the rest of the Americas. We’re helping people learn more about them with a MOTUS station at the Amuseum. It uses antennas to track birds that are wearing tiny transmitters. It is one of the very first stations of its kind in the Caribbean.”

The Migratory Bird Festival will take place from 9am to noon on Saturday, October 14th. It will be held at Amuseum Naturalis at The Old House on the hill above Coconut Grove in French Quarter. The event is proudly sponsored by Delta Petroleum. For more information, visit http://lesfruitsdemer.com.

Soualiga Birds and Birds Around Me were produced with support from the Collectivité de Saint-Martin and the Agence nationale de la cohésion des territoires. The book project is supported by the Politique de la ville de Saint-Martin, implemented by the State and the Collectivité de Saint-Martin. Both books are also available for purchase on amazon.com worldwide, and as free downloads at http://lesfruitsdemer.com.

Trilingual Poetry Book by Lasana M. Sekou Launches Saturday with Signing and Free Give-away Event

6 Poems by Lasana M. Sekou is an introduction to the author’s work presented in English, French, and Spanish.

The public is invited to celebrate the launch of 6 Poems / 6 Poèmes / 6 Poemas by Lasana M. Sekou on Saturday, February 4. The launch and free give-away of the new book will be held at Amuseum Naturalis at The Old House in French Quarter from 9 am to 12 noon.

The author, St. Martin poet and writer Lasana M. Sekou, will be present to sign copies of 6 Poems, and light refreshments will be served for all to enjoy, said the Les Fruits de Mer association, publisher of the book. The launch event is part of the 32nd annual Black History Celebration organized island-wide by Conscious Lyrics Foundation.

The book presents six poems by Sekou in three languages: English, French and Spanish. It was created by Sekou and Les Fruits de Mer for distribution to students, schools, and the public. The internationally renowned author has published over 20 books, said Les Fruits de Mer. St. Martin and its people are often the focus of his writing.

“For the last 40 years, Sekou’s poetry has been a vital expression of St. Martin culture and identity. It was a privilege to develop 6 Poems together to help make his work accessible to more people, especially youth,” said Mark Yokoyama, editor at Les Fruits de Mer.

“We selected poems with themes of the island’s past and present, its traditions, elders, art, and spirit. We chose to present them in French and Spanish, as well as the original English, to make them more available to more people here. And we will be giving hundreds of copies to schools and students,” said Yokoyama, who is also an author.

The slim volume includes new translations by Alex Richards, Fabian Adekunle Badejo, and Jocelyne Illidge. A new exhibit in the Amuseum’s poetry garden will be unveiled at the launch event, featuring the poems from the book in three languages.

6 Poems is an outcome of the St. Martin literature panels and poetry in the park exhibits that Mark Yokoyama, Jenn Yerkes, and Les Fruits de Mer have initiated at Amuseum Naturalis. The association is known for its fascinating books for children and adults about St. Martin’s wildlife from the land, air, and sea,” said Sekou.

“It’s an honor to be one of the writers with work being made visible to young people, parents, teachers, visitors, all who visit the museum. With 6 Poems some of that writing can be taken home and into classrooms and media centers of schools throughout our island,” said Sekou.

The 6 Poems collection is also available as a free download from lesfruitsdemer.com, and for purchase on amazon.com worldwide. Teachers and youth group leaders interested in copies are encouraged to contact Les Fruits de Mer at info@lesfruitsdemer.com. Companies, organizations, or individuals interested in sponsoring copies for schools are encouraged to contact the association, said Yokoyama.

Free printed copies of 6 Poems by Lasana M. Sekou will be given to St. Martin schools as part of Les Fruits de Mer’s book give-away program, said Yokoyama. This project was funded by the Collectivité de Saint-Martin through Vie Associative. Permission to publish the poems in this volume was granted by House of Nehesi Publishers and Sekou.

New Poetry Exhibits at Amuseum Naturalis Showcase Local Authors

Reflections exhibits the poetry and paintings of Lady Ruby Bute.

There are two new outdoor poetry exhibits at Amuseum Naturalis in French Quarter. They both showcase poetry from recently released books by local authors. The Season of Storms exhibit presents poetry from S.O.S. Season of Storms by Fabian A. Badejo. An exhibit featuring the work of Lady Ruby Bute spotlights poems and paintings from her new book, Reflections.

“We are delighted to share these wonderful exhibits,” said Amuseum co-founder Jenn Yerkes. “Lady Ruby Bute and Fabian Badejo have been important contributors to St. Martin’s literature and arts for decades, and we are very proud to feature their work at the Amuseum.”

Season of Storms is a new exhibit of poetry by Fabian A. Badejo.

The Season of Storms exhibit focuses on Badejo’s poetry about Hurricane Irma, recent protests and the coronavirus pandemic. It also includes details from the book’s powerful cover art, painted by Ras Mosera.

The Reflections exhibit presents vivid poetry and paintings by Ruby Bute. Many of them highlight St. Martin heritage and traditions, from the outdoor market to J’ouvert morning festivities.

Amuseum Naturalis is located at The Old House in French Quarter. It is always free to visit, and all displays are now outdoors. Guests are welcome to make a self-guided visit any time during daylight hours, any day of the week. The new exhibits are on permanent display in the poetry area in front of the house. For more information, visit amuseumnaturalis.com.

These exhibits and other projects were made possible by support from the Collectivité de Saint-Martin and the Agence nationale de la cohésion des territoires.

Free Activity Books!

Sponsor Delta Petroleum has provided 100 free copies for individuals to pick up at Amuseum Naturalis.

The Les Fruits de Mer association has published a new activity book, Super St. Martin! This unique bilingual activity book invites young people to explore and celebrate the amazing nature and heritage of the island of St. Martin. It has over a hundred pages of discovery and fun, with mazes, word games, coloring pages, creative writing activities, and much more. The book features over 150 plants and animals that can be seen on St. Martin, including some that are only found here, and nowhere else in the world!

“We hope St. Martin kids and families will really enjoy this book, during the holiday season and beyond,” said author Jenn Yerkes. “It’s important for kids to have books about where they live. Imagine doing a word search with local names for birds, inventing short stories about this island’s night creatures, dreaming up a new kind of insect, or creating a beautiful floral pattern for a traditional dress!”

“Every activity is in both English and French, so it can also be a great tool for language learners,” added Mark Yokoyama, co-founder of Les Fruits de Mer.

One hundred free copies of Super St. Martin! are being given away at Amuseum Naturalis in December and January thanks to sponsor Delta Petroleum. Amuseum Naturalis is a free museum of nature and heritage located in French Quarter, St. Martin. It is open every day from sunrise to sunset.

The book is also available as a free download from http://lesfruitsdemer.com. Teachers and youth group leaders interested in copies are encouraged to contact Les Fruits de Mer at info@lesfruitsdemer.com. Companies or individuals interested in sponsoring copies for schools are also encouraged to contact the association. The book is also available on amazon.com worldwide.

Super St. Martin! was produced with support from the Collectivité de Saint-Martin, the Agence nationale de la cohésion des territoires, and Delta Petroleum.

Start the Growing Season Right with Free Plants from Amuseum Naturalis

The free plant stand at Amuseum Naturalis will have extra plants this month.

The beginning of the fall rainy season is a traditional time for planting on St. Martin. To take advantage of the growing season, stop by the Les Fruits de Mer association’s free plant stand at Amuseum Naturalis! Thanks to support from Delta Petroleum, they will have special plants available and some free books about plants.

“We have a free plant stand at Amuseum Naturalis that we stock all year, but right now is the best time to get those plants into the ground,” explained Les Fruits de Mer President Jenn Yerkes. “We give away about 1,000 plants every year. We focus on native tree seedlings, and heritage plants like herbs and fruit tree seedlings. We want to help people create a space for birds and other animals in their backyard or neighborhood. We also want to support local plant traditions.”

Some of the local tree seedlings include calabash, lignum vitae, soursop, coco plum and sugar apple. Heritage plants include paracetamol, stinging thyme, lemongrass and Malabar spinach. The association will be filling the free plant stand with extra stock for the rest of the month. On Saturday, September 25th, they will give away free copies of Plantilles: Plants of St. Martin from 9am to noon while supplies last.

“We are really happy to support the free plant program,” said Natalia Ayala, Delta Petroleum Island Manager. “At Delta St. Martin, gardening and plant traditions are really important to our employees, families and customers. We love that we can help bring life to the island.”

Delta Petroleum is the sponsor of the free plant stand at Amuseum Naturalis.

The free plant stand is located directly in front of Amuseum Naturalis, at The Old House in French Quarter. The plant stand and the museum are always free to visit. Guests are welcome to make a self-guided visit any time during daylight hours, any day of the week. For more information, visit amuseumnaturalis.com.

The Last Frontier

The Last Frontier is a new exhibit of etchings and memories of French Quarter by Sir Roland Richardson.

A new outdoor exhibit is now open at Amuseum Naturalis in French Quarter. The exhibit is titled The Last Frontier: Sir Roland Richardson’s French Quarter. It features etchings of people and places in French Quarter, and Richardson’s memories of the time he lived there. Visitors can come and enjoy the exhibit any time from sunrise to sunset, any day of the week.

“We are so excited to share this with St. Martin,” said Amuseum co-founder Mark Yokoyama, who developed the exhibit with Richardson. “It is an exhibit about art, and about French Quarter, and about St. Martin’s past. Sir Roland’s etchings aren’t as well-known as his paintings, but they are historical treasures. This exhibit presents them much larger than life size, and the detail is amazing. Combined with his memories, this is an exhibit that transports you to a time and place that no longer exists.”

The Last Frontier features eight Richardson etchings. Subjects include an etching of the house where Richardson lived in French Quarter, and The Old House, the historic building where Amuseum Naturalis is located. The text, taken from interviews with Richardson, reveals a French Quarter where traditions still survived on a rapidly changing island. He also shares insights into his artistic process.

Sir Roland Richardson remembers his time in French Quarter fondly, “I felt that was part of my real privilege, that opportunity to sleep with my doors open. I didn’t have any worries and I felt totally at home, but I felt really privileged to have out of every door or window where I looked, the natural landscape. I did a huge, huge body of work during those years.”

Amuseum Naturalis is located at The Old House in French Quarter. It is always free to visit, and all displays are now outdoors. Guests are welcome to make a self-guided visit any time during daylight hours, any day of the week. The Last Frontier is on permanent display just in front of the house. For more information, visit amuseumnaturalis.com.

This exhibit and other projects were made possible by support from the Collectivité de Saint-Martin and the Agence nationale de la cohésion des territoires.

Free Coloring Books at the Amuseum!

Free copies of the coloring book Endemic Birds of the West Indies are available at Amuseum Naturalis.

There are almost 200 birds that live only in the Caribbean. Some live only in a certain part of the region, and some live only on a single island. A new coloring book, Endemic Birds of the West Indies, features 50 of these special birds. Copies are available for free at Amuseum Naturalis in French Quarter.

“Kids are often amazed to learn that there are birds and other animals that live only on their island,” commented the writer, Mark Yokoyama. “These birds, and this book, can help them discover how special their home is. It is also a chance to take a bird tour of the Caribbean and see some of the incredible birds from other islands.”

“Endemic” means found only in a specific place. In the Caribbean that can mean just one island, like the Sisserou parrot in Dominica. Or it can be birds special to a region, like our Sugar Bird and the hummingbirds that live on St. Martin. The book features five birds that are found on St. Martin.

St. Martin’s Antillean Crested Hummingbird is one of the birds featured in the book.

The coloring book features beautiful illustrations by artist Christine Elder, and text by Mark Yokoyama. It was published by BirdsCaribbean. There are 50 coloring pages and fun activities. The book also explains why there are so many unique birds here, and how we can help them.

Anyone who wants a free copy can pick one up in the exhibit hall at Amuseum Naturalis on the hill above Galion beach in French Quarter. Teachers or youth leaders interested in multiple copies can email info@lesfruitdemer.com. The book can also be downloaded for free at: lesfruitsdemer.com/resources/books/

Amuseum Naturalis Announces July 7th Reopening

Amuseum Naturalis is located at The Old House in French Quarter.

After closing for lockdown, St. Martin’s free nature and heritage museum Amuseum Naturalis will be reopening in “park mode” for the public to enjoy safely! Starting Tuesday, July 7th, guests are invited to make self-guided visits during daylight hours to the outdoor areas, including the open-air Amuseum exhibit hall, and outside exhibit areas, viewpoints and gardens including the agriculture heritage displays, bush tea garden, and the St. Martin poetry exhibits.

Amuseum Naturalis is located at the historic Old House in French Quarter. It is created and run by the all-volunteer Les Fruits de Mer association, and presents more than 40 fascinating exhibits showcasing the unique wildlife, culture and history of St. Martin.

“With outdoor exhibits and beautiful views, we hope that the Amuseum can be a fun and safe place to enjoy nature and heritage during a tough time,” explained Les Fruits de Mer President Jenn Yerkes. “Our top concern is the safety of the community, so we ask that visitors follow safety instructions so we can stay open.”

St. Martin poetry exhibits showcase local authors.

To keep the community safe, properly worn masks are required for all visitors, as well as respecting physical distance of 2 meters between non-household members. Hand sanitizer will be available. Visitors will need to bring their own drinking water.

For now, guided group visits and activities are not available, to protect the community. However, teachers and youth group leaders are encouraged to contact info@lesfruitsdemer.com to find out about the many things that are currently offered to schools and youth groups, including free books and other free, fun educational resources.

The Amuseum features outdoor exhibits and scenic views.

Access to the indoor areas and services of the Amuseum is now available by appointment on a case-by-case basis. These include Soualibra, the free research library about St. Martin, and the free Heritage Preservation services. Those interested are invited to contact info@lesfruitsdemer.com for more information.

The Amuseum can also be visited virtually at any time at http://amuseumnaturalis.com/. The Amuseum@Home program of free ebooks, activities, short films and games based on St. Martin nature and heritage are available at http://www.lesfruitsdemer.com/category/athome/ or by visiting Les Fruits de Mer on Facebook. The free Heritage Backup program and tools are available at http://www.lesfruitsdemer.com/projects/heritage-backup/.

St. Martin Nature Books Available at Amuseum Naturalis

Ten different local nature books are available at Amuseum Naturalis.

Nature lovers and book lovers have something to celebrate on St. Martin. Ten different books about local wildlife are now available at Amuseum Naturalis, including eight in English and two in French. All of the books are full of vivid color images and great stories about the island’s unique nature. They are published by the Les Fruits de Mer association.

“The last edition of our wildlife guide was completely sold out. So it’s great to have it available again–plus a bunch of other beautiful books!” said author Mark Yokoyama. “Most of them are available in print for the first time, and it’s really nice to sit down and flip through the pages. We’re especially excited to have the long-awaited French edition of the St. Martin wildlife guide!”

The first French edition of The Incomplete Guide to the Wildlife of St. Martin has been published thanks to a micro-project grant from the French Agency for Biodiversity’s Te Me Um resource center and its members. The project financed the French translation by Amandine Vaslet and the printing of 200 copies for schools. Teachers who would like a free copy for their classrooms can pick it up at Amuseum Naturalis.

The Incomplete Guide to the Wildlife of St. Martin is now available in French.

Copies of the French and English versions of the wildlife guide are also available to teachers from French Quarter thanks to the Quartier + Musée project funded by CGET and the Collectivité de Saint-Martin under the Politique de la Ville program. Teachers from French Quarter are encouraged to stop by the Amuseum to pick up their copies.

For the general public, books are available for purchase at Amuseum Naturalis at The Old House for $10 to $20. They are also available on Amazon for those not on the island.  As always, digital versions can be downloaded for free at lesfruitsdemer.com. Amuseum Naturalis is on the hill above Galion Beach in French Quarter. It is open 9am to noon, Tuesday to Saturday, and entry is free to all.