The Les Fruits de Mer association welcomes everyone to the 6th annual Endemic Animal Festival this Sunday, April 28th from 9am to noon. The free festival will be held at Amuseum Naturalis at The Old House in French Quarter. The event celebrates the animals that live only on St. Martin, with special exhibits and fun activities.
“Our theme this year is Survivors,” explained Les Fruits de Mer co-founder Mark Yokoyama. “Our endemic animals are the ultimate survivors. By adapting to survive on St. Martin, they became unique species that are found nowhere else on earth.”
The festival’s Endemic Animal Discovery Station will feature many of the special critters that live only on St. Martin. They are a key part of the heritage of the island. If they were lost here, they would disappear from the world. Kids and adults can also learn about birds that live only in our region with fun games and activities from the BirdSleuth Caribbean program.
The festival will also use the theme Survivors to explore local heritage in other ways. A special exhibit of poems from the new book Hurricane Protocol by renowned writer Lasana M. Sekou tells stories of survival in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma. Visitors will get a preview of Soualibra, a new research library that collects and shares knowledge about St. Martin. A special exhibit will highlight 5,000 years of eco-friendly traditions on St. Martin.
“At this festival, guests can help St. Martin’s survival,” said Les Fruits de Mer President Jenn Yerkes. “You can decorate a bird feeder made from a re-used plastic bottle, and take it home to feed birds in your backyard. You can also take home free seedlings of native trees and other plants. You’ll learn about some of the threats we all face here, but also take steps to make the island stronger.”
The Endemic Animal Festival is great for all ages, especially kids. Festival guests will also be able to enjoy all the regular exhibits at Amuseum Naturalis, which is located on the hill above Galion Beach in French Quarter. The 2019 festival is completely free thanks to the generous support of Gold Sponsor Delta Petroleum and sponsors 97150, BirdsCaribbean, Buzz, IZI Light, L’Auberge Gourmande, Lagoonies Bistro and Bar, L’Esperance Hotel, St. Martin’s Sweetness and Tri-Sport.
We had an amazing volunteer day on Saturday. We had a fantastic group of people and got a ton of stuff done to prepare for the Endemic Animal Festival on April 28th. Here are some photos of this great group working hard and having some fun together:
Citizens of Change is a new project to celebrate St. Martiners who have made a difference on the island. The public is invited to nominate people they would like to recognize. The stories of their work will be featured in an exhibit at Amuseum Naturalis at The Old House, and also online. The Les Fruits de Mer association and Be the Change Foundation are partners in this project.
“Amuseum Naturalis is a place to share all the stories of St. Martin,” explained Les Fruits de Mer President Jenn Yerkes. “Citizens of Change is an opportunity to share the stories of everyday people who made a difference. It’s also a chance for the community to tell us what they want to see in the Amuseum.”
People are encouraged to nominate anyone, living or dead, who made a difference on St. Martin. Nominations for teachers, writers, artists, builders, farmers, craftsmen, cooks, parents and storytellers are encouraged. By “citizen” we refer to ordinary members of the community, rather than political leaders. Nominees may be of any nationality.
Nominations can be made by email to firstname.lastname@example.org, on the Les Fruits de Mer Facebook page, or in person at Amuseum Naturalis at The Old House. Nominations should include the name of the person nominated and a description of their contribution to the island.
“The success and survival of St. Martin has always depended on ordinary people making a difference,” said Be the Change Foundation Director Melanie Choisy. “Our organization is dedicated to the kind of giving, sharing and volunteering that is part of St. Martin culture. We’re excited to support a project that celebrates this spirit and the people who embody it.”
The Citizens of Change project is the Be the Change featured project for March. Donations made to the foundation this month will fund the creation of this exhibit. Donations can be made online at https://bethechangesxm.com.
Anyone looking to add some green to their yard or neighborhood can get free plants at Amuseum Naturalis at The Old House in French Quarter. The free plant stand is located just in front of the Amuseum, and is stocked with an assortment of native plants and trees. The plants are provided by the Les Fruits de Mer association.
“Native plants are great for native animals, and after the destruction of Hurricane Irma, we still need to replace plants that were lost,” said Les Fruits de Mer co-founder Mark Yokoyama. “St. Martin is the most densely-populated island in the Caribbean, so there is not a lot of open space. Adding native plants around our homes can help make up for a lack of wild spaces.”
Les Fruits de Mer’s native plants nursery is one of several plant projects at Amuseum Naturalis. Promoting native plants helps local species and hopefully reduces demand for imported plants, which may arrive with unwanted pests. The project is funded by donations and a grant from BirdsCaribbean’s Hurricane Relief Fund. This fund has provided support for birds and nature on islands impacted by the hurricanes of 2017.
Other plant projects at Amuseum Naturalis include a native plant trail, a bush tea and bush medicine garden, and plantings of traditional food crops. Amuseum visitors are invited to learn all about plants and plant use on St. Martin. They are also welcome to share knowledge about plants and how they are used. The association will also give away seedlings of heritage plants used in bush teas.
“Please come by and pick up some free plants,” invited Les Fruits de Mer President Jenn Yerkes. “You can also visit the Amuseum for free while you are there! And please continue to share what you know about local plants and how they are used, so this knowledge can be passed on to future generations.”
Amuseum Naturalis at The Old House is a free museum sharing all that is special about St. Martin. It is open 9am to noon Tuesday to Saturday, and is located at The Old House on the hill above Le Galion beach in French Quarter. The free plant stand is in front of the Amuseum and accessible at all times.
Despite the rain, over 150 guests of all ages found fun new ways to learn about birds at the Migratory Bird Festival on Saturday. Created by an all-volunteer team from the Les Fruits de Mer association, this year’s festival took place at Amuseum Naturalis at The Old House in French Quarter.
“This was our sixth Migratory Bird Festival, so we created a lot of new activities to keep it fresh,” explained Les Fruits de Mer President Jenn Yerkes. “You could listen to bird sounds and measure yourself compared to local birds. People loved decorating their own bird tote bags and playing Bird Bingo in the gardens.”
The Migratory Bird Festival celebrates the birds that travel thousands of miles each year to live in St. Martin. They connect this tiny island to the rest of the Americas. The festival also highlights the things these birds need to survive. At the Portable Pond, guests could see aquatic insects and other creatures that many migratory birds eat. The Habitat Scavenger Hunt sent kids looking for food, shelter and other things that birds depend on.
“This was our first Migratory Bird Festival at Amuseum Naturalis at The Old House,” commented Les Fruits de Mer co-founder Mark Yokoyama. “It was the perfect place, with lots of indoor and outdoor space to explore. Many people from French Quarter came to the festival, and we want to keep building the connection between the town and the Amuseum.”
The 2018 Migratory Bird Festival was made possible by a team of 20 wonderful volunteers. The festival was free thanks to the support of its sponsors: L’Auberge Gourmand, BZSE, Coalys, Delta Petroleum, ECOFIP, Frigodom, IZI LIGHT, Lagoonies, Pelikaan Brewery, St. Martin’s Sweetness and SXM Logistics. To see highlights from the festival, visit http://lesfruitsdemer.com or find Les Fruits de Mer on Facebook.
Amuseum Naturalis is excited to host the 6th annual Migratory Bird Festival!
The annual Migratory Bird Festival is a free, public event where residents and visitors alike can see, celebrate, and learn about the marvelous migratory birds that travel thousands of miles each year to visit or spend the winter in St. Martin. These amazing birds connect the Americas with their incredible journeys, and St. Martin plays an important role in their life cycle. Activities at the 2018 Migratory Bird Festival will include birdwatching, BirdSleuth games, interactive discovery stations, art activities, and more! This year’s event will be held on Saturday, October 13th from 9am to noon at Amuseum Naturalis at The Old House in French Quarter. The festival is brought to you by Les Fruits de Mer, and the 2018 sponsors: L’Auberge Gourmand, BZSE, Coalys, Delta Petroleum, ECOFIP, Frigodom, IZI LIGHT, Lagoonies, Pelikaan Brewery, St. Martin’s Sweetness and SXM Logistics.
Date: Saturday, October 13, 2018
Time: 9am – Noon
Location: Amuseum Naturalis at The Old House, French Quarter
Les Fruits de Mer is excited to offer BirdSleuth Caribbean training to teachers and youth group leaders on St. Martin. This fantastic program helps kids connect to science and nature through birds. It was adapted specifically for the Caribbean, so it uses birds and habitats found right here on St. Martin. Binkie van Es is the instructor for the bilingual class. Our September session is full, but we are planning a second training on October 20th and 21st.
We put up a series of panels about the native plants and trees growing at Amuseum Naturalis. They tell about the amazing skills that help these plants survive on St. Martin. It’s harder than you might think! They also feature beautiful vintage botanical illustrations. Enjoy a walk through the garden and learn about the plants and trees around you!
After having many teams of Scouts helping at the Amuseum for the past three weeks, it was great that the whole group could come and see it! The Scouts came from all over France (and even some from Germany and Belgium) to help St. Martin after Hurricane Irma. At the Amuseum, Scouts helped us clean, garden, build and more!
We’re having a fantastic time with group visits to the summer preview of the new Amuseum Naturalis at The Old House! We’ve already hosted a bunch of school and summer camp groups. We’ve been exploring the Amuseum and doing fun activities in the exhibit hall and the gardens.