"Jump out the books and into the sea!"

Environmental Learning Outside the Classroom (ELOC) is an initiative put forth by the Virgin Islands Marine and Advisory Service (VIMAS) to help make science education exciting for students. Through ELOC, educators can partner with VIMAS to plan and coordinate learning activities that teach students about different natural habitats within the Virgin Islands such as mangrove forests, sea grass beds, and other marine-related habitats. 

- Swimming Program - 

In an effort to introduce more of our local Virgin Islands' youth to the marine environment, VIMAS will be launching a swimming program for November of 2018. As swimming serves as a foundation for many aquatic activities such as snorkeling and scuba diving, teaching swimming skills will serve as the necessary conduit to broaden students' knowledge about the ocean. Students are more receptive to learning about corals and the value our oceans play in our daily lives if they have a connection to the ocean and that is what this program aims to achieve. From this program, students would develop the swimming skills necessary to be recruited into the Youth Ocean Explorers Summer Program which uses the ocean as the lens through which students are taught STEM (Science Technology Engineering Mathematics). 


Program Details 

  • This program will take place on Brewers Bay beach, on Saturdays from 9:00 AM to 12:00 PM (see complete schedule below).
  • American Red Cross Water Safety certified instructors will be present during the program as well as American Red Cross certified Lifeguards.
  • There is no cost to attend this program. Applicants are accepted on a rolling basis per session. There is no selection process for this program; as long as you submit an online application along with the required release forms (and space is available for the intended course) your child/children will be accepted into the program. Do note that spaces will not be reserved if you have an incomplete application.  
  • Applications for Session 2 are due by January 26th. 
  • This program will feature three courses which include Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced and are tailored specifically to student skill sets (click on COURSE INFORMATION for more details). You can only register a child for one course during a session.
  • Students registered for the Intermediate and Advanced courses will be required to complete a Swimming Assessment to obtain clearance from the swimming instructor to continue with the course. This assessment will be administered on the student's first day of attendance.  
  • Each course has a maximum occupancy of 20 students each. 
  • Courses will operate for 6-weeks (6 Saturdays). We highly encourage participants to attend each session as they are all equally important and cover information that builds on previous lessons. 
  • This program will continue for the next three years (2021), so if your child/children was/were unable to take part in current sessions, there will be many more hosted in the future. 
Session 1 (November - December) 2018 Session 2 (February - March) 2019
Week 1: November 3rd, 2018 Week 1: February 2nd, 2019
Week 2: November 10th, 2018 Week 2: February 9th, 2019
Week 3: November 17th, 2018 Week 3: February 16th, 2019 
Week 4: November 24th, 2018 Week 4: February 23rd, 2019 
Week 5: December 1st, 2018 Week 5: March 2nd, 2019
Week 6: December 8th, 2018 Week 6: March 9th, 2019

Eligibility Requirements

  • Student must attend either a public or private school in the U.S. Virgin Islands (Home-schooled students are also eligible to apply)

  • Student should be in grades 1-12. 
  • Student must have school, government or private issued insurance.  
  • Student and parent/guardian must complete the ONLINE REGISTRATION FORM  as well as the following RELEASE FORMS and CODE OF CONDUCT FORM (These forms are availble down below under "How to Register". The Photo Release form is not mandatory but gives our team permission to use photos and videos taken during the program that may feature your child for promotional purposes. (Most photos taken will be of the larger group to help document the program; if you wish not to have your child photographed, you will not be required to fill out the Photo release form and your child's image will be blurred if any used photos or videos contain their image.) The Liability form however is mandatory and without that form, your child will be unable to participate. If you are unsure of how to fill out the release forms click on the following links for help: Photo Release form help / Liability Release form help
    The Code of Conduct Form informs all participants, parents and guardians of the guidelines to be followed during the program and actions that will be taken if those guidelines are not followed. 
  • All supporting documents can be E-mailed to howard.forbes@live.uvi.edu. Please ensure to include your child's name in the name of the file(s) being sent. 
  • Children are eligible to enroll in the program multiple times to allow for a progression through each course. However, do note that first time attending applicants are given first preference as our team wants to encourage participation from as many interested persons. 

How to Register 

Please note that your application is not complete until you complete the online registration form and submit the release and code of conduct forms.  
To register for the Swimming Program:

  1. Please ensure that you have read the above information regarding the schedule and COURSE INFORMATION.
  2. Complete the ONLINE REGISTRATION FORM for the course you would like to register for  BEGINNER (Session 2 Full) / INTERMEDIATE / ADVANCED.
  3. Complete the following supporting documents:  RELEASE FORMS, and the CODE OF CONDUCT FORM. If you are unsure of how to fill out the release forms click on the following links for help:
    Photo Release form help / Liability Release form help
  4. Please note that your application is not complete until the online registration form along with the supporting documents are received. Applicants are enrolled on a rolling basis. 

- Field Trips and Classroom Presentations For Teachers and Students -

Field trips and classroom presentations can now be scheduled for the 2018/2019 school year. Our team would be happy to work with you to coordinate a classroom presentation on a variety of topics such as marine debris, science careers, and marine invertebrates. Couple these presentations with field activities to solidify concepts covered during the classroom. Complete the registration form below to schedule your next ELOC activity. 

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- Let's Get Started -

Step 1: Fill out the ELOC Inquiry Form.  
Step 2
: Have your students fill out these Release Forms. (These are required if we take any photos and would like to use them for promotional material as well as for any activities that make take place in the water while on site.)

- Contact Us -   new

Office Phone: St. Thomas (340) 693-1672 / St. Croix (340) 692-4046
E-mail: St. Thomas (howard.forbes@live.uvi.edu) / St. Croix (mtaylor@uvi.edu)
Website: http://vimas.uvi.edu
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Virgin Islands Marine Advisory Service
Center for Marine and Environmental Studies
University of the Virgin Islands

St. Thomas                                                  St. Croix
#2 John Brewers Bay                                   RR #1, 10,000 Kingshill
St. Thomas, USVI 00802                             St. Croix, USVI 00850-9781