The Junior Ocean Explorers (JOE) Summer Program is a 1 week, hands-on marine science program for students in grades 3-6 interested in learning more about our environment. Much like our Youth Ocean Explorers Summer Program that is open to students in grades 7-12, JOE involves a combination of short presentations and lectures daily from UVI faculty, staff, and community partners along with field activities utilizing scientific tools to supplement those presentations. Participants report to the UVI Center for Marine & Environmental Studies but can expect to travel with staff to other on-island locations for field work and activities. 
The 2020 Junior Ocean Explorers Summer Program has been cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Our team is using recommendations from the CDC (see below) as well as from the local government to guide our decisions regarding our youth summer programs.
COVID 19 button         JOE Flyer
Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the USVI Storm Strong Program which targets USVI families to help them become better prepared for natural disasters. Our team has launched a variety of educational activities that youth can participate in with the chance of winning amazing prizes! Click the logo above or the "Learn More" button below to get started today!
Storm strong logo
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YOE Team

The Junior Ocean Explorers Summer Program is led by the dynamic duo of Howard Forbes Jr. (left: Program Director) and Jarvon Stout (right: Program Coordinator). Forbes holds both a B.S. in Biology and M.Sc. in Marine and Environmental Sciences from UVI; Stout holds a B.S. in Marine Biology from UVI. Together, they have utilized their training and expertise in the field of science to develop the JOE Summer Program, designing the curriculum to be as engaging as possible. The JOE Summer Program also serves as a perfect opportunity for our selected mentors of the Youth Ocean Explorers Summer Program to practice their skills working with youth as well as understanding how each activity is facilitated. Outside of the JOE Summer Program, Forbes serves as the St. Thomas Coordinator for the Virgin Islands Marine Advisory Service (VIMAS) and Stout serves as the Community Engagement Specialist for the Virgin Islands Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (VI-EPSCoR)


The Junior Ocean Explorers (JOE) Summer Program aims to provide students with hands-on, STEM-based (Science Technology Engineering Mathematics) training that fosters interest in STEM. Using the ocean as our classroom, students enrolled in JOE develop a sense of environmental stewardship, acquire new skills, and begin viewing science from a new perspective.



  • Student must reside on St. Thomas as this program is not yet offered on St. Croix.
  • The Junior Ocean Explorers Summer Program is open to students in grades 3-6 (rising 4th graders are eligible to apply) with an interest in STEM (Science Technology Engineering Mathematics). 
  • Interested applicants should be comfortable in the water which includes swimming, floating, and submerging underwater. Students that are not able to perform these skills are encouraged to take swimming lessons. 
  • Students who previously participated in the program are eligible to apply to participate again, though preference will be given to new students. 
  • Parents and/or guardians may register multiple children; however, because space is limited, we ask that students who genuinely have an interest in marine science or STEM apply.   


Registration is now closed


The 2020 Junior Ocean Explorers Summer Program has been cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. While restrictions have been eased that enable large gatherings of no more than 50 persons, mandates for safe social distancing are still required and would make conducting the program more challenging. We are sorry for any inconvenience this may have caused; however, this is the best decision moving forward in the interest of everyone's safety. 

Registration Deadline: May 1st, 2020

To register for the Youth Ocean Explorers Summer Program, parents or guardians should complete the online application by clicking the "Parent Application" button below. The applicant is also required to complete the student application which can be accessed by clicking the "Student Application" button. Applications that are missing either component (Parent Application and Student Application) are incomplete and will not be reviewed after the May 1st deadline.

Junior Ocean Explorers

STEP 1: Parents or legal guardians should complete the following online application. Again, please note this program is not yet offered on St. Croix.

Online application

STEP 2: Child completes the following:

student application

STEP 3: Review checklist; your application is only complete until all of the following have been received:

  • Completed parent application (Done by parent or legal guardian)
  • Completed student application (Done by child)

STEP 4: Check the E-mail address that you provided with your application regularly as all initial correspondence will be done through E-mail regarding your application status and program updates. 

Selected applicants will be required to pay the one-time program fee of $100 no later than 1-week prior to the start date of the program. Cash, check, and credit card payments are accepted; contact howard.forbes@live.uvi.edu for more details.


Learn To Swim Program 

Learn to swim
Our Learn to Swim Program is open to children ages 3-18 and focuses on providing them with the basic skills necessary to be comfortable swimming. Participants that complete this program routinely register for the Junior Ocean Explorers Summer Program as a means to continue working on their swimming proficiency. Click the image or button above to learn more about this amazing program.  

Youth Ocean Explorers Summer Program 

YOE 2020
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Our Youth Ocean Explorers Summer Program is open to children in grades 7-12 and is ideal for children who age out of participating in the Junior Ocean Explorers Summer Program. YOE runs a continuous 4-week experience that builds upon what students learned in the JOE Summer Program; adding new content such as highlighting career pathways within the geosciences as well as providing opportunities for participants to get scuba certified. Click the above flyer to be redirected to the YOE St. Thomas webpage or the button to be redirected to the registration page. 

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Office Phone: St. Thomas (340) 693-1672
E-mail: St. Thomas (howard.forbes@live.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
#2 John Brewers Bay
St. Thomas, USVI 00802

VIMAS homepage