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Reef Fest 2018 to Highlight the Reduction of Plastic Use & Sustainable ‘Seafooding’

Logo for the University's Reef Fest 2018

The community is invited to attend the annual Reef Fest from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, April 14, at Yacht Haven Grande. The event is free for everyone and there are activities for both youth and adults.

The theme for this year is Marine Ecosystem Health, which encompasses topics such as sustainable ‘seafooding,’ marine debris, coral bleaching, and mangrove protection.

Reef Fest, organized by Virgin Islands Marine Advisory Service (VIMAS), and the Virgin Islands Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (VI-EPSCoR), aims to promote and educate the Virgin Islands community about our marine ecosystems as well as highlight sustainability practices including the reduction of plastic.

The organizers of this year’s Reef Fest will educate restaurants on St. Thomas in the practice of supporting local fisheries, keeping updated / seasonal seafood menus, incorporating invasive species—that are detrimental to overall ecosystem health—in recipes.

"New to Reef Fest this year is the promotion of sustainable seafood through the Reef Responsible Program ran by Kemit Amon Lewis for The Nature Conservancy,” said Howard Forbes, Jr., Virgin Islands Marine Advisory Service (VIMAS) coordinator on St. Thomas. “Various restaurants on St. Thomas will be preparing their take on sustainable seafood samplers like lionfish." Attendees can sample these delicious delights for $3 a ticket and seven tickets are $20.

Reef Fest 2018 will encourage attendees to promote the reduction of single-use plastic items.

"The event also aims to be green. We are limiting our usage of single-use plastics such as straws; instead, we are opting for paper or compostable products so that we minimize our impact on our landfill, " said Imani Daniel, Community Engagement specialist for VI-EPSCoR (Virgin Islands Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research.)

At Reef Fest 2018, there will be live musical entertainment, prize giveaways, raffle prizes and informational booths.

Raffle prizes include:

  • Charter Caribe – Six-person day trip valued at $2,000
  • Seaborne Airlines – Two Round Trip Tickets
  • The Sailing Center –  a three-hour private sailing lesson on IC-24 valued at $480
  • St. Thomas Restaurant Group –  two $50 gift certificates
  • Wydham Vacation Ownership -  a three-night stay in Puerto Rico
  • Coki Beach Dive –  one free PADI Dive Certificate valued at $400
  • Magens Bay - one-year annual pass, including one vehicle and its passengers
  •  UVI - One Free Scholarship for the Youth Ocean Explorers summer program valued at $300
  • Stand-up Paddle – two free lessons for paddle boarding
  • The St. Thomas Recovery Team – one free hurricane preparedness kit valued at $300

"Reef Fest will also feature presentations by UVI researchers and environmental exhibitors, " said Jarvon Stout, research assistant for VI-EPSCoR.

Some of the sponsors for our raffle prizes include: St. Thomas Restaurant Group, Bolongo Bay Beach Resort, Wyndham Vacation Ownership, Friends of the VI National Park, Coki Beach Dive, Magens Bay, Seaborne Airlines, Forever Flowers, Scoops N Brew, Night Kayak, SUP St. John, Sailing Center, Coral World Ocean Park, Virgin Islands Marine Advisory Service, Charter Caribe and VIYA. We would also like to thank the donors that helped to sponsor monetary donations towards Reef Fest and those sponsors are VIYA, FinTrac, and VI-EPSCoR.

VIMAS works with the Virgin Islands community to raise awareness about our natural resources and foster environmental stewardship.

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