Category: Birds & Bugs

Record Crowds Enjoy Activity-packed Birds & Bugs Event

Attendees of all ages gather for one of the event's guided bird tours of the forest.
Attendees of all ages gather for one of the event’s guided bird tours of the forest.

Over 400 people attended the second Birds & Bugs event on Sunday at Loterie Farm to learn more about the birds and invertebrates living in the tropical broadleaf forest on St. Martin. Activities included interacting with live insects, going on guided birding tours and creating “bugs” out of natural materials. Birds & Bugs 2015 was presented by the Les Fruits de Mer association in partnership with Environmental Protection in the Caribbean (EPIC) and Loterie Farm.

“The turnout was fantastic—our best-attended event so far, and perhaps the biggest wildlife education event in the history of the island,” reported Jenn Yerkes, President of Les Fruits de Mer. “Our amazing experts and volunteers worked hard to make this event a real success for everybody!”

Event-goers examined caterpillars of every stripe at the Bug Discovery Station's Caterpillar Corner.
Event-goers examined caterpillars of every stripe at the Bug Discovery Station’s Caterpillar Corner.

The Bug Discovery Station was a busy attraction, featuring a Caterpillar Corner and a fascinating array of live insects and spiders, from walking sticks and beetles to a Tarantula Hawk Wasp and a tarantula. There was even a Souliga Wall Crab Spider, which is only found on St. Martin. The station also included an area where guests could try their hand at identifying a variety of species with the help of guidebooks, magnifying glasses and a microscope. Many guests came to the event with questions about the caterpillars that are currently particularly abundant on Flamboyant trees.

The art activity station was abuzz with kids and adults having fun creating strange new forms of bug life from natural materials at the Build-A-Bug Workshop. These crazy critters were constructed in all shapes and sizes and could be made into clips or refrigerator magnets to take home.

Kids and adults created extraordinary insects from natural materials at the event's Build-A-Bug Workshop.
Kids and adults created extraordinary insects from natural materials at the event’s Build-A-Bug Workshop.

Hundreds of visitors took guided walks in the forest with professional bird guide and local bird expert Binkie van Es, where they also had a unique chance to learn about bird banding from EPIC’s President Natalia Collier and Senior Biologist Adam Brown. EPIC has been banding birds for research at Loterie Farm for 15 years. Although the wet weather was not ideal for birding, guests had the opportunity to visit with the bird researchers and find out about the tropical broadleaf forest, a rare and important habitat that covers only a small part of the island.

At EPIC’s Bird Education Station, hosted by Environmental Educator Laura Bijnsdorp, 100 kids played a Bird Bingo birdwatching game for prizes. Les Fruits de Mer’s Club Gaïac native tree replanting project introduced a new crowd-sourced experiment, distributing dozens of free seed kits with instructions for testing different seed preparation methods at home to increase germination rates.

The Bird Bingo birdwatching game at EPIC's Bird Education Station was a big hit with kids.
The Bird Bingo birdwatching game at EPIC’s Bird Education Station was a big hit with kids.

Les Fruits de Mer’s next public project will be a series of free, fun wildlife presentations at Mardis de Grand Case, every Tuesday evening in Grand Case starting January 12th.

Birds & Bugs 2015 was a free, public Wildlife Discovery Event hosted by Les Fruits de Mer in partnership with EPIC and Loterie Farm. Birds & Bugs 2015 was sponsored by Buccaneer Beach Bar, Delta Petroleum, Hotel L’Esplanade, Island Mattress, St. Martin Voyages and Tri-Sport. For more information about Les Fruits de Mer, visit: www.lesfruitsdemer.com or stop by their booth at Mardis de Grand Case.

A team of wildlife experts and volunteers from Les Fruits de Mer and EPIC brought Birds & Bugs to life.
A team of wildlife experts and volunteers from Les Fruits de Mer and EPIC brought Birds & Bugs to life.

Birds & Bugs Photos, Part Five

Here’s my last batch of photos from Birds & Bugs, feel free to share yours on Facebook or email some to info@lesfruitsdemer.org. Also, get ready for some pretty exciting stuff in the new year. We will take a couple days off—maybe—and then start planning for Mardis de Grand Case, every Tuesday evening for 12 weeks staring on January 12th.

Birds & Bugs Photos, Part Four

Our Birds & Bugs wrap-up wouldn’t be complete without a shout out to our sponsors. Like all our events, Birds & Bugs is totally free and the only way that can happen is through the generosity of our sponsors, who foot the bill for all our supplies and expenses. Thank you!!!

buccaneerBuccaneer Beach Bar
Conveniently located on Kim Sha Beach, Buccaneer Beach Bar is a friendly watering hole for locals and visitors alike. Relax in the glow of the fireballs on Friday and Sunday evenings, or bring the whole family on Fridays for kids movies on the beach.
http://buccaneerbeachbar.com


delta-LOGO-smallDelta Petroleum
Founded in 1985, Delta serves the Caribbean with superior performance diesel, gasoline and LPG meeting U.S. and European standards. Delta is a proud and growing member of the communities from the Virgin Islands to Martinique. Delta Petroleum has been a sponsor of many of our events.
http://deltapetroleum.com


Esplanade-logo-squareHotel L’Esplanade
This hotel has established a cult following from guests that enjoy an authentic, luxurious, unpretentious and un-touristy Caribbean experience with a homey feel. Recognized by TripAdvisor as one of the Caribbean’s “Best Hidden Gems”, and recently named #19 of the top 25 hotels in all of the Caribbean, Hotel L’Esplanade has been a Les Fruits benefactor member since 2013 and has sponsored many Les Fruits de Mer events.
http://www.lesplanade.comHotel L’Esplanade on Facebook


Island Mattress
Island-Mattress-stacked-webIsland Mattress stocks the largest selection of mattresses in the area and specializes in the art of good sleep. Visit their showroom in Hope Estate to check out their mattresses and contemporary furniture.
http://www.island-mattress.com


entete-sxm-voyages-webSt. Martin Voyages
Your agent for fantastic holidays, St. Martin Voyages is an official retailer for all airlines, with a mission to provide the best possible service for all your travel needs, from flights and cruises to custom trips and packages.
https://www.facebook.com/sxmvoyages/


Tri-Sport-Logo-webTri-Sport
Tri-Sport is the go-to shop for the active community of St. Maarten/St. Martin and the neighboring islands of Anguilla, Saba, Statia, and St. Barths. They run ecologically-friendly tours that get people out and moving – kayaking, bicycling, hiking, boogie boarding, and snorkeling. Tri-Sport’s retail shops carry all the necessities for triathlons with an emphasis on bicycles.
http://trisportsxm.com

Birds & Bugs Photos, Part Three

We also couldn’t do Birds & Bugs without our fantastic partners, EPIC and Loterie Farm!

About Environmental Protection in the Caribbean
Environmental Protection in the Caribbean (EPIC) is a non-profit organization registered in St. Maarten and the United States. Founded in 2000 with the mission to protect the Caribbean environment through research and community-based action, EPIC has conducted long-term studies on the birds of the island while working to raise awareness of bird conservation issues. EPIC biologists have partnered with Loterie Farm for over a decade to study the health and diversity of birds in this rare habitat. http://www.epicislands.org

About Loterie Farm
Loterie Farm is a private nature reserve on the western slope of Pic Paradis. The 54-hectare property includes broadleaf forest as well as the remains of historical buildings dating back to the 18th century. Loterie Farm aims to safeguard both the history and the environment while also sharing these unique natural surroundings with the public. One of the most ecologically significant sites on St. Martin, Loterie Farm has hosted a great deal of biological research, including ongoing studies of birds and other animals. Loterie Farm offers hiking and zip-lining as well as a gourmet restaurant, lounge, and spring-fed swimming pool. http://loteriefarm.com

Birds & Bugs Photos, Part Two

If you see a lot of folks in blue shirts in these photos, you’ll have an idea of how many wonderful volunteers we have. We couldn’t do fun, free events like this without them! Thank you, team Birds & Bugs: Adam Brown, Natalia Collier, Laura Bijnsdorp, Binkie Van Es, Paul Fry, Jill Kellsall, Patricia Coppie, Jovan Halley, Sarah Allen, Mael Renault, Simon Aubert, Clement Rouard, Muriel Morice, Roxane Boquet, Corinne Draesner, Anouchka Henocq, Rodger Boutelle, Marie-Estelle Pradel, Dorothee Allanic, William Allanic, Jenn Yerkes and Mark Yokoyama!

Birds & Bugs Photos, Part One

Yesterday’s Birds & Bugs was fantastic—huge thanks to all the volunteers and everyone who came to the event! We took a few photos of the event, so here’s a batch to kick off our post-event coverage. If you took any photos at Birds & Bugs, we’d love to see them. Share them with us on Facebook or email some to us at info@lesfruitsdemer.org.

Press for Birds & Bugs

We’re very excited to share local and regional press for Birds & Bugs and very grateful for all the news organizations that are helping spread the word about this event. Below is a sampling of online and print coverage for the event. More info on our site and on Facebook.

The Daily Herald, December 2015
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Le Pélican, December 2015
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The Daily Herald, December 2015
BB2015-DailyHerald-OutNAbout-web

97150, December 2015
BB2015-97150-web

Today Newspaper, December 2015
BB2015-Today-web

The Kids Herald, December 2015
DailyHerald-Bugs-in-Paradise-web

Voilá, November 2015
BB2015-Voila-Nov30-web

Soualiga Newsday

St. Martin News Network

SXM Info

SXM Island Time

Anguilla News

Free Fun for All Ages at Birds & Bugs Event this Sunday!

Birds & Bugs 2015 is this Sunday, December 6th, from 9am-12pm at Loterie Farm.
Birds & Bugs 2015 is this Sunday, December 6th, from 9am-12pm at Loterie Farm.

Residents and visitors of all ages are invited to enjoy a morning of wildlife-themed entertainment and exploration this Sunday at Birds & Bugs 2015. The event will take place on December 6th from 9am to noon at Loterie Farm on Pic Paradis, rain or shine. Birds & Bugs is a free, public Wildlife Discovery Event, created by Les Fruits de Mer for locals and tourists alike to get to know the captivating creatures and birds that make their home in the forest.

Sunday’s event will offer a full array of free, fun activities designed and led by naturalists, scientists, educators, and other local wildlife specialists. “It’s the perfect chance to learn about this island’s fantastic forest life from experts,” says Les Fruits de Mer President Jennifer Yerkes. “We’d like to welcome everyone to come out and have a great time!”

Event-goers will learn to spot songbirds, hummingbirds, and other forest-dwelling avians on bird tours of the forest, led by professional birding guide Binkie van Es. Tours will leave regularly throughout the event and will be available in French, English, and Dutch. Attendees who plan to go on a birding tour are recommended to bring sturdy shoes. Binoculars will be available for sharing on the tours.

This year’s attendees will be offered a truly unique experience at Environmental Protection in the Caribbean (EPIC)’s Bird Banding Station–to see wildlife research in action, and some hard-to-find birds in person. Bird Banding Station visitors will have the rare opportunity to watch EPIC’s key bird researchers as they capture, study, and release birds as part of their 15-year bird banding effort on the slopes of Pic Paradis. EPIC President Natalia Collier and EPIC Senior Biologist Adam Brown will be on site to share what they’ve learned about the songbird populations in this special broadleaf forest habitat.

Guests will have the rare chance to see shy migratory songbirds like the Black and White Warbler at the Bird Banding Station.
Guests will have the rare chance to see shy migratory songbirds like the Black and White Warbler at the Bird Banding Station.

Guests can find out more about the birds of the broadleaf forest at the Bird Education Station hosted by EPIC Environmental Educator Laura Bijnsdorp. This Station will feature hands-on exhibits of birds for kids and adults, info about the resident and migratory birds of St. Martin and the habitat they call home, and a fun Bird Bingo game with prizes for children. Bird-related paraphernalia will also be available there, for event attendees looking for an early holiday gift.

The Bug Discovery Station will give adults and kids an unforgettable up-close look at a variety of the island’s insects, spiders and other invertebrates. Live insects will be on display, and guests will learn about their life cycles and other intriguing info about these small animals and their role in the local ecosystem. A “What Am I” microscope bug ID game will join other exciting new interactive exhibits at the Discovery Station this year.

Kids and adults can get up close with island insects at the Bug Discovery Station at this Sunday's wildlife event. (Photo by Chemaine Petit-Booi)
Kids and adults can get up close with island insects at the Bug Discovery Station at this Sunday’s wildlife event. (Photo by Chemaine Petit-Booi)

Club Gaïac, Les Fruits de Mer’s ongoing heritage tree project, will also be at Sunday’s event with a free giveaway of special seed kits and a new experiment that everyone can take part in. The Club Gaïac table will have displays where guests can learn about the history and ecology of this beautiful endangered tree, and find out how replanting native trees can help St. Martin’s birds and bugs.

People of all ages can participate in creative activities inspired by local wildlife, including coloring, sketching, and a craft. Younger kids will enjoy coloring and activity pages designed by local artists featuring island animals. In the event’s Build-A-Bug craft, children and adults can create their own insect from natural materials and transform it into a clip, magnet, or mobile to take home.

Les Fruits de Mer have released a free ebook for kids, Bugs in Paradise, to promote Sunday’s event. The ebook features full-color photos of the incredible insects found in the forest habitats of Pic Paradis, and entertains young readers with fascinating facts about each species in rhyming text. The ebook can be downloaded for free at http://www.lesfruitsdemer.com/resources/books/.

Photos and poems from the free children's ebook Bugs in Paradise will be on display at this Sunday's Birds & Bugs event at Loterie Farm.
Photos and poems from the free children’s ebook Bugs in Paradise will be on display at this Sunday’s Birds & Bugs event at Loterie Farm.

For more information about Birds & Bugs, visit http://www.lesfruitsdemer.com/events/birds-bugs/ or https://www.facebook.com/events/482567428570505/.

Birds & Bugs 2015 is a co-production of the Les Fruits de Mer Association, EPIC, and Loterie Farm. The event is made possible by the hard work and talent of many volunteers, and the generous sponsorship of Buccaneer Beach Bar, Delta Petroleum, Hotel L’Esplanade, Island Mattress, St. Martin Voyages and Tri-Sport.

Bugs in Paradise

Bugs in Paradise is the companion ebook for our 2015 Birds & Bugs wildlife event. If you haven’t downloaded it yet, you should!

Bugs-in-Paradise-web

For our coming festival
We thought it would be nice
To make an ebook just for kids
Called Bugs in Paradise.
With photos to astound the eye
Of creatures where they dwell
The text is written all in verse
And will delight as well.

Download the ebook (PDF, 24 pages, 3.2MB).

You can also get more free wildlife publications on the Books page in our Resources section.

Start Spreading the News

Help us share all the birdsy, buggy magic of Birds & Bugs with more people. We will be forever grateful, and you will have the satisfaction of making a difference if you just take a minute to:

Share the event on Facebook and use the INVITE button to invite your friends.

Download an event poster to print at post at your school or business, in any of three languages: Event Poster (English, PDF)Event Poster (Français, PDF)Event Poster (Español, PDF).

Tell people about the event and encourage them to come!

Have them watch our fun teaser video:

Birds & Bugs: About Our Sponsors

The only way we can put on events like Birds & Bugs and make them absolutely free for guests to attend is through the generosity of our sponsors. We have six fantastic sponsors for Birds & Bugs 2015, including four first-time sponsors that we’re happy to welcome! Thanks for your support!

buccaneerBuccaneer Beach Bar
Conveniently located on Kim Sha Beach, Buccaneer Beach Bar is a friendly watering hole for locals and visitors alike. Relax in the glow of the fireballs on Friday and Sunday evenings, or bring the whole family on Fridays for kids movies on the beach.
http://buccaneerbeachbar.com


delta-LOGO-smallDelta Petroleum
Founded in 1985, Delta serves the Caribbean with superior performance diesel, gasoline and LPG meeting U.S. and European standards. Delta is a proud and growing member of the communities from the Virgin Islands to Martinique. Delta Petroleum was a sponsor of many of our events.
http://deltapetroleum.com


Esplanade-logo-squareHotel L’Esplanade
This hotel has established a cult following from guests that enjoy an authentic, luxurious, unpretentious and un-touristy Caribbean experience with a homey feel. Acknowledged by TripAdvisor as one of the Caribbean’s “Best Hidden Gems”, and more recently named #19 of the top 25 hotels in all of the Caribbean. Hotel L’Esplanade has been a benefactor member since 2013 and has sponsored many Les Fruits de Mer events.
http://www.lesplanade.comHotel L’Esplanade on Facebook


Island Mattress
Island Mattress stocks the largest selection of mattresses in the area and specializes in the art of good sleep. Visit their showroom in Hope Estate to check out their mattresses and contemporary furniture.
http://www.island-mattress.com


entete-sxm-voyages-webSt. Martin Voyages
Your agent for fantastic holidays, St. Martin Voyages is an official retailer for all airlines, with a mission to provide the best possible service for all your travel needs, from flights and cruises to custom trips and packages.
https://www.facebook.com/sxmvoyages/


Tri-Sport-Logo-webTri-Sport
Tri-Sport is the go-to shop for the active community of St. Maarten/St. Martin and the neighboring islands of Anguilla, Saba, Statia, and St. Barths. They run ecologically-friendly tours that get people out and moving – kayaking, bicycling, hiking, boogie boarding, and snorkeling. Tri-Sport’s retail shops carry all the necessities for triathlons with an emphasis on bicycles.
http://trisportsxm.com

Birds & Bugs: About Our Partners

Birds & Bugs couldn’t happen without the help of our partners: EPIC is lending their bird expertise in a big way—you definitely won’t want to miss what they’re planning! Loterie Farm has graciously shared their unique space with us so we can share it with you.

About Environmental Protection in the Caribbean
Environmental Protection in the Caribbean (EPIC) is a non-profit organization registered in St. Maarten and the United States. Founded in 2000 with the mission to protect the Caribbean environment through research and community-based action, EPIC has conducted long-term studies on the birds of the island while working to raise awareness of bird conservation issues. EPIC biologists have partnered with Loterie Farm for over a decade to study the health and diversity of birds in this rare habitat. http://www.epicislands.org
EPIC

About Loterie Farm
Loterie Farm is a private nature reserve on the western slope of Pic Paradis. The 54-hectare property includes broadleaf forest as well as the remains of historical buildings dating back to the 18th century. Loterie Farm aims to safeguard both the history and the environment while also sharing these unique natural surroundings with the public. One of the most ecologically significant sites on St. Martin, Loterie Farm has hosted a great deal of biological research, including ongoing studies of birds and other animals. Loterie Farm offers hiking and zip-lining as well as a gourmet restaurant, lounge, and spring-fed swimming pool. http://loteriefarm.com
loterie-farm-logo

Bugs in Paradise

Bugs-in-Paradise-web

For our coming festival
We thought it would be nice
To make an ebook just for kids
Called Bugs in Paradise.
With photos to astound the eye
Of creatures where they dwell
The text is written all in verse
And will delight as well.

We are called Les Fruits de Mer
Our event is Birds & Bugs.
All kinds of things will happen there
That you are sure to love.
A place for learning, fun and free
All ages we invite
To the farm called Loterie
For all manner of delights.

See the creepy, crawly things
So wondrous, every one.
Observe the banding of song birds
And how science is done.
Come take a guided birding walk
Along the forest stream,
And art activities for kids
Will have a nature theme.

It happens on December 6th
From 9am to noon.
Tell your family, tell your friends,
It will be coming soon.
Learn more on our web site,
Or Facebook if you dare,
Anything we couldn’t rhyme
We will list over there.

In the meantime, get the book,
Download it to your device,
Read it with your family
At least just once or twice.
This window on a hidden world
To make you laugh and think,
Is available already,
Just go right to this link:
http://www.lesfruitsdemer.com/resources/books/