Category: Endemic Animal Festival

Hundreds Discover St. Martin Wildlife at Endemic Animal Festival

Lizards and local plants were both celebrated at the Endemic Animal Festival. (Photo by Jenn Yerkes)

Nearly 300 people learned about the animals that live only on St. Martin at the fifth annual Endemic Animal Festival on Sunday. They were welcomed by over 30 volunteers and experts sharing diverse topics like nature in St. Martin literature, sharks, iguanas, native plants and animals, stone walls and local building traditions. The event was hosted by the Les Fruits de Mer association at Amuseum Naturalis at The Old House in French Quarter.

“We were thrilled to see so many people having fun and discovering this island’s unique animals!” said Les Fruits de Mer President Jenn Yerkes. “This was our first public event at Amuseum Naturalis at The Old House. We’re working with the community to make this a place where many voices share what is special about St. Martin. So we were also really excited to invite local experts to present. They used this year’s theme—Made Here—to connect local wildlife to many other parts of local heritage.”

Experts from St. Martin and Anguilla shared their work on nature and heritage. (Photo by Jenn Yerkes)

Local experts shared on seven fascinating topics at this year’s festival. Tadzio Bervoets and the St. Maarten Nature Foundation presented about the island’s sharks. Author and publisher Lasana M. Sekou prepared selections of local poetry and writing about nature for display. Christophe Henocq highlighted historic stone walls as a unique habitat for plants and animals. Laura Bijnsdorp and EPIC presented on how local plants help protect the island. Bird specialist Binkie van Es led fun activities from the BirdSleuth Caribbean program. The Anguilla National Trust shared their work to save rare iguanas on Anguilla, which used to live on St. Martin. Mark Yokoyama showcased St. Martin’s endemic animals. 

The Festival’s wildlife art station was busy with young artists throughout the event.

Kids and adults enjoyed several animal-themed arts and crafts, including making iguana masks and hand-painting wildlife bags. Guests also learned about Plantilles, the heritage plant program getting started on the grounds of Amuseum Naturalis. The project includes community gardens, a native plants nursery and a bush tea garden.

This year’s festival was the first chance in several years for the public to see the historic Old House in French Quarter. It will be the new home of free nature museum Amuseum Naturalis, which is moving there after two years in Grand Case. Over 100 volunteers have helped prepare the property since the beginning of the year. Les Fruits de Mer hosts regular volunteer events on weekends, and welcomes everyone to get involved. The association is hoping to relaunch the museum itself later this year.

Les Fruits de Mer is developing the historic Old House as a museum and community center. (Photo by Agnes Etchegoyen)

The Endemic Animal Festival was free to the public. This was made possible by the festival sponsors: BirdsCaribbean, Delta Petroleum, Happy Wine, Location De Bennes Diligence Express, Lagoonies Bistro and Bar and Tri-Sport. Visit lesfruitsdemer.com to learn more about Les Fruits de Mer, the festival, volunteering and future activities. The public is invited to join the association and take part in creating Amuseum Naturalis and Plantilles for the island.

Over 30 volunteers and experts made the Endemic Animal Festival possible. (Photo by Agnes Etchegoyen)

Free Festival on Sunday Celebrates Animals Made Here and More

The Endemic Animal Festival is a free public event for all ages that celebrates the unique wildlife and natural heritage of St. Martin.

The Endemic Animal Festival is a free event celebrating the animals found only on St. Martin and only in our region. It’s coming up this Sunday, May 20th from 9am to noon at Amuseum Naturalis at The Old House. Residents and visitors of all ages are encouraged to stop by and learn about these unique animals—and much more!

The Bearded Anole is one of several animals that lives only on St. Martin and nowhere else in the world.

Made Here is the theme of this year’s festival, and we are incredibly excited to have so many local experts at the festival to share their knowledge and passion with the public,” explained Les Fruits de Mer President Jenn Yerkes. “Amuseum Naturalis will be a place where the people of the island can share their stories. We’re starting that now, by working with experts here to showcase what is unique about the island in many different areas.”

Author and publisher Lasana M. Sekou has contributed selections of poetry and prose related to local nature that will be on display. Tadzio Bervoets of St. Maarten Nature Foundation will highlight how sharks are important for the island. Christophe Henocq will present on how historic “slave walls” now create a special habitat for plants and animals.

The 2018 Endemic Animal Festival will be held at Amuseum Naturalis at The Old House in French Quarter.

Members of the Anguilla National Trust will be sharing their work in saving the rare iguanas that once lived on St. Martin. Members of EPIC will be explaining how native plants and trees make the island stronger. Bird guide Binkie van Es will be leading BirdSleuth Caribbean activities for kids and adults.

The festival will feature an Endemic Animal Discovery Station where guests can see some of the animals that live only here. Visitors can learn more about Amuseum Naturalis and other projects in progress on the grounds of the museum. These include the Plantilles community gardens and the Seegrape studio, where the group will record St. Martiners telling their stories in their own words. Fun art activities related to wildlife are planned for kids and adults to enjoy.

Volunteers have prepared Amuseum Naturalis at The Old House to host festival exhibits and activities.

Les Fruits de Mer’s annual Endemic Animal Festival is a free public event for all ages that celebrates the unique wildlife and natural heritage of St. Martin. The 2018 festival will be held Sunday, May 20th from 9am to noon at the new site of Amuseum Naturalis at The Old House in French Quarter. It’s located on the top of the hill just after the turnoff to Le Galion, when coming towards French Quarter from Grand Case. The festival is made possible by support from our sponsors: BirdsCaribbean, Delta Petroleum, Happy Wine, Location De Bennes Diligence Express, Lagoonies Bistro and Bar and Tri-Sport.



BirdsCaribbean: 2018 EAF Sponsor!

Thanks to BirdsCaribbean for continuing their support of the Endemic Animal Festival! Our sponsors are the ones who make it possible for us to put on great events and make them completely free.

BirdsCaribbean is a vibrant international network of members and partners committed to conserving Caribbean birds and their habitats. They raise awareness, promote sound science, and empower local partners to build a region where people appreciate, conserve and benefit from thriving bird populations and ecosystems. They are a non-profit (501 (c) 3) membership organization. More than 100,000 people participate in their programmes each year, making BirdsCaribbean the most broad-based conservation organization in the region.
http://www.birdscaribbean.org

Delta Petroleum: 2018 EAF Sponsor!

Thanks to Delta Petroleum for continuing their support of the Endemic Animal Festival! Our sponsors are the ones who make it possible for us to put on great events and make them completely free.

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 sponsored Les Fruits de Mer events since 2013.
http://deltapetroleum.com

Location de Bennes: EAF 2018 Sponsor!

Thanks to Location de Bennes for supporting the Endemic Animal Festival! Our sponsors are the ones who make it possible for us to put on great events and make them completely free.

Do you need reliable delivery and pickup of dumpsters? Call Eric at 0690-37-81-59! He will deliver to your location and pick up when you are done filling your container. Location de Bennes is friendly and dependable and their containers open for easy loading.

Happy Wine: 2018 EAF Sponsor!

Thanks to Happy Wine for supporting the Endemic Animal Festival! Our sponsors are the ones who make it possible for us to put on great events and make them completely free.

Enjoy great wines and great value with Happy Wine. Happy Wine distributes to both restaurants and individuals, so you can enjoy the expertise that top restaurants rely on when buying wine for your own home. All of the wines distributed by Happy Wine are certified organic!
Happy Wine

Lagoonies: EAF 2018 Sponsor!

Thanks to Lagoonies Bistro and Bar for continuing their support of the Endemic Animal Festival! Our sponsors are the ones who make it possible for us to put on great events and make them completely free.

Lagoonies Bistro and Bar serves food that is crazy good for breakfast, lunch and dinner and hosts some of the hottest live music on the island several nights a week. Located at Lagoon Marina in Cole Bay, they are easily accessible by land or sea.
Lagoonies Bistro and Bar

Tri-Sport: EAF 2018 Sponsor!

Thanks to Tri-Sport for continuing their support of the Endemic Animal Festival! Our sponsors are the ones who make it possible for us to put on great events and make them completely free.

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

BirdSleuth with Binkie!

Les Fruits de Mer is excited to have Binkie van Es on board for the 2018 Endemic Animal Festival. Binkie is a certified BirdSleuth trainer and he will be leading this fun program at the event. BirdSleuth Caribbean is a fun set of educational activities that use birds to teach science and other skills. It is the only program of its kind that was developed specifically for the Caribbean. Kids and adults are welcome to join in the activities, and teachers are invited to learn the program for use in their own classrooms.

Binkie is an expert birder and birding guide, with the highest level of certification with the Caribbean Birding Trail Guide program. He is a board member of the St. Maarten Nature Foundation and a committee member of the Dutch Caribbean Nature Alliance. He is also a BirdsCaribbean member and EPIC volunteer. He also does bird monitoring on for Vogelbescherming Nederland.

Free Ebook Tells Stories of Animals After Irma

The Animals of Irma’s Island is a free ebook about St. Martin wildlife after Hurricane Irma.

With their fifth annual Endemic Animal Festival coming up on May 20th, the Les Fruits de Mer association released a new ebook. The Animals of Irma’s Island is full of stories about local wildlife after Hurricane Irma. You can download it for free at the group’s website.

“The aftermath of Hurricane Irma was a special time for both people and nature,” explained author Mark Yokoyama. “There were many hardships, but it was amazing to see nature in action. The chapters in this ebook were written between September and December 2017. They show nature bouncing back during that time.”

The ebook was made for this year’s Endemic Animal Festival. This event celebrates the animals that are found only on St. Martin or only in our region. The 2018 theme is Made Here.

“We’re excited to host this year’s festival at Amuseum Naturalis at The Old House,” said Les Fruits de Mer President Jenn Yerkes. “We’re still working on the museum itself, but this beautiful space is the perfect place to learn about St. Martin’s unique wildlife. We’ll also use the theme Made Here to show how nature connects to other parts of local heritage.”

The Endemic Animal Festival is a free public event for all ages. Activities include an Endemic Animal Discovery Station, birdwatching, and wildlife-themed art activities. Guests will learn about Plantilles, a series of native plant and community garden projects at The Old House. Several local experts will explore the Made Here theme as it relates to local wildlife, heritage and culture.

The 2018 festival will be held Sunday, May 20th from 9am to noon, and is made possible by support from our sponsors: BirdsCaribbean, Delta Petroleum, Happy Wine, Location De Bennes Diligence Express, Lagoonies Bistro and Bar and Tri-Sport. Visit lesfruitsdemer.com for more information about the festival, and to download The Animals of Irma’s Island.

Endemic Animal Festival 2017 Press Roundup

Huge thanks to local media of all types for helping us spread the word about the Endemic Animal Festival! Here are selections from the press about this year’s event.

The Daily Herald, April 2017

The Daily Herald, April 2017

The Daily Herald, April 2017

St. Martin’s Week, April 2017

Today Newspaper, April 2017

Wa’appen, April 2017

St. Martin’s Week, April 2017

97150, April 2017

The Daily Herald, April 2017

SXM Fax Info, April 2017

Le Pélican, April 2017

Soualiga Newsday
Le Pélican
SXM Fax Info
The Daily Herald
97150
SXM Island Time
Soualiga Post
Pearl FM Radio
SXM Island Time
The Daily Herald
Soualiga Newsday
Soualiga Post
97150
Soualiga Newsday
St. Martin News
721 News
SXM Island Time
Le Pélican

Hundreds Enjoy Local Wildlife at Endemic Animal Festival

Endemic Animal Festival guests enjoyed painting bird feeders made from local calabash and recycled fishing line. Photo by Tim Cam.

Hundreds of guests from St. Martin and beyond learned about local wildlife at the fourth annual Endemic Animal Festival on Sunday. The event, held at Amuseum Naturalis in Grand Case, featured animals found nowhere else in the world and a variety of activities for young and old. Created by the Les Fruits de Mer association, the festival is free and takes place each April.

“Getting to know the animals that live only on St. Martin is a fundamental part of understanding the island,” explained Mark Yokoyama, co-founder of Les Fruits de Mer. “The Endemic Animal Festival is one of our most important initiatives because it is a truly authentic, only on St. Martin experience.”

The Endemic Animal Discovery Station featured species found only on St. Martin and nowhere else in the world. Photo by Claire Affagard.

This year’s festival included a variety of fun ways to celebrate and explore island wildlife. The Endemic Animal Discovery Station showcased two species of lizard and one insect that are found only on St. Martin, as well as other species that live on only a few islands. Local wildlife experts were on hand to talk about the animals and answer questions. Guests painted bird feeders made from calabash and took home seedlings of the Gaïac, an endangered native tree.

“Hosting the festival at Amuseum Naturalis was a great addition to the event this year,” added Jenn Yerkes, President of Les Fruits de Mer. “Guests were able to enjoy over a dozen exhibits about local nature and our program of short nature documentaries in addition to the festival activities. If you haven’t been to the Amuseum yet, we’re open for two more days this season: April 28th and May 2nd from 4-8pm at 96 Boulevard de Grand Case. It’s free to visit.”

The Endemic Animal Festival was made possible by the generous support of its sponsors: BirdsCaribbean, Caribbean Paddling, Delta Petroleum, Hotel L’Esplanade, IGY Marinas, Lagoonies Bistro & Bar, L’Esperance Hotel, Rain Forest Adventures, The Scuba Shop, Sonesta Great Bay Beach Resort, Casino & Spa, Sonesta Maho Beach Resort & Casino and Tri-Sport. For more information, and to see photos from the event, visit http://www.lesfruitsdemer.com.

Festival attendees received a free seedling of the Gaïac, an endangered native tree. Photo by Claire Affagard.

Caribbean Curiosities: The Last Refuge

The ravines on the western slope of Pic Paradis feature a forest unlike anything else on St. Martin—or neighboring Anguilla and St. Barts for that matter. It is the homeland of our Bearded Anole, and may have been its birthplace, too.

The Bearded Anole, an icon of St. Martin.

In ecology, endemic means something that is only found in one specific place. There are a couple ways this can happen. A neoendemic species is a new species that evolves in a unique location. This happens a lot on islands. The term paleoendemic describes almost the opposite situation: the last refuge of a species that was once more widespread. This can happen on an island, too.

Our beautiful Bearded Anole—like most of our native reptiles—is a great example of a neoendemic species. Little lizards spread from island to island, blossoming into a wide variety of species as they adapted to their new homes. Lush forest may have been ancestral home of this species. It is ill-suited to the full heat of the tropical sun, and is primarily found in shady areas.

For most of the last 100,000 years, the Bearded Anole probably had lots of habitat. Sea levels were lower, and St. Martin was part of a much bigger island that included present-day Anguilla, St. Barts and beyond. Surely there were many shady forests where this lizard could live.

Around 12,000 years ago, rising sea levels separated St. Martin, Anguilla and St. Barts. The Bearded Anole probably lived on all three islands, but St. Barts and Anguilla are both lower than St. Martin. Because of this, they lacked the water and wind protection to develop the type of broadleaf forest that stretches from Colombier up to Pic Paradis.

We have no record of the Bearded Anole on St. Barts, and it was last recorded on Anguilla in the 1920s. Today it lives only on St. Martin, a relict population in its last refuge. It is both a neoendemic species that arose here, and a paleoendemic species that disappeared from the other places it lived.

Many of natures most miraculous creatures evolved on islands. They make up a tiny percentage of the land mass of the earth, but are home to much of the planet’s diversity. Unfortunately, over half of animal extinctions have also happened on islands, a trend that continues. The individuality of the island—in richness and struggle—is reflected in our Bearded Anole.

You can learn more about the Bearded Anole and other animals found only on St. Martin at Amuseum Naturalis, located at 96 Boulevard de Grand Case. The museum is free and open 4-8pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays. On Sunday, April 23rd from 9am-3pm the Amuseum will host the 2017 Endemic Animal Festival. Get more info at http://amuseumnaturalis.com.

Amuseum Naturalis Hosts Endemic Animal Festival This Sunday

Amuseum Naturalis, St. Martin’s only nature museum, hosts the Endemic Animal Festival this Sunday, April 23rd from 9am-3pm.

People of all ages are invited to discover the incredible animals that live only on St. Martin and only in our region at the fourth annual Endemic Animal Festival. This year’s festival takes place at Amuseum Naturalis in Grand Case from 9am to 3pm on Sunday, April 23rd. As always, the festival is completely free.

“Amuseum Naturalis was created as a showcase for St. Martin’s unique natural heritage, so it’s the perfect place to host the Endemic Animal Festival,” explained Mark Yokoyama, co-founder of Les Fruits de Mer, the association that created both the museum and the festival. Amuseum Naturalis is St. Martin’s only natural history museum.

The 2017 festival will include a full slate of fun, educational activities. Guests can get up close with fascinating island endemics like stick insects and anolis lizards at the Endemic Animal Discovery Station. Creative activities inspired by native wildlife will be hosted for people of all ages. Younger kids will enjoy coloring and activity pages designed by local artists featuring island animals. Older children and adults can paint birdfeeders made from calabashes, which they can take home to attract birds throughout the year. Guests can also bring home a seedling of the Gaïac, a native Caribbean tree that became endangered due to overharvesting.

This Sunday’s Endemic Animal Festival celebrates the amazing wildlife that can only be found here, like this Bearded Anole.

“The Endemic Animal Festival caps off a truly amazing season at Amuseum Naturalis. It’s the perfect opportunity to visit the museum if you haven’t already,” said Jenn Yerkes, President of Les Fruits de Mer. Festival-goers will be able to enjoy the museum’s exhibits, including the current special exhibit—Women, People of Color and the Making of Natural History in the Caribbean—which spotlights unsung heroes of Caribbean natural science.

The 2017 Endemic Animal Festival will be held at Amuseum Naturalis at 96 Boulevard de Grand Case on Sunday, April 23rd from 9am-3pm, rain or shine. The festival is made possible by the generous support of its sponsors: BirdsCaribbean, Caribbean Paddling, Delta Petroleum, Hotel L’Esplanade, IGY Marinas, Lagoonies Bistro & Bar, L’Esperance Hotel, Rain Forest Adventures, The Scuba Shop, Sonesta Great Bay Beach Resort, Casino & Spa, Sonesta Maho Beach Resort & Casino and Tri-Sport. For more information, visit http://www.lesfruitsdemer.com.

The free Endemic Animal Festival is this Sunday, April 23rd from 9am-3pm at Amuseum Naturalis in Grand Case.

EAF Sponsor Spotlight: Rockland Estate

Big thanks to a new sponsor, Rockland Estate, a new adventure park from Rain Forest Adventures. Rockland Estate is the latest attraction from Rain Forest Adventures. Set to open this summer, the adventure park will feature the world’s steepest zip line, The Flying Dutchman, the Pirate Sky Ride and a variety of other activities. The park will also feature a walk-through museum in the estate’s restored plantation house.
http://www.rainforestadventure.com

EAF Sponsor Spotlight: BirdsCaribbean

BirdsCaribbean is the regional organizer of the Caribbean Endemic Bird Festival, which includes events throughout the Caribbean that celebrate the region’s unique birdlife. St. Martin’s Endemic Animal Festival is part of this regional celebration, and BirdsCaribbean is a sponsor of the event through their CEBF Small Grants Program.

BirdsCaribbean is a vibrant international network of members and partners committed to conserving Caribbean birds and their habitats. They raise awareness, promote sound science, and empower local partners to build a region where people appreciate, conserve and benefit from thriving bird populations and ecosystems. They are a non-profit (501 (c) 3) membership organization. More than 100,000 people participate in their programmes each year, making BirdsCaribbean the most broad-based conservation organization in the region.
http://www.birdscaribbean.org

EAF Sponsor Spotlight: Caribbean Paddling

We love having Caribbean Paddling as a sponsor for the 2017 Endemic Animal Festival! As everyone on St. Martin knows, a trip to Pinel Island is the perfect way to spend the day. Renting a kayak or stand-up paddleboard from Caribbean Paddling is the perfect way to get to get there. They even have a giant paddleboard for up to six people. Visit their website to see everything they have to offer.

https://caribbeanpaddling.com

EAF Sponsor Spotlight: Delta Petroleum

We’re thrilled to have Delta Petroleum as a sponsor of the Endemic Animal Festival this year. They are also the sponsor of this year’s location, Amuseum Naturalis! 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 sponsored Les Fruits de Mer events since 2013.
http://deltapetroleum.com