Hunting Hodge Heritage with Dale Hodge

Captain Thaddeus Hodge and his wife Josephine. (Photo courtesy of Joycelyn Curiel)

Dale Hodge first became interested in her family tree about 30 years ago. Some of her older family members had done research already and were sharing it with the younger generations. Since then, she’s spent over 20 years exploring her family history.

Over the years, she’s built a family tree that includes about 6,000 people. It is an incredible achievement that took a lot of hard work. St. Martin’s unique history means searching in five languages in a variety of databases in different countries. It includes names, dates, occupations, marriages, births, deaths, gravestone locations, photos, stories and more.

WWI exemption card for Thaddeus Hodge from the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration. (Courtesy of Dale Hodge)

When asked about challenges in building her family tree, Hodge said it was hard to find photos of people. Finding out occupations of ancestors was also hard. Sometimes, getting relatives to open up was hard, too: “Some of the older generations seem to have difficulty talking about difficult situations. It was a different culture and expectations were different back then. These stories are vital for filling in gaps in any large family tree. Over time more people see the historical value in honoring their great grandparents, but it takes time. And people will only open up if they know their info will be respected!”

One small branch of Hodge’s extensive family tree. (Courtesy of Dale Hodge)

For those getting started on their family tree, Hodge has some suggestions. First, know that government records like birth, marriage and death dates are public records and free to access. It is also important to verify your information: “don’t be lazy about research, type the full names.” And, although the data itself is public, family trees are personal and “each person has to choose to share their tree with you.” While Facebook isn’t a primary tool for developing a family tree, it “can be a good tool in contacting lost cousins.”

Over the years, her family tree work has rewarded Hodge with many great experiences. A few highlights she mentions are “Seeing the face of my great-great grandmother for the first time, being able to help lost cousins find family connections through our DNA matches, and having people contact me from all over the world— that just found out they were adopted—and helping them discover family members.”

Although some things were hard to learn, Hodge isn’t afraid of her family history. “Many people ask me if I am afraid of finding something in my past or my ancestors past. I think this is a huge mistake in how society sees the past. I want to know everything! Good, great, boring, stupid, sad, the horrors, as this is what made each of us. Hiding the past serves no one. And yes, not everyone has the maturity to deal with many of the findings. But hopefully in time, we all can learn from our past.”

In the meantime, Hodge has one bit of advice for all: “Stop throwing away old pictures! Give them to family members instead.”

Do you have a question about how to researchyour family tree? Let us know by writing to info@lesfruitsdemer.com or The Daily Herald.

Memory Lane Online

Even during a pandemic lockdown, there are places to go where people can go to share memories about St. Martin. It’s like being on a shady front porch or a cafe terrace with friends, looking at old photos and talking about days gone by. Of course, these places are online and instead of a few friends, there are thousands.

On St. Martin, the most popular spots for this kind of sharing are Facebook groups. They have become a unique medium for sharing heritage. It is easy to see elements of oral tradition, storytelling, scrapbooking and journaling. It has a lot in common with the ways St. Martiners have shared and saved their culture for generations.

Communities sharing heritage on social media are also different from what came before. They can be very large. Some have thousands of members, who make dozens of posts and hundreds of comments every day. Strangers can interact with each other, united in a common interest. The conversations are also recorded. Members can go back and view old posts and even add their own memories to past discussions.

Over time, these groups have created a new kind of heritage collection. The topics and views come from ordinary people. Anyone can share the memories that they find meaningful. In a twist on the old way of documenting culture, people often post materials from books or articles and give their thoughts and critiques. No one needs credentials to share their story. No one needs to be consulted by an “expert.”

These groups are an amazing place to connect, share and interact. They are also a tremendous resource for preserving heritage. They are a chance to transform and enrich history by including the stories of far more people. We are only beginning to explore their potential.

These are resources as valuable as any book or archive. It is worth considering how to protect and preserve them. Facebook doesn’t offer the ability to back up or export the contents of a group. Users can delete the posts they made, and all their material disappears if they delete their account. A world of history is a the mercy of the users, group managers and Facebook itself.

Facebook groups often have a member who can name any person, house or tree in a photo. (Barbara Cannegieter Postcard Collection)

Facebook’s group feature wasn’t created to build archives. It is wonderful to follow and contribute in real time, but groups aren’t easy to organize or search. This material deserves to be more accessible to the public, to students and teachers and to local scholars. It should be on an equal footing with more traditional research resources.

We will surely learn to harness the potential of this amazing tool. In the meantime, why not join in the fun? The group We Are St. Maarten/St. Martin is very active, and every day amazing old memories and photos are posted. Discussions are fascinating and touching.

Do you have a favorite Facebook group for sharing St. Martin memories? Let us know by writing to info@lesfruitsdemer.com or The Daily Herald.

History Hunters

There are history hunters on St. Martin. They are resourceful and dedicated. They’ve unlocked hidden facts and pieced them together. The webs they’ve woven connect much of the island.

Genealogy is the study of family lines, and these history hunters on St. Martin have been doing it. They have built family trees that connect them to their past. Some include a few dozen people, others contain thousands of family members stretching back centuries.

Anyone can become a history hunter. We all have ancestors. It is a way to connect with living family members, and also to explore more distant connections.

Marriage records are a key resource for building a family tree.

If you are starting your own family, the first information usually comes from your family members. Asking around, you may find that one of your relatives has already been working on a family tree. There are also Facebook groups for many St. Martin families. Members share details and help name people in old photographs.

On Facebook, family members work together to identify people and homes in old photos

There are a few online databases that contain quite a bit of information about St. Martiners. Geneanet has many records of births, marriages and deaths for both sides of the island. You can search for free and limit your results to Guadeloupe or Sint Maarten to focus on local records. WieWasWie is a similar website for searching Dutch records. It’s also free to search, and you can limit results to Netherlands Antilles to make it easier to find local records.

Basic government records for St. Martin, like births and marriages, are available. But some other valuable resources aren’t as easy to find here. Newspaper archives are a huge resource for family tree research. On St. Martin, archives of The Daily Herald are available going back to 2006. Most older newspaper archives are not online, and it’s unclear if they exist at all. An effort to locate and digitize newspaper archives would be a huge boon to history hunters.

If you are ready to become a history hunter, head to the Heritage Backup page on lesfruitsdemer.com for links to tools you can use.

Are you a history hunter who would like to connect with others on St. Martin? Do you have resources or a family tree online you would like to share? Let us know by writing to info@lesfruitsdemer.com or The Daily Herald.

Amuseum@Home: Activities Round-up!

Amuseum @ Home
Discover amazing things about St. Martin from home! Have fun and learn about the island, while you’re protecting your community and yourself by staying home. Get fascinating and free stuff from Les Fruits de Mer–every day!

Here’s a round-up of over a dozen activities for your learning and enjoyment!

ACTIVITY OF THE DAY
Soapberry Bug Puzzle
Meet St. Martin’s Soapberry Bug! This beautiful, bright-orange insect feeds on the seeds of the Soapberry Vine. The special species we have on this island has not been identified yet. That means our Soapberry Bug may be new to science!

Play online now!
https://jigex.com/a5u8

Right now, the puzzle has about 40 pieces.
But, if you want to make it easier for little kids, you can switch it to as low as 6 or 8 pieces. Or, if you’re looking for more of a challenge, you can increase the pieces as high as 864! To adjust the number of pieces, just click on the icon that looks like a grid of squares, on the left side on the start bar, before you click “OK” to start the puzzle.

Enjoy!


ACTIVITY OF THE DAY
From the Nest!
Head over to one of our partner groups, BirdsCaribbean, for some amazing activities and coloring pages. Every day they feature a different bird that lives only in the Caribbean. Follow them for more: @BirdsCaribbean

All the From the Nest activities are here:
https://www.birdscaribbean.org/category/from-the-nest/

The page for the Sugar Bird, that lives on St. Martin:
https://www.birdscaribbean.org/2020/04/from-the-nest-day-3/


ACTIVITY OF THE DAY
Souliga Wall Crab Spider Puzzle
This incredible spider was discovered here on St. Martin! It’s named Souliga, because that was the Arawak name for this island. It can only be found on a few islands, including this one, so it’s special for our part of the Caribbean. Its body is very flat. This helps it hide away from predators under stones and bark.

Play online now!
https://jigex.com/B49a

Right now, the puzzle has about 40 pieces.
But, if you want to make it easier for little kids, you can switch it to as low as 6 or 8 pieces. Or, if you’re looking for more of a challenge, you can increase the pieces as high as 864! To adjust the number of pieces, just click on the icon that looks like a grid of squares, on the left side on the start bar, before you click “OK” to start the puzzle.


ACTIVITY OF THE DAY
St. Martin Proverbs Crossword #2!

Do you know where the gale doesn’t stop? Or what you give Jack? Traditional St. Martin sayings are an important part of local heritage–put your proverbs know-how to the test with this fun crossword puzzle! You can print it out, or play online. If you get stuck, ask an elder! Or, take a look at the books St. Martin Talk or National Symbols of St. Martin.

The St. Martin proverbs in this crossword were sourced from St. Martin Talk by Robert Romney, House of Nehesi Publishers, 2011; National Symbols of St. Martin – A Primer, edited by Lasana M. Sekou, House of Nehesi Publishers, 1996, 2017; and the heritage work of Amuseum Naturalis.

Free download:
http://www.lesfruitsdemer.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/Proverbs-Crossword-Two.pdf

Play online:
https://crosswordlabs.com/view/st-martin-proverbs-crossword-2


ACTIVITY OF THE DAY
Word Search: Local Names for St. Martin Birds

The special names used for birds and other wildlife on St. Martin are part of the island’s unique culture. Celebrate that heritage and sharpen your word skills, with this word search of local names for birds!

Download it here:
http://www.lesfruitsdemer.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/Local-Bird-Names-Word-Search.pdf


ACTIVITY OF THE DAY
St. Martin Regional Endemic Wildlife Match Game #2!

Meet more of the awesome animals and insects that live only in our region! They’re called “endemics” because that word means they only live in one special place or area. This memory matching game celebrates some more of our amazing regional endemics–bats, birds, lizards, butterflies and other incredible critters!

Play online here:
12-card game:
https://matchthememory.com/sxmregionalendemicsmatchtwo12card

20-card game:
https://matchthememory.com/sxmregionalendemicsmatchtwo20card


ACTIVITY OF THE DAY
Local Fruit Vertical Poem

Write a vertical poem about the fruit of St. Martin!

Local fruits are part of St. Martin’s natural heritage. They are also part of cultural heritage, the special traditions of St. Martin. Our fruits are part of local agricultural, food and bush tea traditions. Did you know many fruits, or parts of the plants and trees they grow on, are also used for bush tea? That’s an important part of local cultural heritage.

Download the activity:
http://www.lesfruitsdemer.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/Local-Fruit-Vertical-Poem.pdf


ACTIVITY OF THE DAY
Angerona Hairstreak Puzzle

Meet the Angerona Hairstreak! This beautiful butterfly is endemic to the Lesser Antilles. That means it is only found on these islands, including St. Martin. It feeds on nectar from flowers. Hairstreak butterflies like the Angerona often have tails on their lower wings.

Play online now!
https://jigex.com/mK5R


ACTIVITY OF THE DAY
Endemics Word Search!
Test your search skills by finding the hidden names of some of St. Martin’s amazing endemics! Our endemic animals and insects are special, because they live only on St. Martin, or only in our region.

Free download:
http://www.lesfruitsdemer.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/Endemics-WordSearch.pdf


ACTIVITY OF THE DAY
St. Martin Proverbs Crossword: Animals, Agriculture & Nature

Traditional St. Martin proverbs are an important part of local heritage. Test your know-how of St. Martin expressions and sayings with this crossword puzzle! You can print it out, or play online. If you get stuck, ask a St. Martin elder! Or, take a look at the books St. Martin Talk or National Symbols of St. Martin.

The proverbs in this crossword were sourced from St. Martin Talk by Robert Romney, House of Nehesi Publishers, 2011; National Symbols of St. Martin – A Primer, edited by Lasana M. Sekou, House of Nehesi Publishers, 1996, 2017; and the local heritage work of Amuseum Naturalis.

Free download:
http://www.lesfruitsdemer.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/Proverbs-Crossword.pdf

Play online:
https://crosswordlabs.com/view/st-martin-proverbs-animals-agriculture-nature


ACTIVITY OF THE DAY
Hey Baby!

How well do you know your island wildlife babies? Match babies with their parents, in this fun quiz based on amazing St. Martin wildlife! The baby animals and insects in this quiz are endemics. That means they’re special, because they live only on St. Martin, or only in our region!

Play online here:
https://www.goconqr.com/en-US/quiz/22399845/Hey-Baby–


ACTIVITY OF THE DAY
St. Martin Endemic Wildlife Matching Games

Did you know there are special animals and insects that live only on St. Martin, or only in our region? There are! They are called “endemics” because that word means they only live in one place or area. Have fun playing these online memory matching games that celebrate some of our amazing endemics.

12-card game:
https://matchthememory.com/sxmendemicsmatchbeginner

20-card game:
https://matchthememory.com/sxmendemicsmatchexpert


ACTIVITY OF THE DAY
Bearded Anole Puzzle

This little anole lizard lives only on the island of St. Martin. You can’t find it anywhere else in the world! It has beautiful blue markings around its eyes. It eats small insects, and loves shady places.

Play online now!
https://jigex.com/BV5A

Exploring Your Family Tree

Archival records from French Quarter, 1859.

Researching your family tree can be a very rewarding experience. Many of us want to learn more about where we came from and who our ancestors were. This project can also be a chance to connect with relatives and learn new stories.

Most people know their closest family members: parents, sisters and brothers, children. Most people can start to map out their family tree with the names and dates they already know. Even basic information like the date and location of births, marriages and deaths can start to give form to a family history.

Stretching back through time, grandparents, great aunts and uncles, and great grandparents can show the roots of your personal heritage. For St. Martiners, this might mean seeing connections between different families or roots on nearby islands.

It can be more challenging to develop a family tree that goes beyond the details you can get from family members. Most genealogy databases are light on information from the Caribbean, especially St. Martin. But there are some tools you can use.

FamilySearch.org is a free family tree research site. Although it doesn’t include records from St. Martin, it is possible to follow St. Martiners as they moved to other places. FamilySearch includes immigration data from the Dominican Republic. You can see dozens of St. Martiners moving there in the first half of the 20th century: Charles Blake Lake, Muriel Coralita Richardson, Edward Carty the list is long. Most were born between 1870 and 1925 and arrived in the Dominican Republic by the early 1950s.

There are also French colonial records available online at the national archives of the overseas territories. They include birth, death, marriage and other records from the 1770s until the beginning of the 20th century. They aren’t searchable by text, but you can view images of the records themselves.

An entry like the birth record of Anne Marie Hodge in 1859 contains quite a bit of information. She was born to Catherine Hodge, a 28 year-old clothing maker living at Union plantation. Her father was unknown, at least on the birth record. Later, a note was added to the page recording Anne Marie’s marriage to Jean Joseph Rohan when she was 21.

Anne Marie Hodge’s birth record from 1859.

From close family to the distant past, exploring family trees is a process of exploring personal heritage that connects each of us to a larger story. Yet that larger story is always grounded in the lives and loves of individuals. Connecting multiple family trees has the potential to reveal an even bigger picture and transform our knowledge about St. Martin history.

Have you researched your family tree? Would you be interested in sharing your family tree or helping others discover their past? Let us know by writing to info@lesfruitsdemer.com or The Daily Herald.

Heritage for a New Future

St. Martin’s heritage is priceless. It is an irreplaceable part of the human story. It should be preserved simply because it makes the world richer. It adds stories, language, art and culture to the grand tapestry of civilization.

But what is the practical value of St. Martin’s heritage in the modern age? How can it contribute to the future of life on the island? Is it even possible to predict during today’s uncertain times?

Boat building and racing traditions could be part of a heritage economy.

One area where heritage has clear value is in the tourism industry. Beautiful beaches and easy access by ship and plane turned St. Martin into a booming tourism destination in the 20th century. Tourism continued to grow during this century, but at great cost. The mass tourism of cruise ships and big resorts brings in less money, and profits fly off the island to international corporations. Meanwhile, natural beauty and the well-being of residents have suffered.

Whatever tourism looks like in the future, it will be different. For St. Martin, this could be the chance to pivot to more sustainable tourism. The island could use nature and heritage to develop an experience that is more unique and rooted in authentic island life. Jobs could depend on local knowledge and locally-owned companies could keep more of the profits on the island. From the Grand Canyon, to wine country to the pyramids, nature and culture are the foundations of tourism that are rooted in a place and its people.

Restoring heritage buildings with could be a fine career.

Investing in heritage could provide opportunities in other areas. Restoration of heritage buildings using traditional techniques is a great way to preserve heritage and provide careers. Farming traditions could contribute to local agriculture initiatives. Local arts and literature could become more economically valuable on an island that promoted them.

Heritage should also be a bigger part of education. Textbooks should be written about local heritage. St. Martin culture should become a required part of the curriculum. People should be paid to study heritage and teach it. Those people should be local people as much as possible. When imagining alternatives to a tourism economy, it is easy to overlook the advantages of a more local education system.

Surely there are many other ways to use heritage as one of the building blocks of a stronger, better St. Martin in the future. How can St. Martin’s past improve its future? Let us know by writing to info@lesfruitsdemer.com or The Daily Herald.

The History of Now

St. Martin’s history is unique. It is influenced by the island itself. The salt ponds attracted colonizers and the beaches attracted tourists. It is influenced by the climate. The lack of rain-catching mountains influenced agriculture and hurricanes have transformed the island. It is influenced by the politics and economics that split the island in two and controlled its fate from afar.

St. Martin culture comes from its people, and their interaction with that history. It pulls from deep roots in Africa that are still alive in kitchen gardens, folktales, music and more. St. Martin culture reflects the horrors of slavery and the fight for freedom. It retains the spirit of cooperation and self-sufficiency of the Traditional Period, the time between emancipation and the rise of tourism.

Rooftop COVID-19 garden beside Hurricane Irma repair scraps.

Today, we are in a unique and difficult moment. And it is a historic moment. The coronavirus pandemic is global, but on St. Martin, the experience is unique. Our pandemic is influenced by the island’s unique history and culture and this experience should be recorded.

At the island level, the current divide between the North and South is historic. The two sides have taken different approaches to slowing the pandemic. Some border crossings have been closed and the rest are tightly controlled. The frontier that is normally so easy to ignore is very real today.

St. Martiners are well-served by their experience living through disasters. They have survival skills. People know how to make meals from the foods they have. They have turned time at home into a chance to plant vegetables.

At the same time, this disaster is very different from a hurricane. Houses have water and current and stores have food. But the virus has forced people to stay apart instead of coming together to help each other. This crisis also exposes the huge gap between rich and poor on the island. A hurricane destroys houses both big and small. The reality of this confinement is totally different for those who have and those who do not.

The pandemic experience on St. Martin is also unique because it may mark the end of a historical era. After sixty years of a growing tourism economy, the future of the island is unclear. We don’t know how long this crisis will last or what tourism might look like after. Ten or twenty years from now, will we look back on the era of mass tourism the way we look back at the decades when sugar or cotton drove the economy?

This is a moment worth documenting, especially on St. Martin. It doesn’t have the visible destruction of a hurricane, so we must record our thoughts and feelings. It is the rare chance to describe a great change as it happens.

What is your experience during this crisis? How has it been influenced by your history, culture or family? How do you see St. Martin’s future? Let us know by writing to info@lesfruitsdemer.com or The Daily Herald.

Amuseum@Home: Day 22

Discover amazing things about St. Martin from home! Have fun and learn about the island, while you’re protecting your community and yourself by staying home. Get fascinating and free stuff from Les Fruits de Mer–every day!

BOOK OF THE DAY

Native Plants on St. Martin

Learn about some of St. Martin’s amazing native plants! Find out how they survive dry seasons and hurricanes with their special superpowers. Discover how native plants make the island better for native animals and people, too!

Download for free: http://www.lesfruitsdemer.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/AmuseumCompanion-NativePlants.pdf


ACTIVITY OF THE DAY

Native Plants Coloring Pages

Color three important local plants!

Free download: http://www.lesfruitsdemer.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/NativePlant-Coloring-Pages.pdf


ACTIVITY OF THE DAY

Native Plants Word Search!

Test your search skills by finding the hidden names of native St. Martin plants!

Free download: http://www.lesfruitsdemer.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/NativePlants-WordSearch.pdf

#AmuseumAtHome #museumsathome #museumfromhome #onlinemuseums #learninplace #stayhomeandlearn #learnathome #learnonline #socialdistance

Amuseum@Home: Day 21

Discover amazing things about St. Martin from home! Have fun and learn about the island, while you’re protecting your community and yourself by staying home. Get fascinating and free stuff from Les Fruits de Mer–every day!

BOOK OF THE DAY

Bird Shots

This bird photography guide was created to help birders become better photographers and photographers get better at photographing birds. It focuses on practical advice to get better bird photos and more enjoyment from this hobby. Topics range from the techniques you will use in the field to composition, visual storytelling, and post-production.

Download for free: http://goo.gl/zMqeML


ACTIVITY OF THE DAY

Bush Medicine Word Search!

Test your search skills by finding the hidden names of bush medicine plants!

Free download: http://www.lesfruitsdemer.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/BushMedicine-WordSearch.pdf

Want to learn more about bush medicine plants and traditions? Download the free book: http://www.lesfruitsdemer.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/AmuseumCompanion-BushMedicine.pdf

#AmuseumAtHome #museumsathome #museumfromhome #onlinemuseums #learninplace #stayhomeandlearn #learnathome #learnonline #socialdistance

Decoding the Past

Old shopping lists and bank statements are not usually considered fascinating reading. How many weeks of isolation would it take to make them interesting? If we’re lucky, we won’t ever find out. On the other hand, imagine being able to look at this year’s quarantine grocery orders in 2090. Think about how much will have changed and how odd some of them may seem.

Thanks to the preservation work of the late Pierre Beauperthuy, we can do almost the same thing right now. A ledger he preserved from the late 1940s and early 1950s is like a time capsule. It reveals everyday transactions from that time. Many things still seem quite ordinary. Paint, rope, nails and flour are bought. Other entries reveal how different St. Martin was a lifetime ago.

One of Dellie’s pages.

The ledger is nearly 500 pages thick and it begins with an index of names. Familiar family names appear in alphabetical order: Arnell, Barry, Bryan, Carty, David, Flanders, Fleming, Glasgow, Gumbs, Hyman, Illidge, Laurence, Maccow, Petit, Richardson, Vlaun, Wescott, York and many more. Each name is followed by a page number, where their account is recorded in the ledger.

There are plenty of simple transactions recorded. $6.60 for a sack of flour or 3 tins of “varnish for chair” at Fls 6.00. But sometimes more information is recorded. A purchase for 4 rolls of barbed wire and staples is followed by payments for “men cutting post” and “men running wire.”

The personal nature of relationships can also be seen. Pages may use the full name as a header, but the pages titled Arrindell Johanas are full of the nickname Dellie. “5 gallons paint for Dellie house” and payment for work done by “Dellie n other man.”

Other fascinating entries include livestock. One note reads “If the following mares served does not sell me the mule they will have to pay me $6 each.” It is followed by a list of ten owners who presumably had mares inseminated by a very valuable donkey.

The pricing of cattle is also quite interesting. In 1952, 28 cattle, weighting 6,404 kilos were sold for 24 carats of gold per kilogram of cow. In the ledger, the value was listed in “Dutch currency” instead of gold. It seems that the transaction was not a literal trade of gold for beef. Gold was just used to set the price.

Gold for beef.

These ledger entries are like a clouded view into the past. It is a St. Martin that most people today can’t really understand. But there are still some people living on St. Martin today who know exactly what was happening. They could decode the mysteries of this ledger and help the past come alive.

Do you want to help? You can take a look at the ledger, share what you know or ask an elder about certain entries. Find a link to the whole ledger by going to Les Fruits de Mer on Facebook or http://www.lesfruitsdemer.com/projects/heritage-backup/.

Amuseum@Home: Day 20

Discover amazing things about St. Martin from home! Have fun and learn about the island, while you’re protecting your community and yourself by staying home. Get fascinating and free stuff from Les Fruits de Mer–every day!

BOOK OF THE DAY

The Incomplete Guide to the Wildlife of Saint Martin
Called “the best, and most complete, natural history book I have read about any single Caribbean island” by Dr. James “Skip” Lazell, the updated and expanded second edition of this wildlife guide is a unique volume covering all the terrestrial wildlife of St. Martin, from mammals and birds to reptiles and insects. It includes over 500 color photographs, and features hundreds of species, including those which are found only on St. Martin. The text includes detailed information about both the biology and the local history of the animals featured and is written to be accessible to persons of all ages and backgrounds.

Download for free: https://goo.gl/VtMspJ


ACTIVITY OF THE DAY

Bird Search!

How much do you know about the birds of St. Martin? Test your knowledge with three bird search word search puzzles!

Free download: http://www.lesfruitsdemer.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/Bird-Search.pdf


VIDEO OF THE DAY

Incredible Journeys

Some birds live their whole life on St. Martin. Others make truly incredible journeys to come hear each year. They may travel thousands of miles from as far away as the Arctic Circle. Learn their stories. Watch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RwAqbvzCBEc

#AmuseumAtHome #museumsathome #museumfromhome #onlinemuseums #learninplace #stayhomeandlearn #learnathome #learnonline #socialdistance

Amuseum@Home: Day 19

Discover amazing things about St. Martin from home! Have fun and learn about the island, while you’re protecting your community and yourself by staying home. Get fascinating and free stuff from Les Fruits de Mer–every day!

BOOK OF THE DAY

Agricultural Roots on St. Martin
The Caribbean has rich agricultural traditions that carry on to this day. Where did these traditions come from? Why are some crops so common all over the region? Learn about the roots of Caribbean agriculture, one of the richest traditions on St. Martin.

Download for free: http://www.lesfruitsdemer.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/AmuseumCompanion-AgriculturalRoots.pdf


ACTIVITY OF THE DAY

Agricultural Roots Coloring Pages

Color some of the plants that people in the Caribbean grow and eat! These foods include native plants that were here before the first people, plants brought by Amerindian people and plants brought to the Caribbean from Africa. Need coloring inspiration, see the images of these plants in the Agricultural Roots book.

Free download: http://www.lesfruitsdemer.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/Agriculture-Roots-Coloring-Pages.pdf

The agricultural roots book: http://www.lesfruitsdemer.com/resources/books/#AgriRoots


ACTIVITY OF THE DAY

St. Martin Traditional Agriculture Crossword Puzzle

Test your knowledge of local agricultural traditions with this crossword puzzle! Print it out or play online! Need hints? Check the book: http://www.lesfruitsdemer.com/resources/books/#AgriRoots

Free download: http://www.lesfruitsdemer.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/Traditional-Agriculture-Crossword.pdf

Play online: https://crosswordlabs.com/view/st-martin-traditional-agriculture-crossword


VIDEO OF THE DAY

Jumbie Trees and Spirit Birds

Check out some fascinating folktales and folklore about Caribbean plants and wildlife! Find out how celebrating cultural heritage can help protect natural heritage. And, see some ways that’s being done right here on St. Martin. This special presentation was given by Jenn Yerkes at the 2019 BirdsCaribbean Conference in Guadeloupe. Watch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7AVQsd0DmXI

#AmuseumAtHome #museumsathome #museumfromhome #onlinemuseums #learninplace #stayhomeandlearn #learnathome #learnonline #socialdistance

The Roots of the New Routine

The roots of local cuisine at Marigot market in 1982. (Photo by Hélène K. Sargeant)

Lockdown has changed the daily routine for people all over the world. For many, long days are spent at home. A daily trip to the bakery seems like a luxury from a long-lost past. Many are worried about the sustainability of modern life. It’s a valid concern. Modern life changed almost overnight.

We adapt. People are baking bread again, or learning to do it for the first time. Vegetable seeds and sprouting potatoes are being put into the soil instead of the trash. Traditional recipes are popular. They provide comfort and often only require pantry basics.

These new ways are often old ways. A hundred years ago, St. Martin was a remote place. Goods arrived after long trips by sea. People worked ground, raised animals and ate from their kitchen garden. Fresh produce was not coming in on planes from France and barges from Miami every day. The shopping list was flour, sugar and salt fish.

Purchases recorded in a ledger in 1953: flour, salt fish, corn meal, sugar, kerosene, a crate of potatoes and a box of prunes.

The St. Martin of a hundred years ago seemed impossible to imagine a month ago. Today, it is a little easier to contemplate. Everyone, from recent arrivals to members of old St. Martin families, is closer to the roots of St. Martin culture today.

Of course, the modern world has not disappeared completely. We might learn to cook a traditional dish by watching a live stream instead of side-by-side with a grandparent in the kitchen. People are asking for planting advice on the brand new Kitchen Garden Club Facebook group, which grew to over 250 members in just a few days.

As we learn, live and share in this new world, we have the perfect opportunity to document traditional knowledge and oral traditions. There is even a new urgency to do so. A month ago, documenting St. Martin heritage was largely a matter of preserving the past. Today it is a chance to relearn how to survive on this island.

Now that we are living and sharing these traditions, let us also preserve them. It is a way to honor those who lived on St. Martin during much harder times. We can’t let their legacy drift into oblivion in the endless scroll of the Facebook timeline.

Share your voice and your stories. We are building an archive where these stories can be saved and enjoyed for years to come. Send an email to info@lesfruitsdemer.com or record a voice message and send it to Les Fruits de Mer on Facebook. Get tools and learn more at: http://www.lesfruitsdemer.com/projects/heritage-backup/.

Pumpkin, sweet potato, corn, cassava and pigeon pea in a traditional garden in 2020.

Amuseum@Home: Day 18

Discover amazing things about St. Martin from home! Have fun and learn about the island, while you’re protecting your community and yourself by staying home. Get fascinating and free stuff from Les Fruits de Mer–every day!

BOOK OF THE DAY

Bush Medicine on St. Martin
Bush medicine has been an important part of healthcare and culture on St. Martin for hundreds of years. Learn about the historical and cultural roots of bush medicine traditions on St. Martin and the Caribbean. Find out where the plants came from, how people learned to use them and how that knowledge was passed on from generation to generation.

Download for free: http://www.lesfruitsdemer.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/AmuseumCompanion-BushMedicine.pdf


ACTIVITY OF THE DAY

Bush Medicine Coloring Pages

Have fun coloring in some plants that are important parts of Caribbean bush tea and bush medicine traditions. If you need to know what they look like, check out the bush medicine book, or see if you have some of them in your kitchen garden!

Free download: http://www.lesfruitsdemer.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/Bush-Medicine-Coloring-Pages.pdf


VIDEO OF THE DAY

Killer Fashion: The Plume Boom, Female Activism, and Bird Conservation at the Turn of the 20th Century

Find out how a ruthless high-fashion trend almost killed off many of our bird species in the Caribbean, and across the globe, over 100 years ago! And meet the two-woman dream team that shut it down–and helped invent nature conservation along the way. This fascinating story was presented by Jenn Yerkes at the 2016 Migratory Bird Festival. Watch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wrwSD80tOow

#AmuseumAtHome #museumsathome #museumfromhome #onlinemuseums #learninplace #stayhomeandlearn #learnathome #learnonline #socialdistance

Amuseum@Home: Day 17

Discover amazing things about St. Martin from home! Have fun and learn about the island, while you’re protecting your community and yourself by staying home. Get fascinating and free stuff from Les Fruits de Mer–every day!

BOOK OF THE DAY

Heritage Backup: Part Three
Preserving heritage is important work, and it is time to come together to do it. It is time for a heritage jollification. Every voice matters. Every story matters. Start recording today and encourage your friends and family to do it, too.

Download for free: http://www.lesfruitsdemer.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/Heritage-Backup-Part-Three.pdf

Get all the Heritage Backup tools here: http://www.lesfruitsdemer.com/projects/heritage-backup/


ACTIVITY OF THE DAY

Reef Life Word Search

Develop your word skills by finding words about St. Martin’s beautiful coral reef habitats, and the incredible fish and creatures who live there!

Free download: http://www.lesfruitsdemer.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/Reef-Life-Word-Search.pdf


VIDEO OF THE DAY

The Sea After Irma

We take a quick dip below the surface to check out the state of the sea and our near shore coral reefs in St. Martin after Hurricane Irma. Watch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CdrevFdKp6E

#AmuseumAtHome #museumsathome #museumfromhome #onlinemuseums #learninplace #stayhomeandlearn #learnathome #learnonline #socialdistance

Heritage Jollification

St. Martin has traditions that go back centuries. (Barbara Cannegieter Postcard Collection)

For thousands of years, history has been written by the few, for the few and about the few. St. Martin is a perfect example. During the colonial period, most records were written for and by the colonial powers that ruled the island. During the modern period, most published writing about the island and its people was done by academics from other places.

Thankfully, there are some exceptions. There are history books by the late Daniella Jeffry, a wealth of literature, poetry and nonfiction published locally by House of Nehesi Publishers and the early issues of Discover Magazine edited by Sir Roland Richardson. Books and articles by St. Martiners are surely the most important works about St. Martin. They are the work of talented authors and dedicated publishers. But this small group of people can’t record and publish hundreds of years of St. Martin’s undocumented history and culture.

On St. Martin, history and culture have been passed down through the spoken word. These oral traditions are every bit as important as any written history. But a written history can live on forever, especially if thousands of copies are printed. In the past, oral traditions were vulnerable.

What was the market like 30, 50 or 100 years ago? (Barbara Cannegieter Postcard Collection)

That doesn’t have to be the case today. Most people have a tool to record oral traditions right in our pocket: our phone. Just as importantly, we have the ability to share and preserve those recordings online. Today it is possible to build a lasting history of the people, by the people, for the people. And it we can do it in a way that embraces St. Martin’s oral tradition.

Right now, many of us have time to do this work. As we stay at home, we can tell the stories of our lives. We can reach out to our elders and preserve their experiences. It is a perfect time to connect with family and reflect on where we come from.

Preserving the stories of those who lived during St. Martin’s traditional period, before the rise of tourism, is the most urgent task. But everyone has stories worth saving. What was the island like during the huge changes of the 80s and 90s? What was it like to survive hurricanes Luis and Irma? What is your personal experience as a St. Martiner on a changing island? Or as an immigrant making a home here?

Even scenes from St. Martin’s modern era can seem distant today. (Barbara Cannegieter Postcard Collection)

Preserving heritage is important work, and it is time to come together to do it. It is time for a heritage jollification. Every voice matters. Every story matters. Start recording today and encourage your friends and family to do it, too.

The Les Fruits de Mer association is working to help people document their stories, and to create an archive where those stories can be saved. They hope to share many of these stories as well, but only when permission is given to do so. Get tools and learn more at: http://www.lesfruitsdemer.com/projects/heritage-backup/. Let’s make this the legacy of our time of confinement.


Looking for inspiration to get started recording your memories? Here are a few places to get inspired:

The St. Martin Image Collection features photos and postcards of St. Martin going back over 100 years. Find landscapes that inspire memories and much more.

The First National Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) Inventory of Sint Maarten is the first collection of much of the cultural heritage of the island, from foods and craftsmanship to arts and festivals.

This 1940s and 1950s Ledger contains the accounts of purchases by dozens of St. Martiners. Take a look to find family members and explore what they were buying 75 years ago.

Watch St. Martiners tell their own stories in oral history films recorded by Les Fruits de Mer.

Amuseum@Home: Day 16

Discover amazing things about St. Martin from home! Have fun and learn about the island, while you’re protecting your community and yourself by staying home. Get fascinating and free stuff from Les Fruits de Mer–every day!

BOOK OF THE DAY

Wild Statia
Nature writing and photography bring the wildlife of Statia alive on the virtual page in this free ebook. The book’s fifteen chapters each take a closer look at a unique aspect of Statia’s wildlife, from majestic tropicbirds to nocturnal insects, and all the lizards in between. Also explored are the habitats that support wildlife and the work being done to understand and protect natural heritage. This 55-page ebook is illustrated with captivating photos taken by authors Hannah Madden and Mark Yokoyama. The format of the book emphasizes the fascinating stories that are often left unexplored by scientific publications.

Download for free: http://goo.gl/97qQFs


ACTIVITY OF THE DAY

Bird Life Creative Activity Sheets

Let your imagination fly! These bird-themed activity sheets ask you to use your creativity to draw part of the picture. You can print them out, or just look at the instructions and draw on your own sheet of paper!

Free download: http://www.lesfruitsdemer.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/Bird-Activity-Pages.pdf


VIDEO OF THE DAY

Wild Minute: The Fiddler Crab

Take a one-minute look at the tiny crab that has a big job keeping our ponds and beaches clean. Watch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tx75OqJxnjY

#AmuseumAtHome #museumsathome #museumfromhome #onlinemuseums #learninplace #stayhomeandlearn #learnathome #learnonline #socialdistance

Amuseum@Home: Day 15

Discover amazing things about St. Martin from home! Have fun and learn about the island, while you’re protecting your community and yourself by staying home. Get fascinating and free stuff from Les Fruits de Mer–every day!

BOOK OF THE DAY

Shadow of a Drought
During 2015 drought conditions impacted much of the Caribbean. This photo essay documents some of the impacts of drought on St. Martin. With climate change, droughts are increasing in the northeast Caribbean. Almost every year since 2015 has been drier than usual. How will this impact people and nature?

Download for free: http://goo.gl/9dsk1Z


ACTIVITY OF THE DAY

Lizard Mask

Lizards are an important and distinctive part of Caribbean ecology. Most native lizards are endemic to an island or small range of islands. This lizard mask is sized for kid faces. You can prepare the masks ahead of time so they are ready to color. Share images of local lizards if the kids want to make their mask look like a specific kind of lizard.

Download for free: http://www.lesfruitsdemer.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/Lizard-Mask.pdf


VIDEO OF THE DAY

Helping Habitats After Irma

How did people help nature come back after Hurricane Irma in the Caribbean? Why is it important? See and learn by watching today’s video! Watch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O0lbzpFkRFg

#AmuseumAtHome #museumsathome #museumfromhome #onlinemuseums #learninplace #stayhomeandlearn #learnathome #learnonline #socialdistance

Amuseum@Home: Day 14

Discover amazing things about St. Martin from home! Have fun and learn about the island, while you’re protecting your community and yourself by staying home. Get fascinating and free stuff from Les Fruits de Mer–every day!

Today were heading back to Heritage Backup! This is our chance to record our personal, family and community history. And that’s a chance to make sure we are all a part of history. If you’re just getting started with Heritage Backup, you can get all the materials here: http://www.lesfruitsdemer.com/projects/heritage-backup/

BOOKLET OF THE DAY

Heritage Backup: Tools of the Trade
Download this booklet to identify the tools you already have to record your personal history and how you can use them. If you have a computer, scanner, camera or videocamera that’s great. If not, you can do everything you need with a normal smartphone. Set yourself up to dive into your personal heritage collection and save those memories!

Download for free: http://www.lesfruitsdemer.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/Heritage-Backup-Part-Two.pdf


ACTIVITY OF THE DAY

Photo Memories Worksheet

Get started recording your memories with this Photo Memories Activity. Choose a few photos and record your memories. If you don’t have photos to work with, try finding a few photos at http://image.amuseumnaturalis.com that spark a memories and use them for this activity.

Download for free: http://www.lesfruitsdemer.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/Photo-Memories-Worksheet.pdf


VIDEO OF THE DAY

The Miracle of Christmas House

This is the story of how one person made a difference and touched the lives of people in her community and beyond. Christmas House in Cripple Gate is a St. Martin tradition for well over 30 years. Bernadine Arnell Joe tells us the story of Christmas House, how it reopened after Hurricane Irma and her dream for its future. Watch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xH0vJjsYxe8

#AmuseumAtHome #museumsathome #museumfromhome #onlinemuseums #learninplace #stayhomeandlearn #learnathome #learnonline #socialdistance

Tools of the Trade

During this time of confinement, we have an opportunity to make history. In many cases, we are stuck at home with our personal heritage collection of photos, letters and other items. If not, we still have our memories. You also have the tools you need to turn those raw materials into a lasting part of history.

In last week’s column, we learned how to identify and catalog our personal heritage collection. This week we will learn to start documenting those materials using the tools we have at hand. If you want to review any previous steps in our Heritage Backup, you can find the articles and worksheets online here: http://www.lesfruitsdemer.com/projects/heritage-backup/.

The first thing you will need is a workspace. Pretty much any table and chair will do, but if you have the option, there are a few things to look for. Beware of hazards that could damage precious materials, like a gust of wind that could blow papers around or rain from a nearby window. You need light. The best is indirect sunlight without bright glare or harsh shadows, but any light will do.

Next, you will need tools to document the items and your own memories about them. A camera for documenting and a pad and pencil for recording memories will work. If you have a scanner and a computer, that’s great too.

If you don’t have those things, a regular smartphone can do all you need. You can use it as a camera, a notepad, and a voice or video recorder. You can even use it to share what you have documented.

Want to make St. Martin history? A phone is all you need.

Use the phone’s camera to take a photo of the item you are studying. For a printed photo, lay the photo flat on your table and use your phone to take a digital picture of it. Try to keep the phone steady: resting your elbows on the table can help. You can zoom in on your phone to make sure it came out well. If you are having trouble, try to find a location with more light. If there is information on the back of the photo, take a picture of that, too.

You can use your phone as a voice recorder to save your memories about your item. The iPhone comes with an app called Voice Memos, and Google makes a free program called Recorder for Android phones. Set the phone on your desk, start a new recording and record your memories about the item. It is a good idea to start with a description of the item so you can match your voice recording with the picture of the item. End the recording and start a new one for the next item.

To get started, find a couple items that have meaning to you and use the tools you have to save an image of the item and your memories about it. If you want to share your item and memories, find Les Fruits de Mer on Facebook and send us a message with the photo and your audio recording. If you’re having trouble with any of the steps, maybe someone in your home can help and you can work together.

Are you ready to change history? Send us your photos and stories! Get in touch by writing in to info@lesfruitsdemer.com.

Amuseum@Home: Day 13

Discover amazing things about St. Martin from home! Have fun and learn about the island, while you’re protecting your community and yourself by staying home. Get fascinating and free stuff from Les Fruits de Mer–every day!

Today we are looking at a tree with special cultural meaning and also exploring art on St. Martin.

BOOK OF THE DAY

The Flamboyant: St. Martin’s Tree of Freedom in Culture and Art
This book celebrates a very special heritage tree for St. Martin. Learn more about the glorious Flamboyant, its links to local traditions and its historical connection to emancipation. Includes an essay by master painter Sir Roland Richardson, and beautiful images of some of his iconic Flamboyant artworks!

Download for free: http://www.lesfruitsdemer.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/The-Flamboyant.pdf


ACTIVITY OF THE DAY

St. Martin Art, Writing and Nature Imaginarium Activities!

Imagine, tell stories, write and create with these inspiring activities based on gorgeous paintings of local landscapes by St. Martin artist Sir Roland Richardson.

Download for free:http://www.lesfruitsdemer.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/Imaginarium-Activities-One.pdf


VIDEO OF THE DAY

I’m From the Renaissance

A short film about painter, teacher and Renaissance man Cynric Griffith. He lived an amazing life and made a big difference on St. Martin along the way. Watch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cemtki20IWU

#AmuseumAtHome #museumsathome #museumfromhome #onlinemuseums #learninplace #stayhomeandlearn #learnathome #learnonline #socialdistance

Amusuem@Home: Day 12

Discover amazing things about St. Martin from home! Have fun and learn about the island, while you’re protecting your community and yourself by staying home. Get fascinating and free stuff from Les Fruits de Mer–every day!

Have fun learning about Caribbean wildlife today!

BOOK OF THE DAY

Eye on Endemics: Caribbean Originals
In Caribbean Originals, we showcase ten local species that are found only on this island or only in the region, including birds lizards and insects. Learn about two species of lizard that live only on St. Martin and how a bird learned a new lifestyle while trying to overcome a disability.

Free download: http://goo.gl/ZY1SoV


ACTIVITY OF THE DAY

Wildlife Crown Craft
A perfect craft for having fun at home! Just color, cut and tape or staple to make cool crowns featuring local wildlife. Download for free:

Anguilla Bank Anole Lizard: http://www.lesfruitsdemer.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/Crown-AnguillaBankAnole.pdf
Brown Pelican: http://www.lesfruitsdemer.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/Crown-BrownPelican.pdf
Lesser Antillean Bullfinch: http://www.lesfruitsdemer.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/Crown-LesserAntilleanBullfinch.pdf

Instructions:
Print on A4 card stock (or whatever you have).
Color front and band (bottom section is the band).
Cut out front (top section) and band (strip on bottom).
Attach front and band with tape or staples, sized to the child’s head.


VIDEO OF THE DAY

Little Key After Irma

What is life like on a tiny island after a big hurricane? Come with us to Little Key—an island less than 100 meters long in the Simpson Bay Lagoon in St. Martin—and find out! Watch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l-J8IZ0X3Tk

#AmuseumAtHome #museumsathome #museumfromhome #onlinemuseums #learninplace #stayhomeandlearn #learnathome #learnonline #socialdistance

Amuseum@Home: Day 11

Discover amazing things about St. Martin from home! Have fun and learn about the island, while you’re protecting your community and yourself by staying home. Get fascinating and free stuff from Les Fruits de Mer–every day!

Learn about your feathery friends! Today’s program includes a book about birds, a happy bird-day card activity and a film about St. Martin’s Great Salt Pond that features lots of birds.

BOOK OF THE DAY

Eye on Endemics
This short book takes a closer look at some of the regionally-endemic birds that live on St. Martin. These are special birds that are only found in the Caribbean or have unique varieties in the Caribbean.

Free download: https://goo.gl/rYfpLM


ACTIVITY OF THE DAY

Happy Bird-day Cards
Color and create with these bird-themed cards. A great activity for people of all ages, everyone can leave with cards to give to friends or family. Download for free:

English, A4 Paper: http://www.lesfruitsdemer.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/Bird-day-Cards-EN-A4.pdf
English, Letter Paper: http://www.lesfruitsdemer.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/Bird-day-Cards-EN-Letter.pdf
French, A4 Paper: http://www.lesfruitsdemer.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/Bird-day-Cards-FR-A4.pdf
French, Letter Paper: http://www.lesfruitsdemer.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/Bird-day-Cards-FR-Letter.pdf


VIDEO OF THE DAY

The Great Salt Pond

Learn about St. Martin’s Great Salt Pond from a few different perspectives. See views of the pond and many of the birds that live there. Watch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fIZ9w2ocyWg

#AmuseumAtHome #museumsathome #museumfromhome #onlinemuseums #learninplace #stayhomeandlearn #learnathome #learnonline #socialdistance

Amuseum@Home: Day 10

Discover amazing things about St. Martin from home! Have fun and learn about the island, while you’re protecting your community and yourself by staying home. Get fascinating and free stuff from Les Fruits de Mer–every day!

Today we go down to the deep sea to see all the amazing creatures that live there!

BOOKLET OF THE DAY

Deep Sea Creatures of the Caribbean
Go deep, deep down to see all of the crazy animals that live deep under the sea. Some of them even live below where light ever reaches!

Free download: http://www.lesfruitsdemer.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/Deep-Sea-Creatures-of-the-Caribbean.pdf


ACTIVITY OF THE DAY

Undersea Adventure Creative Activity Sheets
Get ready to dive in and use your imagination! These ocean-themed activity sheets ask you to use your creativity to draw part of the picture. You can print them out, or just look at the instructions and draw on your own sheet of paper! Designed by Jenn “Madam J” Yerkes.

Free download: http://www.lesfruitsdemer.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/Undersea-Adventure-Creative-Activity-Sheets.pdf


VIDEO OF THE DAY

2000 Feet Under the Sea

In this vintage adventure the team explores the deep sea in a submarine off the coast of Roatan, Honduras. Watch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gsIwPNAgQdw

#AmuseumAtHome #museumsathome #museumfromhome #onlinemuseums #learninplace #stayhomeandlearn #learnathome #learnonline #socialdistance

Amuseum@Home: Day 9

Discover amazing things about St. Martin from home! Have fun and learn about the island, while you’re protecting your community and yourself by staying home. Get fascinating and free stuff from Les Fruits de Mer–every day!

Today we learn about animals that were brought by people to new places. It has happened a lot. Animals can cause big problems when they are brought to new places, especially islands. Learn how non-native animals have transformed St. Martin.

BOOK OF THE DAY

Caribbean Curiosities: Island of Change
From prehistoric times to the present day, one of the most important ways humans have impacted St. Martin is by introducing new animal and plant species. The second volume of Caribbean Curiosities winds its way through tales of animals that were brought to St. Martin by people and how these new species have changed the island. How has the island been changed forever by these new arrivals and what are they doing right now to change the island’s future?

Free download: https://goo.gl/Tp9kPm


ACTIVITY OF THE DAY

Introduced Species Crossword Puzzle
Solve the clues to complete this crossword puzzle all about animals that are not native to St. Martin, but were brought here by people.

Free download: http://www.lesfruitsdemer.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/Introduced-Species-Crossword.pdf

Play online: https://crosswordlabs.com/view/introduced-species-crossword


VIDEO OF THE DAY

Scrub Island Rescue
The team explores Scrub Island, an uninhabited island off the coast of Anguilla. They encounter quite a few native animals and also one introduced animal that has caused lots of trouble over the years, the rat! Watch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rqdyFAytM4Q

#AmuseumAtHome #museumsathome #museumfromhome #onlinemuseums #learninplace #stayhomeandlearn #learnathome #learnonline #socialdistance

Amuseum@Home: Day 8

Discover amazing things about St. Martin from home! Have fun and learn about the island, while you’re protecting your community and yourself by staying home. Get fascinating and free stuff from Les Fruits de Mer–every day!

Today we learn about birds, and especially how they survive hurricanes. Birds and other animals are amazing survivors!

BOOK OF THE DAY

The Animals of Irma’s Island
After a major hurricane, it can take years for nature to recover. On the island of St. Martin, we had a chance to watch that recovery in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma. In the weeks and months following the hurricane, St. Martin truly was Irma’s Island. In this book, we take a closer look at the lives, struggles and recovery of the animals living here during this special time.

Free download: https://goo.gl/vAd6L8


ACTIVITY OF THE DAY

Bird Mask
Fun and fanciful bird masks in different designs. Download, print, color and cut!

Free download: http://www.lesfruitsdemer.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/Bird-Masks.pdf


VIDEO OF THE DAY

Birds After Irma
What’s happened to St. Martin’s birds after Hurricane Irma? Watch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T7-stTdHwQo

#AmuseumAtHome #museumsathome #museumfromhome #onlinemuseums #learninplace #stayhomeandlearn #learnathome #learnonline #socialdistance

Amuseum@Home: Day 7

Discover amazing things about St. Martin from home! Have fun and learn about the island, while you’re protecting your community and yourself by staying home. Get fascinating and free stuff from Les Fruits de Mer–every day!

Today we are focusing on local culture and what we can do to preserve and share it. We are also starting our Heritage Backup program so we can use the time we have to make sure St. Martin’s history includes stories about everyone.

BOOKLET OF THE DAY

Heritage Backup, Part One
This booklet is the first installment of our Heritage Backup program. We cover two topics. The first is how to create an inventory of your own personal heritage. In the second part, we look at the amazing amount of information that you can find in family photos.

Free download: http://www.lesfruitsdemer.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/Heritage-Backup.pdf


ACTIVITY OF THE DAY

Heritage Vertical Poem
Learn how to write a vertical poem and write your own using the word HERITAGE, or a word that you choose.

Free download: http://www.lesfruitsdemer.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/Heritage-Vertical-Poem.pdf

BONUS ACTIVITY
Personal Heritage Inventory

Make an inventory of the heritage items in your house, just like you would if you worked at a museum!

Free download: http://www.lesfruitsdemer.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/Personal-Heritage-Inventory.pdf


VIDEO OF THE DAY

We Used to Eat Fresh Things
Delphine David remembers growing up on St. Martin and helping raise her younger brothers and sisters. Her history is an important part of the history of St. Martin. By listening to her, we can learn about the island and life in the past. Watch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xTDFgDjN0mY

#AmuseumAtHome #museumsathome #museumfromhome #onlinemuseums #learninplace #stayhomeandlearn #learnathome #learnonline #socialdistance

Heritage Backup

On St. Martin, history and heritage have been lost over and over during disasters. Fires, floods and hurricanes have destroyed public archives, private collections and personal photo albums. It is normal for a crisis to happen quickly and perhaps to separate people from their homes. In the aftermath of a hurricane, preserving heritage is well down the list of urgent needs.

The current global coronavirus pandemic is a bit different. Most of us are at home. We may suddenly have more time than usual. Perhaps it is the perfect time to conduct an island-wide heritage backup.

The past is the past, and we can’t change it. But we can change history. History is a record of past events, and it is never complete. Every home on St. Martin holds a bit of the island’s history. That bit can either be saved and shared, or lost forever. The history of the island and its people will be determined by each person’s decision.

In your home, there may be a photo album. It may hold the best or only existing photo of a relative. It may hold photos of homes and or businesses that don’t exist anymore. It may hold images of landscapes that have been changed forever. It may hold moments in time like the finish of a race or a wedding.

Part of St. Martin’s history is sitting in your closet.

You may have journals or letters. You may have documents that trace your family tree. You may have film, video or tape recordings. All of these items should be treated as if they were unique and irreplaceable historical artifacts. Because they are.

Your history, and the history of your family and friends is important. It is valuable and it is something that should be passed on to future generations. Why not take the time we have now to start the process of recording, preserving and cataloging your part of the island’s history.

The first step is to see what you have. You may be at home with other members of your family who can help you identify these treasures. This can be a chance to discover your shared history together.

Items you have saved may be links to shared memories.

Make a list of your personal historical collection: photos, videos, letters, journals, newspaper clippings, event programs and documents. Find all these materials and make sure they are in a safe place. Write a description of each item. What is it? A photo album, or box of letters. Who did it come from? What years does it cover?

This inventory of your collection will help you in the coming weeks as you work to explore and preserve your history. You can do this project at home with whatever tools you have available: your phone, your computer, or just a pencil and a piece of paper.

Are you ready to change history? Do you have questions about how to get started? Get in touch by writing in to info@lesfruitsdemer.com.

Amuseum@Home: Day 6

Discover amazing things about St. Martin from home! Have fun and learn about the island, while you’re protecting your community and yourself by staying home. Get fascinating and free stuff from Les Fruits de Mer–every day!

Learn about St. Martin traditions of making things and building homes! For all of prehistory and most of history people on this island had to make most of what they needed.

BOOK OF THE DAY

Making and Building on St. Martin
This book is an Amuseum Companion. It features St. Martin building techniques and traditional methods of making things. It features a few things going all the way back to prehistory, like Amerindian tools. It also shows how reusing and recycling are long time St. Martin traditions.

Free download: http://www.lesfruitsdemer.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/AmuseumCompanion-MakingBuilding.pdf


ACTIVITY OF THE DAY

Making and Building on St. Martin Word Search
Develop your word skills by finding words about making and building in the word search. If you don’t know what some of them mean, check out the book Making and Building on St. Martin that is the book of the day.

Free download: http://www.lesfruitsdemer.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/MakingBuilding-WordSearch.pdf


VIDEO OF THE DAY

Homes After Irma
St. Martin has many amazing and unique homes. Most of them were designed and built by local people. Learn more about them and why it is important to restore and protect them after they were damaged by Hurricane Irma. Watch:

#AmuseumAtHome #museumsathome #museumfromhome #onlinemuseums #learninplace #stayhomeandlearn #learnathome #learnonline #socialdistance

Amuseum@Home: Day 5

Discover amazing things about St. Martin from home! Have fun and learn about the island, while you’re protecting your community and yourself by staying home. Get fascinating and free stuff from Les Fruits de Mer–every day!

Learn about Caribbean critters today! Everything we are sharing today is about insects and other bugs!

BOOK OF THE DAY

Bugs in Paradise
For a little fun today
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.

Free download: http://goo.gl/mQ2d5M


ACTIVITY OF THE DAY

Crazy Creatures Creative Activity Sheets
You’re invited to use your imagination! These activity sheets ask you to use your creativity to draw part of the picture. You can print them out, or just look at the instructions and draw on your own sheet of paper! Made by Jenn Yerkes.

Free download: http://www.lesfruitsdemer.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/Crazy-Creatures-Creative-Activity-Pages.pdf


VIDEO OF THE DAY

Bugs in Paradise
The critters of the tropical broadleaf forest are showcased in verse. Poetry selections read by the author. Watch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?&v=20kTsqIGGOQ

#AmuseumAtHome #museumsathome #museumfromhome #onlinemuseums #learninplace #stayhomeandlearn #learnathome #learnonline #socialdistance

Amuseum@Home: Day 4

Discover amazing things about St. Martin from home! Have fun and learn about the island, while you’re protecting your community and yourself by staying home. Get fascinating and free stuff from Les Fruits de Mer–every day!

Learn about Caribbean animals today! Everything we are sharing today also includes some kind of aquatic animal, from fish and frogs to crabs and crayfish!

BOOK OF THE DAY

Caribbean Curiosities
Take a deeper dive into some of the amazing plants and animals that are featured at Amuseum Naturalis! Caribbean Curiosities tells the stories of some of St. Martin’s most dangerous invaders and some of its most amazing native treasures.

Free download: https://goo.gl/3gB2F5


ACTIVITY OF THE DAY

Amuseum Coloring Pages
A set of four coloring pages designed by Emily Geoffroy for Amuseum Naturalis. The designs are crayfish, fish, fly and Gaïac.

Free download: http://www.lesfruitsdemer.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/AN-Coloring-Pages.pdf


VIDEO OF THE DAY

Gut Life
Learn about the fascinating freshwater ecosystems on St. Martin. Watch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R2bH0xilGmQ

#AmuseumAtHome #museumsathome #museumfromhome #onlinemuseums #learninplace #stayhomeandlearn #learnathome #learnonline #socialdistance

Amuseum@Home: Day 3

Discover amazing things about St. Martin from home! Have fun and learn about the island, while you’re protecting your community and yourself by staying home. Get fascinating and free stuff from Les Fruits de Mer–every day!

Today we head over to the salt pond. For hundreds of years salt was made on St. Martin’s ponds, and in today’s video, we hear from Elise Hyman, who picked salt back in the day. We also have another book about birds that love ponds and an activity where you can make and color your own bird.

BOOK OF THE DAY

Pond Life
Learn the stories of seven different birds that live on St. Martin’s ponds. Some of them are year-round residents that raise families on our ponds each year, others are long distance travelers that come here each year to spend the winter months. They all depend on the same wetlands, which are critical to the ecology of the island and also an important part of its culture, history and identity.

Free download: http://www.lesfruitsdemer.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/Pond-Life.pdf


ACTIVITY OF THE DAY

Sandpiper Build-A-Bird
Make this simple mobile from a single sheet of US legal sized (8.5″ x 14″) paper. (A smaller size of paper works, it just makes a smaller bird.) The shape is a flying sandpiper, but it can be colored creatively.
Instructions:

Print on card stock.
Color the two wing and body sets on the printed side.
Cut them out and glue together.
Use a utility knife to cut along the line marked in the body and insert the wings.
Make a hole where marked on the body and hang with recycled fishing line.

Free download: http://www.lesfruitsdemer.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/Build-a-Bird-Sandpiper.pdf


VIDEO OF THE DAY

A Beautiful Sight to See
Like many people living in French Quarter at the time, Elise Hyman worked in salt production in Orient Bay in the middle of the last century. She shared some memories of those days and how salt was produced at Salines d’Orient. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8xKn3bnZoeM

#AmuseumAtHome #museumsathome #museumfromhome #onlinemuseums #learninplace #stayhomeandlearn #learnathome #learnonline #socialdistance

Les Fruits de Mer Launch Amuseum@Home for Local Learning

Free ebooks about nature are included in Amuseum@Home.

The Les Fruits de Mer association has launched a free at-home learning program. Amuseum@Home shares several fun learning resources each day via social media and the Les Fruits de Mer website. The program supports local learning while schools are shut down and St. Martiners of all ages are staying at home to avoid spreading coronavirus. 

“With the acceleration of this global pandemic we knew we had to act,” explained Les Fruits de Mer President Jenn Yerkes. “Sharing these free learning tools and activities can help kids stay engaged and entertained during this difficult time, while also learning about their island. It can help parents and teachers too. We hope that it also makes it easier for people to stay at home to slow the potential spread of coronavirus.”

The Amuseum@Home program launched on Sunday with an ebook about pond birds, a set of coloring pages and a short documentary film about flamingos on St. Martin. The theme for the day was wetlands. Les Fruits de Mer plans to share several resources each day.

Coloring pages and other activities are being shared for free.

“This is a very hard time, but the rich nature and heritage of St. Martin have a way of lifting spirits,” said Les Fruits de Mer co-founder Mark Yokoyama. “Let’s find inspiration in the stories of St. Martiners and in the amazing plants and animals that have survived countless droughts and tempests. It is a good time to explore and celebrate what makes this island special.” 

All of the Amuseum@Home materials are offered for free. To access them, visit Les Fruits de Mer on Facebook, or go to http://www.lesfruitsdemer.com/category/athome/ for daily collections of books, activities, videos and more.

Amuseum@Home: Day 2

Discover amazing things about St. Martin from home! Have fun and learn about the island, while you’re protecting your community and yourself by staying home. Get fascinating and free stuff from Les Fruits de Mer–every day!

Today, enjoy a book an activity and a short film. They are all about some of the unique animals that are found only on St. Martin or only in our region.

BOOK OF THE DAY

Caribbean Curiosities: Native Nature
St. Martin is full of unique animals. Many are found only in the Caribbean, and some are found only on St. Martin. Each species has its own story, and exploring this rich natural heritage is a fascinating way to explore the island. Learning how our wildlife became so unique is also a great way to understand the way all life has evolved and diversified. Enjoy six stories about bats, birds, lizards, fish and bugs.

Free download: http://www.lesfruitsdemer.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/Caribbean-Curiosities-Native-Nature.pdf


ACTIVITY OF THE DAY

Native Islanders Activity Book
This activity book features coloring pages, activity pages and interesting information about species that are endemic to St. Martin and to the Caribbean. It features artwork by Emily Geoffroy and Jenn Yerkes and text by Jenn Yerkes and Mark Yokoyama.

Free download: http://www.lesfruitsdemer.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/EAF-Activity-Book.pdf


VIDEO OF THE DAY

To the Bat Cave!
Caves are special places. They are home to bats and other animals, including many species that are found only in our region. Take a peek inside one of St. Martin’s most unique habitats, the Grotte du Puits des Terres Basses https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qei7VZRa4lM

#AmuseumAtHome #museumsathome #museumfromhome #onlinemuseums #learninplace #stayhomeandlearn #learnathome #learnonline #socialdistance

Amuseum@Home

Amuseum@Home is a home learning program all about St. Martin’s nature and heritage. Download free books and activities, and watch free movies about St. Martin! If you’re just getting started, head to the bottom of this page and you can work your way through the program day by day. You can also keep an eye out for new activities by following Les Fruits de Mer on Facebook. Have fun and stay safe while learning about St. Martin!

Amuseum@Home: Day 1

Discover amazing things about St. Martin from home! Have fun and learn about the island, while you’re protecting your community and yourself by staying home. Get fascinating and free stuff from Les Fruits de Mer–every day!

Today, enjoy a book an activity and a short film. They are all about our wetlands. St. Martin’s ponds and mangrove forests are super interesting and important to both people and nature.

BOOK OF THE DAY

Pond Life: Reflections
If you like your ecosystems wet and wild, then you will love Pond Life: Reflections. Each chapter explores a different view into these ever-changing wild spaces. How do they transform with the seasons? What has changed in recent years? How do they reflect centuries of history? Like St. Martin itself, life on the pond is rich and always in motion. Ponds connect sea and land, human and nature, past and present: dive in, and discover.

Free download: http://www.lesfruitsdemer.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/Pond-Life-Reflections.pdf


ACTIVITY OF THE DAY

Wetland Coloring Pages
Enjoy three free coloring pages with poems about these awesome animals who live in St. Martin’s wetland habitats: Whimbrel, Ruddy Turnstone and Fiddler Crab.

Free download: http://www.lesfruitsdemer.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/Wetland-Coloring-Pages.pdf


VIDEO OF THE DAY

Return of the Flamingo
Two flamingos arrived on the salt pond at Orient Bay in 2018. Are they the first of many? What is the history of this amazing bird on St. Martin? Watch and find out: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S0F7QEu7xFE

#AmuseumAtHome #museumsathome #museumfromhome #onlinemuseums #learninplace #stayhomeandlearn #learnathome #learnonline #socialdistance

The St. Martin 100

Where can you look if you want to learn more about St. Martin? If you want to know about hotels, restaurant and tourist attractions, head to the internet. If you want to know what commanders were in charge of the colonies and how many barrels of salt were produced in the 19th century, look in various government archives. If you want to know foreigners saw the island, many of the history books written in the 20th century will tell you.

But what if you want to learn about life on St. Martin—how it is and how it was? What about local culture? What about local events that weren’t “historical” enough to make it into the permanent record? What about the knowledge passed down from generations?

The best, and often only, source of this knowledge is direct conversation with St. Martiners. At this very moment, the people of the island know more about St. Martin than all the sites on the web and all the archives in Europe. This is a tremendous resource. It is the most vast and valuable part of St. Martin’s heritage.

There is a line that has been slipping away for a long time. It is a fuzzy line drawn somewhere in the early 1960s when the age of tourism began in earnest. It is a line that divides those that remember the island’s traditional period and those who never knew it. It is a line edging close to the horizon.

It is time to act while a different era is still remembered. (Barbara Cannegieter postcard collection)

St. Martin’s unique cultural legacy will endure, as it has for hundreds of years. But the depth and richness of that legacy will depend largely on what we are able to record today and in the coming few years. It will depend in part on how we protect and preserve what has already been documented. But most of all, it will depend on how many people we can speak to and how many stories we can record right now.

With time working against us, perhaps we can start by identifying the St. Martin 100. Who are the 100 St. Martiners who need to be interviewed most urgently? Perhaps their oral histories are of special value because of their experience or role in the community. Perhaps the perfect St. Martin 100 simply captures a diversity of experience: people from all walks of life from all over the island. Certainly it includes elders who can still remember life when it was very different here.

Of course, the St. Martin 100 is just a start. If 100 oral histories could be recorded a year, a library of 1,000 interviews could exist in a decade. So many stories would be saved and so many traditions described from different points of view. This would be a true library of culture and heritage.

Who would you suggest for the St. Martin 100? Tell us by writing in to The Daily Herald or info@lesfruitsdemer.com.

St. Martin Nature Books Available at Amuseum Naturalis

Ten different local nature books are available at Amuseum Naturalis.

Nature lovers and book lovers have something to celebrate on St. Martin. Ten different books about local wildlife are now available at Amuseum Naturalis, including eight in English and two in French. All of the books are full of vivid color images and great stories about the island’s unique nature. They are published by the Les Fruits de Mer association.

“The last edition of our wildlife guide was completely sold out. So it’s great to have it available again–plus a bunch of other beautiful books!” said author Mark Yokoyama. “Most of them are available in print for the first time, and it’s really nice to sit down and flip through the pages. We’re especially excited to have the long-awaited French edition of the St. Martin wildlife guide!”

The first French edition of The Incomplete Guide to the Wildlife of St. Martin has been published thanks to a micro-project grant from the French Agency for Biodiversity’s Te Me Um resource center and its members. The project financed the French translation by Amandine Vaslet and the printing of 200 copies for schools. Teachers who would like a free copy for their classrooms can pick it up at Amuseum Naturalis.

The Incomplete Guide to the Wildlife of St. Martin is now available in French.

Copies of the French and English versions of the wildlife guide are also available to teachers from French Quarter thanks to the Quartier + Musée project funded by CGET and the Collectivité de Saint-Martin under the Politique de la Ville program. Teachers from French Quarter are encouraged to stop by the Amuseum to pick up their copies.

For the general public, books are available for purchase at Amuseum Naturalis at The Old House for $10 to $20. They are also available on Amazon for those not on the island.  As always, digital versions can be downloaded for free at lesfruitsdemer.com. Amuseum Naturalis is on the hill above Galion Beach in French Quarter. It is open 9am to noon, Tuesday to Saturday, and entry is free to all.

Truth in the Tale

Folktales can do many things. They can help explain the world around us. They can connect us to our past. They can tell us how to live our lives and how to tell right from wrong. They entertain us.

Folktales are often strange or magical. They are not necessarily meant to be taken literally. But often there is some truth in them. In several old folktales from St. Martin, we can learn something about people, nature and the connection between the two.

The book Folk-Lore of the Antilles, French and English collects folktales recorded in the 1920s on many islands. Many of them were recounted by young people, and many of them include birds and other animals.

The story Cockroach Fools Fowl was told by 13 year-old Samuel Saty of Marigot. In the story, a cockroach pretends to be sick so a chicken will feed it. The chicken gives it pap, a thick drink made from arrowroot or other starch. When the trickery is discovered, Fowl is so vexed he swallows the cockroach whole. Though chickens don’t make pap, they do spend much of their time looking for—and swallowing—insects.

A Blue Pigeon, and perhaps a farmer’s wife.

Pigeon Wife was told by Hilton Liburt, an 18 year-old from Philipsburg. In this story, someone was stealing a farmer’s corn from his field. The thief was his wife, who was a pigeon. She was eating the corn in the field at night. People and birds sometimes do compete for food. When people replace wild areas with farms, birds may eat the crops because their normal food is gone. This can be a problem for both farmers and birds.

The story Bo Pigeon and Mountain Dove Race for the King’s Daughter comes from St. Croix. A pigeon and a dove agree to race for the chance to marry a princess. In a twist that may be familiar to many St. Martiners, they agree to each drink a demijohn of rum before the race, but the pigeon drinks water. The dove is too drunk to fly and loses the race. The native Blue Pigeon is usually seen high up in the sky, and the Mountain Dove is often on the ground so perhaps this tale was invented to explain why these birds act the way they do.

The Mountain Dove on the ground, but probably not drunk.

Do you have a favorite local folktale? Tell us by writing in to The Daily Herald or info@lesfruitsdemer.com.