Category: News

Free Native and Heritage Plant Giveaway at Amuseum Naturalis this Saturday

Get free plants at Amuseum Naturalis on Saturday, September 16th from 9am to noon.

The beginning of the fall rainy season is a traditional time for planting on St. Martin. To take advantage of the growing season, stop by the Les Fruits de Mer association’s free plant stand at Amuseum Naturalis! Thanks to support from Delta Petroleum, a wide variety of native tree seedlings and heritage plants will be available for free on Saturday, September 16 from 9am to noon.

“We have a free plant stand at Amuseum Naturalis that we stock all year, but right now is the best time to get those plants into the ground,” explained Les Fruits de Mer President Jenn Yerkes. “ The association gives away about 1,000 plants every year. We focus on native tree seedlings, and heritage plants like herbs and fruit tree seedlings. We want to help people create a space for birds and other animals in their backyard or neighborhood. We also want to support local plant traditions.”

Some of the local tree seedlings include lignum vitae, thatch palm, stinkin’ toe, soursop, coco plum and sugar apple. Heritage plants include paracetamol, stinging thyme, and vervain.

“We are really happy to support the free plant program,” said Natalia Ayala, Delta Petroleum Island Manager. “At Delta St. Martin, gardening and plant traditions are really important to our employees, families and customers. We love that we can help bring life to the island.”

The free plant stand is located directly in front of Amuseum Naturalis, at The Old House in French Quarter. The plant stand and the museum are always free to visit. Guests are welcome to make a self-guided visit any time during daylight hours, any day of the week. For more information, visit amuseumnaturalis.com.

Delta Petroleum is the sponsor of the free plant stand at Amuseum Naturalis.

10 Years of Volunteers!

Les Fruits de Mer has always been an all-volunteer association. We have been incredibly lucky to have an amazing team of volunteers over the years. Events, museums, books: our volunteers have made it all possible. Thank you! As part of our 10th anniversary celebrations, take a trip down memory lane and check out this gallery featuring many of our awesome volunteers!

The Old House Book Launches with Giveaway at Amuseum Naturalis on Saturday

The Old House is a new bilingual book by the Les Fruits de Mer association about The Old House, a historic building in French Quarter.

The Les Fruits de Mer association invites the public to celebrate the launch of The Old House this Saturday. The Old House is a bilingual book about The Old House in French Quarter, the current location of Amuseum Naturalis. Delta Petroleum is sponsoring free copies of the book for all who attend the launch. The launch event will be held from 9am to noon on Saturday, July 22nd.

Overlooking Coconut Grove in French Quarter, The Old House has been a part of St. Martin’s history for over 250 years. Very few buildings from its era survive today. The building showcases the skilled work of many generations of St. Martin artisans, from those who laid the foundations in the 1700s to those who did carpentry, tile and cement work in the last century

“We’re excited to share this book with the public, and thank Delta for supporting the launch,” said Les Fruits de Mer President Jenn Yerkes. “Delta has sponsored Les Fruits de Mer projects and events for ten years. They were the original sponsors of the first Amuseum Naturalis in Grand Case, and now they are helping us share this special book.”

Delta Petroleum is sponsoring the launch of The Old House, including free copies of the book for those who attend.

The book explores various aspects of The Old House, from its architecture and craftsmanship to its role in salt production and its representation in art. The book includes interviews with the late Elise Hyman, who worked at the Orient Bay salt pond in her youth, and Sir Roland Richardson, who created an etching of the house and profiled its history in an early issue of Discover magazine.

The Old House book is bilingual in French and English. It is available for free online at lesfruitsdemer.com. The print edition will be available for free at the book launch from 9am to noon on Saturday, July 22nd at Amuseum Naturalis. The public is welcome to visit Amuseum Naturalis at The Old House every day of the week from sunrise to sunset. The free museum features exhibits about The Old House itself, and many other parts of St. Martin’s nature, heritage and culture.

The Old House book is also available as a free download.

Today The Old House is home to Amuseum Naturalis, a free museum of St. Martin nature, heritage and culture.

About Amuseum Naturalis
Amuseum Naturalis is a free museum of the nature and heritage of St. Martin and the Caribbean, created by Les Fruits de Mer. It is located at the historic Old House in French Quarter on the hill above Coconut Grove. For the latest information, visit amuseumnaturalis.com.

About Delta Petroleum
Delta Petroleum is the top local sponsor of the Les Fruits de Mer association. Delta provides funding for many of the association’s projects, including Amuseum Naturalis, the Soualibra research library, the Plantilles free plant stand, and more. Delta has sponsored Les Fruits de Mer projects and events since 2013. Delta was founded in 1985 and is proud to support St. Martin communities by funding local education projects.

New Sea Activity Book Launches With Free Giveaway Event on Christmas Eve!

Super St. Martin OCEAN! is a new bilingual activity book featuring St. Martin undersea nature and heritage.

The Les Fruits de Mer association invites the public to a festive event, free book giveaway and author signing on the morning of Christmas Eve. The event celebrates the launch of Super St. Martin OCEAN!, the association’s newest publication. This bilingual activity book explores the amazing undersea nature and heritage of the island of St. Martin. It offers young people over a hundred pages of discovery and fun, with mazes, word games, coloring pages, creative writing activities, and much more. It features over 130 plants and animals found in St. Martin’s underwater world. Super St. Martin OCEAN! is the highly-anticipated sequel to Super St. Martin!, the popular bilingual activity book about local land animals and plants.

“We hope St. Martin kids and families will really enjoy the book, during this holiday season and beyond,” said author Jenn Yerkes. “It’s important for kids to have books about where they live. Imagine doing a word search about our coral reef creatures, solving a maze about picking whelks to bring to an elder’s house, inventing short stories about our sea turtles, or drawing the fish attracted to a traditional handmade fish pot!”

“Every activity is in both English and French, so it’s a great language-learning tool as well,” added Mark Yokoyama, co-founder of Les Fruits de Mer.

The book is bursting with fun activities like mazes, word games, coloring, and creative writing and drawing.

The Christmas Eve free giveaway launch event will be held from 9am to noon on Saturday, December 24th at Amuseum Naturalis at The Old House in French Quarter. Free copies of Super St. Martin OCEAN! will be given away at the event while supplies last thanks to Vie Associative and the Politique de la ville de Saint-Martin. The author will be present to sign copies of the book, and light refreshments will be served for all to enjoy. Attendees are invited to wear Santa hats or other seasonal attire or colors if they wish.

The book is also available as a free download from https://lesfruitsdemer.com, and for purchase on amazon.com worldwide. Teachers and youth group leaders interested in copies are encouraged to contact Les Fruits de Mer at [email protected]. Companies, organizations or individuals interested in sponsoring copies for schools are also encouraged to contact the association.

Free printed copies of Super St. Martin OCEAN! will also be given to local schools as part of Les Fruits de Mer’s 2022 book giveaway program. This project is supported by Vie Associative and the Politique de la ville de Saint-Martin, implemented by the State and the Collectivité de Saint-Martin. Super St. Martin OCEAN! was produced with support from Vie Associative, the Collectivité de Saint-Martin and the Agence nationale de la cohésion des territoires.

This project is supported by the Collectivité de Saint-Martin and the Agence nationale de la cohésion des territoires, through Vie Associative and Politique de la Ville.

New Nature Book Launches With Free Giveaway This Saturday!

Incredibilia! is a new book of fun facts about local nature.

The Les Fruits de Mer association invites the public to the launch of Incredibilia!, a new book of fun facts about local nature. The bilingual book reveals the amazing secrets and superpowers of 20 plants and animals found on this island. Bursting with vivid color photos and captivating natural and cultural heritage, Incredibilia! is sure to mesmerize readers young and old.

“On St. Martin, nature is all around us. And it’s full of really wild surprises!” said author Jenn Yerkes. “There are absolutely incredible things to discover, even about the plants and animals we see every day. Like what helps a gecko walk up walls. Or how a bird builds a stretchy nest that expands as its chicks get bigger. Or why a fish would make a sleeping bag out of its own snot!”

The association created the book in response to requests and questions from young people on St. Martin. Les Fruits de Mer cofounder Mark Yokoyama said, “Kids and youth are curious. They have a ton of questions when they visit the museum or read our other books. Once they start, they want to find out more and more.” “When some young folks asked us make a book about what animals do and why, we thought it was a great idea!” said Yerkes. To develop the book, she drew on selections from her popular weekly St. Martin nature series “Le saviez-vous ?” published in Le Pélican. The French parts of the book were edited thanks to the editing team of Le Pélican.

“This book is a fascinating look at how local nature works behind the scenes,” said Yokoyama. “And it would make a great holiday gift for people of all ages,” added Yerkes. “So we’re inviting people to pass by and get a free copy at the Amuseum this Saturday morning!”

To launch the book, a free giveaway event will be held on Saturday, December 17th at Amuseum Naturalis at The Old House in French Quarter. Free copies of Incredibilia! will be given away from 9am to noon, thanks to Vie Associative and the Politique de la ville de Saint-Martin.

The book is bilingual in English and French.

The book is also available as a free download from https://lesfruitsdemer.com, and for purchase on amazon.com worldwide. Teachers and youth group leaders interested in copies are encouraged to contact Les Fruits de Mer at [email protected]. Companies, organizations or individuals interested in sponsoring copies for schools are also encouraged to contact the association.

Free printed copies of Incredibilia! will also be given to local schools as part of Les Fruits de Mer’s 2022 book giveaway program. This project is supported by Vie Associative and the Politique de la ville de Saint-Martin, implemented by the State and the Collectivité de Saint-Martin. Incredibilia! was produced with support from Vie Associative, the Collectivité de Saint-Martin and the Agence nationale de la cohésion des territoires.

This project is supported by the Collectivité de Saint-Martin and the Agence nationale de la cohésion des territoires, through Vie Associative and Politique de la Ville.

Free Giveaway For New Sea Life Coloring Book This Saturday!

Soualiga Sea is the newest “color and learn” book, starring St. Martin sea life.

The Les Fruits de Mer association has published a new coloring book, Soualiga Sea, just in time for the holidays! The book spotlights St. Martin sea creatures, so kids can color them and learn their names in four of the many languages spoken here.

Soualiga Sea is the latest edition in the association’s Soualiga series of multi-lingual “color and learn” books for young children. The series debuted earlier this year with Soualiga Island, which showcases St. Martin’s land animals. Topics planned for future books in the series include St. Martin plants and heritage.

“Soualiga is one of the Amerindian names for St. Martin,” said author Jenn Yerkes. “English is the most common language here, but it’s been a richly multi-lingual island for a very long time. That’s why Les Fruits de Mer started producing this series of multi-lingual books for St. Martin’s young people. In the Soualiga books, everything is in English, French, Spanish and Dutch.”

Soualiga Sea stars St. Martin’s amazing sea life. For each sea animal, there is an illustrated coloring page with the animal’s name in all four languages. Each one also has a page where kids can practice writing the names of the animal. There is also a visual guide on the back cover with bright color photos of all the sea animals.

“Reading and writing are important skills for everybody. The best way to learn them is to start early. This series makes it fun by featuring things from this island that kids can see around them, or discover through the books. We believe the local focus will help kids connect more with reading and writing,” said Les Fruits de Mer co-founder Mark Yokoyama. “This series is especially designed to encourage kids to practice handwriting. And to give teachers a great way to help their students practice it, too!”

For each sea creature, there is a coloring page, and space to practice writing its name in four of the languages spoken on this island.

“Multi-lingual books also give parents and family members who might speak a different language at home a way to participate in kids’ education,” added Jenn Yerkes. “Plus, learning sea animal names in different languages is pretty awesome!”

Free copies of Soualiga Sea will be given away at Amuseum Naturalis on Saturday, December 10th from 9am to noon, thanks to Delta Petroleum. Amuseum Naturalis is a free museum of nature and heritage located in French Quarter, St. Martin. It is open every day from sunrise to sunset.

The book is also available as a free download from https://lesfruitsdemer.com, and for purchase on amazon.com worldwide. Teachers and youth group leaders interested in copies are encouraged to contact Les Fruits de Mer at [email protected]. Companies, organizations or individuals interested in sponsoring copies for schools are also encouraged to contact the association.

Free printed copies of Soualiga Sea will also be given to local schools as part of Les Fruits de Mer’s 2022 book giveaway program. This project is supported by the Politique de la ville de Saint-Martin, implemented by the State and the Collectivité de Saint-Martin. Soualiga Sea was produced with support from the Collectivité de Saint-Martin and the Agence nationale de la cohésion des territoires.

This project is supported by the Collectivité de Saint-Martin and the Agence nationale de la cohésion des territoires.

New Coloring Book Launches With Free Giveaway This Saturday!

Soualiga Island is a new “color and learn” book featuring St. Martin wildlife.

The Les Fruits de Mer association has published a new coloring book, Soualiga Island. The book showcases animals that live on the island of St. Martin, so kids can color them and learn their names in four of the many languages spoken here.

“Soualiga is one of the Amerindian names for this island,” said author Jenn Yerkes. “Although English is the most common language here, this has been a richly multi-lingual place for a very long time. We wanted to celebrate that with a multi-lingual book for very young folks. So in this book, everything is in English, French, Spanish and Dutch.”

The book spotlights the wide variety of wildlife on St. Martin. For each animal, there is an illustrated coloring page with the animal’s name in all four languages. Each one also has a page where kids can practice writing the names of the animal. There is a visual guide on the back cover with vivid color photos of all the animals. This encourages kids to learn what these creatures look like, and spot them in the wild.

For each animal, there is a coloring page, and space to practice writing its name in four of the languages spoken on this island.

“Everyone needs to read and write. The best way to learn is to start early. This book makes it fun by using animals from this island that kids can see around them. We believe the local focus will help kids connect more with reading and writing,” said Les Fruits de Mer co-founder Mark Yokoyama. “This book is especially designed to encourage kids to practice handwriting. And to give teachers a great way to help their students practice it, too!”

“With multi-lingual books, more parents and family members who might speak a different language at home can still join in kids’ education,” added Jenn Yerkes. “Plus, it’s cool to learn animal names in different languages!”

Free copies of Soualiga Island will be given away at Amuseum Naturalis on Saturday, November 5th from 9am to noon, thanks to Delta Petroleum. Amuseum Naturalis is a free museum of nature and heritage located in French Quarter, St. Martin. It is open every day from sunrise to sunset.

The book is also available as a free download from lesfruitsdemer.com, and for purchase on amazon.com worldwide. Teachers and youth group leaders interested in copies are encouraged to contact Les Fruits de Mer at [email protected]. Companies or individuals interested in sponsoring copies for schools are also encouraged to contact the association.

Free printed copies of Soualiga Island will also be given to local schools and students as part of Les Fruits de Mer’s 2022 book giveaway program. This project is supported by the Politique de la ville de Saint-Martin, implemented by the State and the Collectivité de Saint-Martin. Soualiga Island was produced with support from the Collectivité de Saint-Martin and the Agence nationale de la cohésion des territoires.

This project is supported by the Collectivité de Saint-Martin and the Agence nationale de la cohésion des territoires.

New Sargassum Book Launches With Free Giveaway This Saturday!

Suddenly, Sargassum! is a new book about sargassum on St. Martin.

If you have wondered why tons of sargassum have been washing up on St. Martin shores for the last decade, now you can find out. The story is told in the new book, Suddenly, Sargassum! The book was produced by the Les Fruits de Mer association and explores many aspects of this mysterious seaweed.

“The sudden arrival of sargassum in St. Martin is a big story,” said author Mark Yokoyama. “In recent years, we’ve learned about the unseen forces that bring sargassum here each year. We’ve also seen how it impacts people and nature.”

Suddenly, Sargassum! reveals many facets of this unusual seaweed. It includes guides to the creatures that depend on it, both in the sea and on the land. It outlines the process that brings sargassum blooms to St. Martin. It investigates the impacts of sargassum and even how it inspires art.

To launch the book, a free book giveaway event will be held on Saturday, October 1st at Amuseum Naturalis at The Old House in French Quarter from 9am to noon. Free copies of the book will be available in both English and French. A new exhibit about sargassum will also be launched.

The book was researched and written over the past year. Vivid photos reveal an entire world of life that is hidden in the sargassum, from microscopic sea creatures to birds that have learned to hunt and forage in it.

This book and the exhibit were produced with the financial support of the Office francais de la biodiversité, through a micro-project grant from Te Me Um. As part of the project, free copies of the book will be distributed to local schools, libraries and other institutions.

Suddenly, Sargassum! was produced with the financial support of the Office francais de la biodiversité, through a microproject grant from Te Me Um.

New Coloring Book Highlights the Insects of St. Martin

Insects Around Me is a new coloring book and nature journal featuring St. Martin insects.

The Les Fruits de Mer association has published a new coloring book, Insects Around Me. The book showcases 40 insects that live on St. Martin. The book is also a nature journal, where kids can record their own observations and make their own drawings of animals. 

“Insects are all around us, and they are easy to observe,” said author Mark Yokoyama. “Kids are fascinated by insects. They make a perfect gateway to discovery and learning, and we think this book can help.”

The book spotlights the wide variety of colorful insects found on St. Martin. For each species, there is an illustrated coloring page with a short description of the insect. There’s also a space to take notes on any sightings of the insect, and a place to do a drawing of it. There is also a visual guide on the back cover with color photos of each insect. These features encourage kids to observe these creatures in the wild.

For each insect, there is a coloring page, and space to record observations and make drawings.

“In this book, everything is in English and French,” added Les Fruits de Mer President Jenn Yerkes. “We wanted the book to be more versatile on this multi-lingual island. This also means the book can be a language-learning tool, too.”

Free copies of Insects Around Me will be given away at Amuseum Naturalis on Saturday, September 17th from 9am to noon. Amuseum Naturalis is a free museum of nature and heritage located in French Quarter, St. Martin. It is open every day from sunrise to sunset.

The book is also available as a free download from lesfruitsdemer.com. Teachers and youth group leaders interested in copies are encouraged to contact Les Fruits de Mer at [email protected]. Companies or individuals interested in sponsoring copies for schools are also encouraged to contact the association. The book is also available on amazon.com worldwide.

Insects Around Me was produced with support from the Collectivité de Saint-Martin and the Agence nationale de la cohésion des territoires. This project is supported by the politique de la ville de Saint-Martin, implemented by the State and the Collectivité de Saint-Martin.

This project is supported by the Collectivité de Saint-Martin and the Agence nationale de la cohésion des territoires.

New Exhibits Feature French Translations of Local Poetry

The new exhibits are on permanent display in the poetry area in front of the Amuseum.

Three new poetry exhibits at Amuseum Naturalis feature French translations of poetry by St. Martin authors. The exhibits include poems from ten different poets. The translations were done by St. Martin translator Alex Richards.

“Poetry on St. Martin is a powerful expression of culture and identity,” said Jenn Yerkes, co-curator of Amuseum Naturalis. “And poetry translation is an art. We knew it would take a specialized translator from this island to capture the nuance and spirit of these poems, so we were delighted to partner with Alex Richards on this!”

Reflections/Réflexions exhibits poetry and paintings by Lady Ruby Bute.

Two of the exhibits feature selections from recently published books: Reflections by Ruby Bute and SOS: Season of Storms by Fabian Badejo. The third exhibit features poems from ten different St. Martin poets.

All of these exhibits are also displayed at the Amuseum in the original English. Since English has historically been the primary language on the island, almost all St. Martin poetry has been written in English. Often, authors use St. Martin English, which has its own unique words, phrases and grammar.

“St. Martin has a rich culture that is hundreds of years old,” explained co-curator Mark Yokoyama. “In recent decades, many people have immigrated here, including many French-speakers who struggle with the island’s main language, English. French translations of local poetry create a chance for them to experience part of St. Martin’s culture. This is one step on the path to integrating new residents into St. Martin society.”

Season of Storms/Saison des Tempêtes showcases poetry by Fabian A. Badejo.

The new exhibits are on permanent display in the poetry area in front of the Amuseum. Amuseum Naturalis is located at The Old House in French Quarter. It is always free to visit, and all displays are now outdoors. Guests are welcome to make a self-guided visit any time during daylight hours, any day of the week. For more information, visit amuseumnaturalis.com.

These exhibits and other projects were made possible by support from the Collectivité de Saint-Martin and the Agence nationale de la cohésion des territoires. The exhibits were also made possible by the poets who generously gave permission for their work to be translated and exhibited.

St. Martiners Tell Stories from Their Lives in New Oral History Book

Stories of St Martin collects twelve stories told by St. Martiners in their own voices.

The Les Fruits de Mer association has published a new book, Stories of St. Martin. In this book, twelve St. Martiners tell stories from their lives in their own words. Each story captures a unique part of life on St. Martin, and each story captures a unique voice. They are stories of work, hardship, accomplishment and inspiration.

“Reading this book is like sitting down with a neighbor while they tell you a story,” said co-editor Jenn Yerkes. “It’s a great way for St. Martiners of all ages to share the living history of this place, from major events to daily life back in the day. The stories really come alive because each one is told in a unique voice.”

These stories were recorded on St. Martin between 2016 and 2021. Topics include salt and salt harvesting, storms and renewal, work and service, and local traditions. Each one is part of an oral history tradition on St. Martin that stretches back hundreds of years, and continues today. This important process has preserved knowledge, customs, and culture, including the local language, by passing them down from generation to generation.

“We are excited to publish this book in French as well as English,” added co-editor Mark Yokoyama. “People living here who don’t speak the island’s mother tongue don’t have many opportunities to learn about the lives of St. Martiners. We hope this book promotes deeper understanding and connection.”

Twelve St. Martiners are featured in Stories of St. Martin. (Photos Les Fruits de Mer, Ryan Tackling)

Free copies of Stories of St. Martin will be given away at Amuseum Naturalis on Saturday, January 29th from 9am to noon thanks to sponsor Delta Petroleum. Amuseum Naturalis is a free museum of nature and heritage located in French Quarter, St. Martin. It is open every day from sunrise to sunset.

The book is also available as a free download from https://lesfruitsdemer.com and for purchase worldwide at amazon.com. Teachers and youth group leaders interested in copies are encouraged to contact Les Fruits de Mer at [email protected]. Companies or individuals interested in sponsoring copies for schools are also encouraged to contact the association.

The Les Fruits de Mer association has published twelve books about St. Martin nature and heritage. All are available in both English and French. The association is currently working to develop new books on local topics for all different ages. Their long-term goal is to give a free book about St. Martin to every student on the island, every year they are in school.

Stories of St. Martin was produced with support from the Collectivité de Saint-Martin, the Agence nationale de la cohésion des territoires, and Delta Petroleum.

New Book Explores the Impact of Hurricane Irma on St. Martin Wildlife

Animals After Irma is a new book exploring the impacts of hurricane Irma on St. Martin wildlife.

The Les Fruits de Mer association has published a new book, Animals After Irma. In the book, eight short essays reveal different ways that the hurricane impacted animals on St. Martin. It also explores how different species survived or even thrived in the aftermath. The book is full of vivid color photos of animals and their habitats after the storm.

“Hurricane Irma had a huge impact on St. Martin,” said author Mark Yokoyama. “The effects it had on nature are important. We live on an island with few wild spaces remaining. We also have unique species found nowhere else in the world that depend on those spaces.”

Animals After Irma has been published in English and French. It is one of several books being produced by the Les Fruits de Mer association that explore the impacts of climate change on St. Martin. These impacts include drought, increased hurricane activity and sargassum beachings.

Free copies of Animals After Irma will be given away at Amuseum Naturalis on Saturday, January 15th from 9am to noon thanks to sponsor Delta Petroleum. Amuseum Naturalis is a free museum of nature and heritage located in French Quarter, St. Martin. It is open every day from sunrise to sunset.

The book is also available as a free download from https://lesfruitsdemer.com and for purchase worldwide at amazon.com. Teachers and youth group leaders interested in copies are encouraged to contact Les Fruits de Mer at [email protected]. Companies or individuals interested in sponsoring copies for schools are also encouraged to contact the association.

The Les Fruits de Mer association has published twelve books about St. Martin nature and heritage. All are available in both English and French. The association is currently working to develop new books on local topics for all different ages. Their long-term goal is to give a free book about St. Martin to every student on the island, every year they are in school.

Animals After Irma was produced with support from the Collectivité de Saint-Martin, the Agence nationale de la cohésion des territoires, and Delta Petroleum.

New Poetry Exhibits at Amuseum Naturalis Showcase Local Authors

Reflections exhibits the poetry and paintings of Lady Ruby Bute.

There are two new outdoor poetry exhibits at Amuseum Naturalis in French Quarter. They both showcase poetry from recently released books by local authors. The Season of Storms exhibit presents poetry from S.O.S. Season of Storms by Fabian A. Badejo. An exhibit featuring the work of Lady Ruby Bute spotlights poems and paintings from her new book, Reflections.

“We are delighted to share these wonderful exhibits,” said Amuseum co-founder Jenn Yerkes. “Lady Ruby Bute and Fabian Badejo have been important contributors to St. Martin’s literature and arts for decades, and we are very proud to feature their work at the Amuseum.”

Season of Storms is a new exhibit of poetry by Fabian A. Badejo.

The Season of Storms exhibit focuses on Badejo’s poetry about Hurricane Irma, recent protests and the coronavirus pandemic. It also includes details from the book’s powerful cover art, painted by Ras Mosera.

The Reflections exhibit presents vivid poetry and paintings by Ruby Bute. Many of them highlight St. Martin heritage and traditions, from the outdoor market to J’ouvert morning festivities.

Amuseum Naturalis is located at The Old House in French Quarter. It is always free to visit, and all displays are now outdoors. Guests are welcome to make a self-guided visit any time during daylight hours, any day of the week. The new exhibits are on permanent display in the poetry area in front of the house. For more information, visit amuseumnaturalis.com.

These exhibits and other projects were made possible by support from the Collectivité de Saint-Martin and the Agence nationale de la cohésion des territoires.

New Activity Book Highlights St. Martin Nature and Heritage

Super St. Martin! is a new bilingual activity book featuring St. Martin nature and heritage.

The Les Fruits de Mer association has published a new activity book, Super St. Martin! This unique bilingual activity book invites young people to explore and celebrate the amazing nature and heritage of the island of St. Martin. It has over a hundred pages of discovery and fun, with mazes, word games, coloring pages, creative writing activities, and much more. The book features over 150 plants and animals that can be seen on St. Martin, including some that are only found here, and nowhere else in the world!

The book is bursting with fun activities like mazes, word games, coloring, and creative writing and drawing.

“We hope St. Martin kids and families will really enjoy this book, during the holiday season and beyond,” said author Jenn Yerkes. “It’s important for kids to have books about where they live. Imagine doing a word search with local names for birds, inventing short stories about this island’s night creatures, dreaming up a new kind of insect, or creating a beautiful floral pattern for a traditional dress!”

“Every activity is in both English and French, so it can also be a great tool for language learners,” added Mark Yokoyama, co-founder of Les Fruits de Mer.

Sponsor Delta Petroleum has provided 100 free copies for individuals to pick up at Amuseum Naturalis.

One hundred free copies of Super St. Martin! are being given away at Amuseum Naturalis in December and January thanks to sponsor Delta Petroleum. Amuseum Naturalis is a free museum of nature and heritage located in French Quarter, St. Martin. It is open every day from sunrise to sunset.

The book is also available as a free download from https://lesfruitsdemer.com. Teachers and youth group leaders interested in copies are encouraged to contact Les Fruits de Mer at [email protected]. Companies or individuals interested in sponsoring copies for schools are also encouraged to contact the association. The book is also available on amazon.com worldwide.

Super St. Martin! was produced with support from the Collectivité de Saint-Martin, the Agence nationale de la cohésion des territoires, and Delta Petroleum.

Introduced Species Crossword – Mots Croisés : Espèces Introduites

Solve this puzzle, and learn about some of the island’s introduced species! Download the free page here: https://www.lesfruitsdemer.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/10/SSM-30.pdf

Résolvez ce jeu de mots croisés, et découvrez certaines des espèces introduites de l’île ! Téléchargez la page gratuite ici : https://www.lesfruitsdemer.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/10/SSM-31.pdf

Amuseum@Home presents fun local learning activities for free every day! Find more great stuff to do at: https://www.lesfruitsdemer.com/category/athome/

Find cool books and more at: https://www.lesfruitsdemer.com/resources/
This page came from Super St. Martin!

Amuseum@Home présente gratuitement tous les jours des activités ludiques pédagogiques sur des sujets locaux! Trouvez d’autres choses à faire fantastiques sur : https://www.lesfruitsdemer.com/category/athome/

Trouvez des livres formidables, et plus sur :  https://www.lesfruitsdemer.com/resources/
Cette page provient de Super St. Martin !

New Coloring Book Highlights the Animals of St. Martin

Sponsor Delta Petroleum has provided 100 free copies for individuals to pick up at Amuseum Naturalis.

The Les Fruits de Mer association has published a new coloring book, Animals Around Me. The book showcases 44 animals that live on St. Martin. The book is also a nature journal, where kids can record their own observations and make their own drawings of animals. 

“It is never too early to learn about St. Martin’s amazing wildlife,” said author Mark Yokoyama. “Some of our most common animals are ones that live only here on this island, and nowhere else in the world. We made this book to share these incredible animals, and their stories, with younger kids.”

The book spotlights birds, insects, reptiles and more. For each species, there is an illustrated coloring page with a short description of the animal. There’s also a space to take notes on any sightings of the animal, and a place to do a drawing of it. There is also a visual guide on the back cover with color photos of each animal. These features encourage kids to observe these animals in the wild.

For each animal, there is a coloring page, and space to record observations and make drawings.

“In this book, everything is in English and French,” added Les Fruits de Mer President Jenn Yerkes. “We wanted the book to be more versatile on this multi-lingual island. This also means the book can be a language learning tool, too.”

One hundred free copies of Animals Around Me will be given away at Amuseum Naturalis in October thanks to sponsor Delta Petroleum. Amuseum Naturalis is a free museum of nature and heritage located in French Quarter, St. Martin. It is open every day from sunrise to sunset.

The book is also available as a free download from https://lesfruitsdemer.com. Teachers and youth group leaders interested in copies are encouraged to contact Les Fruits de Mer at [email protected]. Companies or individuals interested in sponsoring copies for schools are also encouraged to contact the association. The book is also available on amazon.com worldwide.

Animals Around Me was produced with support from the Collectivité de Saint-Martin, the Agence nationale de la cohésion des territoires, and Delta Petroleum.

Animals Around Me is a new coloring book and nature journal featuring St. Martin wildlife.

Gulf Fritillary Coloring Page – Coloriage de Agraulis nacré

Have fun coloring, and learn about St. Martin’s St. Gulf Fritillary!
Download the page here: https://www.lesfruitsdemer.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/09/AAM-Gulf-Fritillary.pdf

Amusez-vous à colorier, et découvrez l’Agraulis nacré de Saint-Martin !
Téléchargez le coloriage ici : https://www.lesfruitsdemer.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/09/AAM-Gulf-Fritillary.pdf

Amuseum@Home is fun local learning for free every day. Find more fun stuff to do at:
https://www.lesfruitsdemer.com/category/athome/

Find cool books and more at: https://www.lesfruitsdemer.com/resources/

This coloring page came from Animals Around Me.


Amuseum@Home présente gratuitement tous les jours des activités ludiques pédagogiques sur des sujets locaux. Trouvez d’autres choses à faire supers sur : https://www.lesfruitsdemer.com/category/athome/


Trouvez des livres formidables, et plus sur :  https://www.lesfruitsdemer.com/resources/

Ce coloriage provient d’Animaux Autour de Moi.

Exhibit of French Quarter Etchings by Sir Roland Richardson Opens at Amuseum Naturalis

The Last Frontier is a new exhibit of etchings and memories of French Quarter by Sir Roland Richardson.

A new outdoor exhibit is now open at Amuseum Naturalis in French Quarter. The exhibit is titled The Last Frontier: Sir Roland Richardson’s French Quarter. It features etchings of people and places in French Quarter, and Richardson’s memories of the time he lived there. Visitors can come and enjoy the exhibit any time from sunrise to sunset, any day of the week.

“We are so excited to share this with St. Martin,” said Amuseum co-founder Mark Yokoyama, who developed the exhibit with Richardson. “It is an exhibit about art, and about French Quarter, and about St. Martin’s past. Sir Roland’s etchings aren’t as well-known as his paintings, but they are historical treasures. This exhibit presents them much larger than life size, and the detail is amazing. Combined with his memories, this is an exhibit that transports you to a time and place that no longer exists.”

The Last Frontier features eight Richardson etchings. Subjects include an etching of the house where Richardson lived in French Quarter, and The Old House, the historic building where Amuseum Naturalis is located. The text, taken from interviews with Richardson, reveals a French Quarter where traditions still survived on a rapidly changing island. He also shares insights into his artistic process.

Sir Roland Richardson remembers his time in French Quarter fondly, “I felt that was part of my real privilege, that opportunity to sleep with my doors open. I didn’t have any worries and I felt totally at home, but I felt really privileged to have out of every door or window where I looked, the natural landscape. I did a huge, huge body of work during those years.”

The Last Frontier features French Quarter people and places, like The Old House.

Amuseum Naturalis is located at The Old House in French Quarter. It is always free to visit, and all displays are now outdoors. Guests are welcome to make a self-guided visit any time during daylight hours, any day of the week. The Last Frontier is on permanent display just in front of the house. For more information, visit amuseumnaturalis.com.

This exhibit and other projects were made possible by support from the Collectivité de Saint-Martin and the Agence nationale de la cohésion des territoires.

Caribbean Curiosities

Dive into the wild world of St. Martin wildlife and nature. Caribbean Curiosities explores all kinds of unique nature stories happening all around us on St. Martin.

Use the links below to download it for free, or order it online if you’re not on St. Martin. If you are on St. Martin and would like to get a print copy, visit Librarie du Bord de Mer in Marigot, or send a message to [email protected].

If you are a teacher or work with kids, contact us and we will do our best to provide copies for your class or group. If you or your business want to help us provide copies to schools, let us know!

Caribbean Curiosities

Take a deeper dive into some of the amazing plants and animals of St. Martin. 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. 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. Discover them 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?
Buy the book.
Download the book (PDF, 86 pages, 10MB).

Curiosités des Caraïbes

Caribbean Curiosities examine de plus près certains des animaux et plantes fascinants, qui met en valeur l’histoire naturelle de St. Martin et des Caraïbes.
Téléchargez une copie gratuite.
Achetez une copie.

Shadow of a Drought

Have you ever wondered why St. Martin can seem so lush and green in November and so dry in April? How is climate change impacting nature and people? Shadow of a Drought uses striking images of the 2015 drought to explore some of these questions.

Use the links below to download it for free, or order it online if you’re not on St. Martin. If you are on St. Martin and would like to get a print copy, visit Librarie du Bord de Mer in Marigot, or send a message to [email protected].

If you are a teacher or work with kids, contact us and we will do our best to provide copies for your class or group. If you or your business want to help us provide copies to schools, let us know!

Shadow of a Drought

Shadow-of-a-Drought-web

During 2015 drought conditions impacted much of the Caribbean. This photo essay documents some of the impacts of drought on St. Martin. It was produced by Les Fruits de Mer as a companion piece to the 2015 Migratory Bird Festival. All photos and text by Mark Yokoyama. Translation into French by Jennifer Yerkes.
Buy the book.
Download it as an ebook: English (PDF, 30 Pages)French (PDF, 30 pages)

En 2015, les conditions de sécheresse ont touché une grande partie des Caraïbes. Cet essai photographique documente certains des effets de la sécheresse sur Saint-Martin.
Téléchargez une copie gratuite.
Achetez une copie.

Eye on Endemics

St. Martin and the Caribbean are special because there are many unique animals that live here and nowhere else. Get to know them and learn how adaptation and survival created these exceptional animals.

Use the links below to download it for free, or order it online if you’re not on St. Martin. If you are on St. Martin and would like to get a print copy, visit Librarie du Bord de Mer in Marigot, or send a message to [email protected].

If you are a teacher or work with kids, contact us and we will do our best to provide copies for your class or group. If you or your business want to help us provide copies to schools, let us know!

Eye on Endemics: Caribbean Originals

This book showcases over a dozen animal species that are found only on the island of St. Martin or only in the Caribbean region. Get to know two species of lizard that live only on St. Martin. Discover insects you can’t see anywhere else. Find out which common birds on the island are Caribbean originals. And learn why there are so many unique animals on St. Martin!
Buy the book.
Download the book (PDF, 64 pages, 5MB).

Regard sur les Espèces Endémiques : Uniques aux Caraïbes

Ce livre présente plus d’une douzaine d’espèces animales que l’on ne trouve que sur l’île de Saint-Martin ou dans la région des Caraïbes. Apprenez à connaître deux espèces de lézards qui vivent uniquement à Saint-Martin. Rencontrez des insectes que vous ne pouvez voir nulle part ailleurs. Découvrez quels oiseaux communs sur l’île sont uniques aux Caraïbes. Et apprenez pourquoi il y a tant d’animaux uniques à Saint-Martin!
Téléchargez une copie gratuite.
Achetez une copie.

Pond Life

Ponds on St. Martin are amazing places full of birds and other life. Take a closer look at our amazing ponds and all the creatures that live there in the book Pond Life.

Use the links below to download it for free, or order it online if you’re not on St. Martin. If you are on St. Martin and would like to get a print copy, visit Librarie du Bord de Mer in Marigot, or send a message to [email protected].

If you are a teacher or work with kids, contact us and we will do our best to provide copies for your class or group. If you or your business want to help us provide copies to schools, let us know!

Pond Life

If you like your ecosystems wet and wild, then you will love Pond Life. 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.
Buy the book.
Download the book (PDF, 70 pages, 9MB).

La vie des étangs

Si vous aimez découvrir d’incroyables écosystèmes, vous allez adorer La vie des étangs. Chaque chapitre explore une vision différente de ces espaces sauvages en constante évolution. Comment se transforment-ils avec les saisons? Qu’est-ce qui a changé ces dernières années? Comment reflètent-ils des siècles d’histoire? Comme Saint-Martin lui-même, la vie sur l’étang est riche et toujours en mouvement. Les étangs relient la mer et la terre, les humains et la nature, le passé et le présent–et vous invitent à la découverte!
Téléchargez une copie gratuite.
Achetez une copie.

The Book of Cures

Take a unique journey into St. Martin’s past through the pages of a notebook full of medical recipes. Find out what this unique artifact can tell us about life in the 19th century Caribbean.

Use the links below to download it for free, or order it online if you’re not on St. Martin. If you are on St. Martin and would like to get a print copy, visit Librarie du Bord de Mer in Marigot, or send a message to [email protected].

If you are a teacher or work with kids, contact us and we will do our best to provide copies for your class or group. If you or your business want to help us provide copies to schools, let us know!

The Book of Cures

In a small notebook, an unknown 19th-century author on the island of St. Martin recorded medical remedies and other useful information. Preserved for perhaps 200 years, through hurricanes and other calamities, this book of cures provides a unique window into life on St. Martin. Dive into this unique artifact on a page-by-page journey of discovery.
Buy the book.
Download the book for free. (PDF, 38 pages)

 

Le Cahier de Remèdes

Au 19ème siècle, sur l’île de Saint-Martin, un auteur inconnu a consigné des remèdes et autres informations utiles dans un petit cahier. Préservé pendant quelque 200 ans, après avoir survécu aux ouragans et autres calamités, ce cahier de remèdes offre une fenêtre unique sur la vie de l’époque à Saint-Martin. Page après page, plongez dans ce cahier extraordinaire et partez pour un voyage de découverte.
Achetez une copie.
Téléchargez une copie gratuite.

Wild Things!

Wild Things! is a book that tells some amazing stories about animals on St. Martin. Learn which animals are found only on this island and nowhere else in the world. Explore caves and freshwater habitats. Find out how animals introduced by people are transforming the island.

Use the links below to download it for free, or order it online if you’re not on St. Martin. If you are on St. Martin and would like to get a print copy, visit Librarie du Bord de Mer in Marigot, or send a message to [email protected].

If you are a teacher or work with kids, contact us and we will do our best to provide copies for your class or group. If you or your business want to help us provide copies to schools, let us know!

Wild Things! Animals of St. Martin

Get to know the wild things of St. Martin! This entertaining overview of St. Martin’s land and freshwater wildlife will take you all over the island. Discover the unique animals living on the island of St. Martin. Learn about animals that live nowhere else in the world, explore caves and freshwater streams and find out how recently arrived species are changing the island.
Buy the book.
Download the book! (PDF, 46 pages).

Le Côté Sauvage!: Les Animaux de Saint-Martin

Découvrez les histoires incroyables de la faune de Saint-Martin! Apprenez à connaître les animaux qui ne vivent qu’ici, les nouveaux arrivants qui changent l’île, les bestioles qui crient la nuit et bien plus encore!
Téléchargez une copie gratuite.
Achetez une copie.

Bugs in Paradise

Enjoy exciting images and amusing verses about some of St. Martin’s littlest critters in the book Bugs in Paradise.

Use the links below to download it for free, or order it online if you’re not on St. Martin. If you are on St. Martin and would like to get a print copy send a message to [email protected].

If you are a teacher or work with kids, contact us and we will do our best to provide copies for your class or group. If you or your business want to help us provide copies to schools, let us know!

Bugs in Paradise

Bugs-in-Paradise-web

For our coming festival
We thought it would be nice
To make an ebook just for kids
Called Bugs in Paradise.
With photos to astound the eye
Of creatures where they dwell
The text is written all in verse
And will delight as well.
Buy the book.
Download the ebook (PDF, 24 pages, 3.2MB).

St. Martin Wildlife Guide

Are you curious about the wildlife of St. Martin? Get to know many of the creatures great and small that share the island with us. The St. Martin wildlife book is available in English and French.

Use the links below to download it for free, or order it online if you’re not on St. Martin. If you are on St. Martin and would like to get a print copy, visit Van Dorp in Madame Estate or Librarie du Bord de Mer in Marigot, or send a message to [email protected].

If you are a teacher or work with kids, contact us and we will do our best to provide copies for your class or group. If you or your business want to help us provide copies to schools, let us know!

The Incomplete Guide to the Wildlife of Saint Martin

2nd-ed-guide-cover-web
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.
Buy the book.
Download the book for free. (PDF, 130 pages)

 

Guide incomplet a la faune sauvage de Saint-Martin

edition-francaise-cover-web

Le Guide incomplet de la faune sauvage de Saint-Martin présente la faune terrestre de l’ile, des mammifères aux oiseaux sans oublier les insectes et araignées. Ce guide décrit des centaines d’espèces et comprend plus de 500 photos en couleur. En plus de décrire les animaux sauvages, ce livre fournit des informations sur l’écologie des espèces et leurs habitats. Ce livre constitue un guide de terrain unique sur les animaux sauvages de Saint Martin et de la région Caraïbe.
Téléchargez une copie gratuite.
Achetez une copie.

Plantilles: Plants of St. Martin

Curious about St. Martin plants and their role in history and culture? Check out Plantilles: Plants of St. Martin, a brand new book all about St. Martin’s plants.

Use the links below to download it for free, or order it online if you’re not on St. Martin. If you are on St. Martin and would like to get a print copy, visit Librarie du Bord de Mer in Marigot, or send a message to [email protected].

If you are a teacher or work with kids, contact us and we will do our best to provide copies for your class or group. If you or your business want to help us provide copies to schools, let us know!

Plantilles: Plants of St. Martin

Plantilles is a book about plants and plant traditions on St. Martin. It tells the stories of native plants and how they survive on the island, farming and bush medicine traditions and the importance of plants in culture. It also includes a guide to local flowers.
Buy the book.
Download the book! (PDF, 95 pages).

 

Plantilles: Plantes de Saint-Martin

Saint-Martin est recouverte de plantes, et Plantilles vous donne l’opportunité d’en apprendre plus sur elles! Les plantes indigènes de l’île sont vitales pour toute vie à Saint-Martin, et elles ont des pouvoirs étonnants pour survivre aux sécheresses et aux tempêtes. Les gens dépendent aussi des plantes. Elles sont cultivées pour la nourriture et la médecine. Les traditions végétales de Saint-Martin remontent à des milliers d’années. Ces traditions proviennent de cultures différentes, notamment Amérindiennes et Africaines. Découvrez ces plantes et traditions fascinantes, et apprenez à reconnaître plusieurs des belles plantes que vous voyez chaque jour! Traduit de l’anglais par Jenn Yerkes, Amandine Vaslet et Julie Quéau.
Achetez une copie.
Download the book! (PDF, 95 pages).

Free Bird Coloring Book Offers Virtual Tour of the Caribbean

Free copies of the coloring book Endemic Birds of the West Indies are available at Amuseum Naturalis.

There are almost 200 birds that live only in the Caribbean. Some live only in a certain part of the region, and some live only on a single island. A new coloring book, Endemic Birds of the West Indies, features 50 of these special birds. Copies are available for free at Amuseum Naturalis in French Quarter.


“Kids are often amazed to learn that there are birds and other animals that live only on their island,” commented the writer, Mark Yokoyama. “These birds, and this book, can help them discover how special their home is. It is also a chance to take a bird tour of the Caribbean and see some of the incredible birds from other islands.”


“Endemic” means found only in a specific place. In the Caribbean that can mean just one island, like the Sisserou parrot in Dominica. Or it can be birds special to a region, like our Sugar Bird and the hummingbirds that live on St. Martin. The book features five birds that are found on St. Martin.


St. Martin’s Antillean Crested Hummingbird is one of the birds featured in the book.

The coloring book features beautiful illustrations by artist Christine Elder, and text by Mark Yokoyama. It was published by BirdsCaribbean. There are 50 coloring pages and fun activities. The book also explains why there are so many unique birds here, and how we can help them.


Anyone who wants a free copy can pick one up in the exhibit hall at Amuseum Naturalis on the hill above Galion beach in French Quarter. Teachers or youth leaders interested in multiple copies can email [email protected]. The book can also be downloaded for free at: lesfruitsdemer.com/resources/books/

Amuseum Naturalis Announces July 7th Reopening

Amuseum Naturalis is located at The Old House in French Quarter.

After closing for lockdown, St. Martin’s free nature and heritage museum Amuseum Naturalis will be reopening in “park mode” for the public to enjoy safely! Starting Tuesday, July 7th, guests are invited to make self-guided visits during daylight hours to the outdoor areas, including the open-air Amuseum exhibit hall, and outside exhibit areas, viewpoints and gardens including the agriculture heritage displays, bush tea garden, and the St. Martin poetry exhibits. 

Amuseum Naturalis is located at the historic Old House in French Quarter. It is created and run by the all-volunteer Les Fruits de Mer association, and presents more than 40 fascinating exhibits showcasing the unique wildlife, culture and history of St. Martin. 

“With outdoor exhibits and beautiful views, we hope that the Amuseum can be a fun and safe place to enjoy nature and heritage during a tough time,” explained Les Fruits de Mer President Jenn Yerkes. “Our top concern is the safety of the community, so we ask that visitors follow safety instructions so we can stay open.”

The Amuseum features outdoor exhibits and scenic views.

To keep the community safe, properly worn masks are required for all visitors, as well as respecting physical distance of 2 meters between non-household members. Hand sanitizer will be available. Visitors will need to bring their own drinking water.

For now, guided group visits and activities are not available, to protect the community. However, teachers and youth group leaders are encouraged to contact [email protected] to find out about the many things that are currently offered to schools and youth groups, including free books and other free, fun educational resources. 

Access to the indoor areas and services of the Amuseum is now available by appointment on a case-by-case basis. These include Soualibra, the free research library about St. Martin, and the free Heritage Preservation services. Those interested are invited to contact [email protected] for more information.

St. Martin poetry exhibits showcase local authors.

The Amuseum can also be visited virtually at any time at http://amuseumnaturalis.com/. The Amuseum@Home program of free ebooks, activities, short films and games based on St. Martin nature and heritage are available at https://www.lesfruitsdemer.com/category/athome/ or by visiting Les Fruits de Mer on Facebook. The free Heritage Backup program and tools are available at https://www.lesfruitsdemer.com/projects/heritage-backup/.

Amuseum Naturalis at The Old House is located on the hill above Le Galion. Entry is free to all. More information and a map are available at http://amuseumnaturalis.com/.

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 https://www.lesfruitsdemer.com/category/athome/ for daily collections of books, activities, videos and more.

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 [email protected].

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.

Les Fruits de Mer Donates Exhibit Panels to French Quarter School

Some Les Fruits de Mer volunteers with the panels that were donated to Omer Arrondell Primary School.

Classroom walls at Omer Arrondell Primary School in French Quarter have gotten a lot more exciting. The Les Fruits de Mer association donated copies of 24 panels from Amuseum Naturalis to the school. The educational panels cover a variety of local nature and heritage topics and will rotate through the different classes.

“Our association’s mission is to share all the things that make St. Martin special,” explained Les Fruits de Mer President Jenn Yerkes. “A lot of that is missing from school lesson plans, so this was a great opportunity to literally get this information into the classroom in a fun and colorful way.”

The panels were made as part of Les Fruits de Mer’s project Quartier+Museé. The project goal is to extend the connection between Amuseum Naturalis and French Quarter by featuring French Quarter topics at the Amuseum and sharing Amuseum content with the town. The project is funded by CGET and the Collectivité of Saint-Martin under the Politique de la Ville program.

The teachers were excited to receive the bilingual English-French panels. Each panel tells a unique story about St. Martin and is illustrated with vivid photos. Topics include the animals that live only on St. Martin, the bear-sized rodent that once lived here, the origins of bush medicine plants and techniques and the native tree with the hardest wood in the world.

Les Fruits de Mer hopes to find the funds to print panels for as many schools as possible. The association is also happy to share the panel designs with any school or organization interested in printing their own copies. Amuseum Naturalis offers free school and youth group visits as well. Contact Les Fruits de Mer at [email protected] to find out more.

Amuseum Naturalis is open from 9am to noon Tuesday to Saturday, and admission is free to all. It is located at The Old House, on the hill above Galion Beach in French Quarter. More information and a map are available at http://amuseumnaturalis.com.

Find Stories in Your Family Photos at Free Workshop

Family photos are rich in meaning.

Do you ever wish you knew more about your family history? Are you looking for something special to share this holiday season? Sign up for the free Family Photo Workshop and you can do both these things. The workshop will be held at Amuseum Naturalis from 9am to noon on Saturday, December 7th.

Every photo also tells a story. When we learn how to read the story in a photo, that story comes alive and can be a part of history. Cesar Escalona is an expert at finding the meaning in photos, and he will help you find the story in one of your own family photos at the workshop. Cesar is an anthropologist and photographer who specializes in finding culture and history in photos.

“Photos show us many things about the past,” said Escalona. “We can see who our ancestors were, what they were doing, how they dressed and the landscape around them. They hold details about culture, everyday life and historical events. Photography also has a visual language, just like painting and other arts. By learning the basics of this language, we can find out what the photographer’s choices tell us.”

Each person will find the story in their own family photo using what they learn in the workshop. They will also receive a high-resolution scan of their photo so they can share their photo and story with family and friends for the holidays. It’s a great chance to discover and connect with your own family history, and share what you learn with your loved ones.

Even informal photos can tell us a lot about family and culture.

This workshop can also be a first step towards studying your family history in more detail and connecting it to the history of the island. Future workshops will cover topics like digitizing photos and how to protect and preserve family photos. 

To sign up for this workshop, email [email protected] or send a message to Les Fruits de Mer by Facebook. You will need to bring at least one family photo to work with during the workshop. All other materials will be provided. The workshop is free, but space is limited, so make sure to reserve your spot!

Cesar Escalona is an anthropologist specializing in the study of photos. (Photo by Kristin DeFalco)

About the Workshop Leader
Cesar Escalona is an anthropologist from Central University of Venezuela. Since 2007 he has specialized in the study and audiovisual documentation of Venezuelan cultural diversity as expressed in the rituals and festivities of indigenous, Afro-Caribbean and Catholic people. He has also completed specialized studies in gender and sexual diversity (2013) and visual anthropology (2014). He is dedicated to development of visual methodologies and investigation of photographic image as narrative and construction of the past. As a university instructor and community teacher, he taught audiovisual methodologies and forms of research of the past in the rural communities of western Venezuela.

Amuseum Naturalis Reopens for the 2019-2020 Season

Amuseum Naturalis is a free museum about St. Martin’s nature and heritage.

Amuseum Naturalis has reopened after its break and is ready for visitors! The free museum of St. Martin’s nature, heritage and culture is open Tuesday to Saturday from 9am to noon. The Amuseum is located at The Old House in French Quarter, on the hill above Galion Beach. Amuseum visitors of all ages enjoy special exhibits, gardens, viewpoints and fun activities.

“We’re very excited to announce our fall reopening!” said Jenn Yerkes, President of Les Fruits de Mer, the association behind the Amuseum. “We invite everyone to come visit the Amuseum. If you’re a teacher or youth group leader, please get in touch to schedule a free visit!”

Amuseum Naturalis has welcomed over 6,000 visitors to The Old House over the last year.

Amuseum Naturalis opened at The Old House on July 22, 2018. Since then, the Amuseum has had over 6,000 visitors. Over 2,000 kids visited with schools, youth groups and summer camps. 

Amuseum Naturalis is a free museum of the nature, history and culture of St. Martin and the Caribbean, created by the Les Fruits de Mer association. It is an all-volunteer project, and over 300 people have spent over 5,000 hours to create and operate the Amuseum.

Over 300 people have volunteered to help build Amuseum Naturalis.

Upcoming events at the Amuseum include a volunteer day from 9am to noon on Saturday, October 19th with lunch served after. The seventh annual Migratory Bird Festival will be held at the Amuseum on November 9th.

Amuseum Naturalis is open from 9am to noon Tuesday to Saturday, and admission is free to all. It is located at The Old House, on the hill above Galion Beach in French Quarter. More information and a map are available at http://amuseumnaturalis.com.

St. Martin and the Caribbean Celebrate World Migratory Bird Day This Fall

The seventh annual Migratory Bird Festival will be held at Amuseum Naturalis on November 9th.

The arrival of fall heralds a change in the seasons—even in the Caribbean. The days grow shorter and the fierce heat of the sun lessens. Countless birds journey to their winter homes in the tropics. All over the region, Caribbean people celebrate World Migratory Bird Day and the birds that come here every year.

In the Caribbean, about a third of the 500 often seen species of birds are summer or winter visitors. More than 60 events on 20 Caribbean islands are already lined up to celebrate these amazing birds. More than 80,000 residents and visitors will join in the activities, led by Environment for the Americas and BirdsCaribbean.

On St. Martin, the seventh annual Migratory Bird Festival will be held at Amuseum Naturalis on Saturday, November 9th from 9am to noon. The free festival tells the story of these amazing birds with expositions, discovery stations, art activities and more. People of all ages can get to know these birds and learn why St. Martin is so important to them.

Learning what migratory birds eat at the 2018 Migratory Bird Festival.

The 2019 theme for World Migratory Bird Day is Protect birds: Be the solution to plastic pollution. Plastic pollution is a worldwide problem and a great threat to birds. Since the 1950s, we have made an estimated 8.3 billion tons of plastic. Over 90% of plastic is not recycled and ends up in our landfills and natural spaces.

Plastic can hurt birds in many ways. Birds mistake floating plastics like bags, drinking straws and bottles for food. Parent birds feed plastic to their chicks. Swallowing sharp plastic can kill birds by piercing organs. Birds can starve with stomachs full of plastic, and birds can die after being trapped in plastic waste or fishing line.

A young Brown Booby caught on a fishing lure. Many kinds of plastic are dangerous to Caribbean birds. (Photo by Michiel Oversteegen)

Residents and visitors of all ages are invited to the Migratory Bird Festival from 9am to noon on November 9th at Amuseum Naturalis in French Quarter. The festival is made each year by the Les Fruits de Mer association. Contact the Les Fruits de Mer to volunteer or become a sponsor. To learn more about the festival and see photos and videos from previous years, visit: https://www.lesfruitsdemer.com/events/migratory-bird-festival/

Decorating cotton totes to use in place of plastic bags at the 2018 Migratory Bird Festival.

Les Fruits de Mer to Present at International Bird Conference

Hundreds of bird specialists from the Caribbean and beyond attend the BirdsCaribbean International Conference.

Every two years, BirdsCaribbean holds its international conference on Caribbean birds and their habitats. The meeting is the largest of its kind, attracting hundreds of delegates from the region and beyond. This year, it will be held in Guadeloupe from July 25-29. St. Martin will be represented by Jenn Yerkes, Mark Yokoyama and William Allanic of the Les Fruits de Mer association.

Jenn Yerkes will be delivering two presentations: Jumbie Trees and Spirit Birds: Connecting Cultural and Natural Heritage to Engage the Public and Helping People Engage with Nature After a Natural Disaster. Both presentations will highlight work done on St. Martin in the last two years. Mark Yokoyama will be leading a workshop on working with local media. William Allanic will be attending as a youth delegate.

BirdsCaribbean is the largest conservation group in the region. Its members come from nonprofits, forestry departments and universities all over the region. They do research, save wild spaces and share the magic of birds and nature all over the Caribbean. At the conference, over 200 members will gather in one place to share the latest in research and more.

Les Fruits de Mer has been a partner of BirdsCaribbean since 2013. The association became the first institutional member of BirdsCaribbean in the entire French Caribbean in 2015. Les Fruits de Mer members have presented at international BirdsCaribbean conferences in 2013, 2015 and 2017.

Mark Yokoyama leads a writing workshop during the 2017 BirdsCaribbean conference in Cuba.

The conference is important because it is the one time when people working in bird science, conservation and education all over the Caribbean come together to learn and share. Training workshops teach skills like how to do a bird survey. New research and techniques for helping birds are shared. Les Fruits de Mer members will bring know-how back to St. Martin where it can be used to raise awareness, improve nature education and protect valuable habitats.

This year’s conference is “Keeping Caribbean Birds Aloft” (or “An nou poté mannèv pou zozio karayib volé” in Créole). In keeping with the theme, the conference will feature many ways to help birds in the Caribbean.

“Our birds face many challenges, and we want to address them,” noted Lisa Sorensen, the Executive Director of BirdsCaribbean. “We will work on how to protect birds from threats like plastic pollution or habitat destruction. We are also working to promote birds for their value as a tourism attraction and the benefits they provide to people.”

You can learn more about the conference at http://birdscaribbean.org/bc2019/, including keynote speakers, workshop themes and field trips. Registration is open now.

The Guadeloupe Conference Poster features five special birds—four that are resident in Guadeloupe and one that migrates to the island. (Artwork by Guillaume Zbinden)

Amuseum Naturalis Celebrates a Year at The Old House

Amuseum Naturalis is hosting a happy hour on Saturday to celebrate one year of operations at The Old House.

The public is invited to stop by Amuseum Naturalis for an end-of-season happy hour from 4-6pm this Saturday, July 20th. The Amuseum will be celebrating one year at The Old House in French Quarter and the end of the season. After Saturday, the Amuseum will be closed until October.

“It’s hard to believe we launched Amuseum Naturalis at The Old House just a year ago,” said Jenn Yerkes, President of Les Fruits de Mer, the association behind the Amuseum. “So many people helped transform the place into a museum, and we’ve had so many great experiences with visitors, school groups and summer camps. We look forward to finishing this fantastic year with a fun happy hour!”

Amuseum Naturalis opened at The Old House on July 22, 2018. Since then, the Amuseum has had over 6,000 visitors. Over 2,000 kids visited with schools, youth groups and summer camps. 

Amuseum Naturalis has welcomed over 6,000 visitors to The Old House over the last year.

Amuseum Naturalis is a free museum of the nature, history and culture of St. Martin and the Caribbean, created by the Les Fruits de Mer association. It is located at the historic Old House in French Quarter on the hill above Le Galion. It is an all-volunteer project, and over 300 people have spent over 5,000 hours to create and operate the Amuseum.

Over 300 people have volunteered to help build Amuseum Naturalis.

Amuseum Naturalis will be open from 9am to noon Tuesday to Saturday until July 20th, and admission is free. It is located at The Old House, on the hill above Galion Beach in French Quarter. It will re-open in October. More information is available at http://amuseumnaturalis.com. Join the happy hour on Facebook.

Cast of Characters

In a little brown notebook full of 18th century medical cures and other valuable information, many people are mentioned. Some are patients, some are doctors. Some are notable figures in St. Martin history, others we may never know.

Some remind us that there was a patient behind each treatment, like the woman Judy. She appears in the title of a remedy: “For the dry Belly ache such as the woman Judy had.” Others invoke family names still common on St. Martin, like the pills to J.B. Gumbs “to act on the liver.”

Some tell a story of inter-island connection. A number of cures are recorded from a Dr. Griffin from St. Kitts, and one from “the French Doctor Laguionie.” Others help us place the notebook in history. One medical recipe was “recommended for the man Will belonging to the Estate Mary’s Fancy.” This seems to show that this was written during the time of slavery.

Parson Hodge is better known for spreading Methodism than curing cough.

Early in the notebook is a list of medicines delivered from New York to Mr. Lucas Percival. He was born around 1809 and died in 1877. He is best known as the owner of the Diamond Estate in Cole Bay. Just after emancipation was announced by the French, 26 enslaved persons left the estate to gain their freedom across the border. This escape showed that slaveholders on the Dutch side could not sustain slavery as it was. They were forced to make changes long before it was finally abolished by the Dutch in 1863.

Most of the cures in the first part of the book come from Dr. Allaway. Peter Welles Allaway was a surgeon who bought the Union plantation in Colombier in 1832. After French emancipation in 1848, Dr. Allaway was the first planter to sign a contract with free workers. Despite being a doctor, Allaway’s contract has a clause noting that he makes no commitment to providing medical care to the workers.

The “Remedy by Parson Hodge of Anguilla for cough and digestion” is noted as “good.” He is the Reverend John Hodge, who introduced Methodism to Anguilla and St. Martin. He was a free man of mixed race — a black mother and white father. He was also the first Caribbean person ordained by the Methodist Church. At the time, there was no doctor on Anguilla, so medicines were provided by the Methodist Missionary Society and care was given by missionaries.

The author of the book is revealed by their daughter’s name.

One more name found in the book is not tied to the major historical changes in 19th century St. Martin, but is still important. Tucked at the bottom of the page is a short recipe: “Pills (by Doctor Allaway) prescribed by him for my daughter Anna Gumbes who had a catarrh, bilious fever and obstinate.”

Do you have an idea who the parents of Anna Gumbes are? Share it by writing in to The Daily Herald or [email protected].