I recently conducted an educational environmental and cultural heritage hike on the northwest of St. Croix for students of the University of the Virgin Islands Summer Boost program. These students were from the St. Thomas campus. It was their first time hiking on this hidden gem of St. Croix, where the mountains touch the Caribbean Sea and some 12 or 13 small and large tidepools dot the inlets and bays. This area was the last stronghold of runaway enslaved Africans, known as maroons.
Dr. Verleen K. McSween, assistant professor of Science, College of Science and Mathematics, and Aimee Sanchez, grants manager of the program here on the St. Croix campus, are the two colleagues I assisted with the program. The students that I worked with in the Summer Boost program explored the rich cultural and ecological sites of a place where you can feel the spirit of the maroons. On the trail, Sanchez and I observed the students as we discussed the cultural, terrestrial and marine environment and we noted how the knowledge they gained will benefit their educational paths in life.