Friday, February 17, 2006
Sierra Club, Elderhostel and Historical Society
Monday February 6-Wednesday February 15
Clearing vegetation from historic ruins has kept us busy these last couple of weeks but we have had plenty of volunteer help from the Sierra Club and the Elderhostel. These groups have generously provided their vacation time in St. John to help us keep Colonial era ruins free of destructive vegetation. This work helps to preserve the ruins and makes them visible for the public but is especially important this week because of two upcoming projects.
The first sets of ruins were Yawzi Point and Little Lameshur Bay. The park has received funds to restore some of these ruins. Therefore, a first priority is to clear the vegetation to allow the historic preservationists access to the ruins to assess them and begin work. The Sierra Club made it possible to clear all these historic structures in three days. Next, we cleared the ruins at Leinster Bay. In this undertaking, we enlisted the help of an Elderhostel group and a new group of Sierra Club volunteers. It was important that this work be done now to prepare for a group of engineering students and their teachers from the University of Maine.
As part of a Virgin Islands Humanity grant, U. of Maine is coming back in March to continue the park’s efforts to model endangered ruins in 3D. We had to clear enough brush away from the structures to allow them to be photographed from a distance, as well as to be accurately measured. Since there are at least 500 ruins on St. John, it is impossible to restore or preserve all of them now. The hope is that they can be preserved on computers in 3-dimensional space. Not only will this allow interested parties to tour the ruins in cyberspace, but it will also create an exact blueprint of the structures so that they could, hypothetically, be rebuilt in the future. It is, for now, our one financially viable way to preserve this past for our children before they become piles of unidentifiable rubble.
We also assisted the St. John Historical Society and Elderhostel in clearing the Annaberg School ruins. The goal here was to make the ruins a more picturesque and enjoyable place to visit. We were more than happy to help on their effort to help the park.
We owe a big thank you to the Sierra Club and Elderhostel for all of their hard work. Without them we would spend many more days getting these ruins cleared of the destructive vegetation. We appreciate them taking time out of their vacation to help us.