We are pleased to share updates with you regarding the USVI hurricane recovery and resiliency projects funded through your support!
Several projects are ongoing, with anticipated end dates throughout 2021 and 2022. As updates become available on the impact of COVID-19 on planned activities, we will include that information in future reporting.
University of the Virgin Islands (UVI): Glass Recovery USVI (St. Croix/St. Thomas)
This program aimed to collect and pulverize glass beverage bottles into sand which would then be used to create sandbags. The GL-Sand glass crushers were purchased (5 for St. Thomas and 2 for St. Croix) and all machines have arrived to their respective islands. Community partners have been identified on each island and 1 has received a GL-Sand machine. To date, 145 sandbags have been created from 1,341 pounds of crushed glass. The team hired additional staff support and will continue to crush glass and produce sandbags for the community.
University of the Virgin Islands (UVI): Indoor/Outdoor Campus Recycling (St. Croix/St. Thomas)
UVI started a recycling program on both campuses, but unfortunately the official launch was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent campus closures. Student volunteers have been helping to move recycling units and put up educational posters around campus, and a cardboard and can bailer have been purchased. Due to the ongoing issues caused by the pandemic, remaining grant funds were reallocated to support the needs of the Sustainability Lab on the St. Thomas campus, including installation of solar panels, educational kits for renewable energy, a portable solar power generator, educational farming kits, and compost bins.
University of the Virgin Islands (UVI) Caribbean Green Technology Center: Environmental Native Fruit Tree Program with a focus on Water and Soil Quality in the USVI (St. Thomas)
To date, UVI has given out more than 911 native trees to residents and farmers across the three islands. All trees provided are drought-tolerant food sources. More than 250 samples of guavaberry, guava, sugar apple, ackee, custard apple, jackfruit, mammy apple, soursop, wax apple, jackfruit, jamon, and pomegranate have been ordered and will be distributed to the public. More than 4,000 people have taken part in a gardening and agriculture project which includes food security education such as how to grow and maintain native fruit trees.
Community Action Now: CAN Academy (St. Thomas)
All 15 students enrolled in the program completed their training and certification in July. Students were certified in the areas of life/work skills, bookkeeping, administrative professional, and entrepreneurship and small business. The program has now moved into career placement and supportive services through the Care Navigator.
My Brother's Workshop: MBW Heavy Equipment Training Course (St. Thomas)
MBW hosted an open house on June 1st to showcase the new heavy equipment operations program. Three students demonstrated for guests who arrived to see the new simulators in action. The open house yielded about 35 guests throughout the day including press. Currently MBW has 11 trainees enrolled in this program progressing through the modules for backhoe training, bobcat training, and forklift training. All trainees in the heavy equipment operations also participated in hands-on learning when MBW rented the actual machines to practice on.
TLC Foundation: Green School Farm (St. Thomas)
The organization is working to acquire land to support the creation of a plant and tree farm to educate, train, and employ young adults in replicable permaculture and regenerative farming practices, provide workshops and classes to the community, sell and educate about food in the local community, create compost using restaurant scraps, and create a native seed bank. While they work to acquire the land they have sourced a Worm Composting Horticulture Home and have been able to work with one of the educators/farmers to build permaculture awareness for a group of local youth.
Friends of Virgin Islands National Park: Native Plant Restoration, Protection and Education (St. John)
This project extended efforts to propagate rare and native plants on St. John, and to remove invasive plants in Virgin Islands National Park. The 2nd year of the project included the establishment of a greenhouse/nursery to help increase propagation. In total, 645 plants were given away, more than 100 volunteers participated in planting or watering plants, and the greenhouse has been a substantial factor in the ability to surpass original benchmarks for success. This project is now complete.
The following projects were just awarded funding and are getting underway. We will have more detailed updates in our next report.
Love City Strong: Minor Home Repairs (St. John)
Funding will be used to execute critical hurricane-related home repair projects on St. John that are minor yet essential for a safe and healthy home. The program is open to full time St. John residents who have received little to no recovery funds from other sources, with priority given to seniors, families with young children and infants, and persons with a disability or chronic health condition.
Women’s Coalition of St. Croix: Empowerment for Today and Tomorrow (St. Croix)
Funding will be used to support a Housing Assistance Program that provides financial assistance to families for rent and utilities and to support a Financial Literacy and Workforce Development Program that teaches personal financial management and job readiness skills.
UVI Trees - Fruit tree distribution for increased food security
MBW - Open house at MBW Heavy Equipment Program
FVINP - Community plant giveaway on St. John
UVI Glass - Sandbags made from crushed recycled glass
To help reduce the spread of the COVID-19 virus, CFVI staff is working remotely at the present time.
*Please note I work in the Central time zone*