Leave Paradise In Its Place, A VINE Initiative
Millions of people visit the Virgin Islands each year. Lots come for the stunning views, the awesome weather, the laid back life style, but the foremost reasons usually are the pristine white sand beaches and the crystal clear waters. Most don't realize that every person who passes through the Virgin Island leaves an impact on the local ecosystem.
The Virgin Islands Network of Environmental Educators (VINE) has launched a campaign named 'Leave Paradise in its Place' to address this ongoing threat to our Virgin Islands Ecosystems. It has been written into law, under the Indigenous Species Act, that it is illegal to leave the territory with shells, coral, or any other marine life in their possession, or to mail them off island. Pieces of coral and shells that are found on our beaches will eventually break down into the tiny grains of white sand that are held in such high esteem. Strive to remove nothing from the beaches but trash.
Did you know that the whelk shells found on the rocky points of our islands are the sole housing for Hermit Crabs? There is a severe shortage of adequate whelk shells for our Hermit Crabs, due to many reasons. We can all do our part to minimize damages to the whelk shells. If we harvest whelks for food, we can boil the whelks out of their shell, instead of breaking the shells. Breaking them destroys any chance of the shell being used again.
Our beaches play a critical role in the marine ecosystems of the Virgin Islands. Turtles, Starfish, Sand Dollars, Coral, Whelks, fish, and birds are all dependent upon the fragile balance that nature has established over millions of years. Humans can destroy this balance in a matter of minutes. It is up to us to become conscious of this, and do everything we can to allow nature to continue as it was before us. Leave Paradise in its Place!
Take nothing but pictures, leave nothing but footprints!