Leave Paradise in its Place

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St. Croix is a one-of-a-kind paradise, complete with pristine white sand beaches and impressive snorkeling / scuba sites with a rainbow of coral.  To keep it that way for generations to come, the Virgin Islands Network of Environmental Educators (VINE) has the Leave Paradise in its Place campaign.  Visitors to island are sure to see their eye-catching signs in the airport, informing people that you cannot take home beach souvenirs like coral, sand and shells and why its environmentally responsible to leave those things behind.

Coral washes ashore and breaks down into the beautiful sand beach-goers enjoy and animals like endangered leatherback, green and hawksbill sea turtles count on to lay their nests.  Shells are imperative for hermit crabs and other creatures like conch to use as shelter.  The Indigenous Species Act protects all native animals and plants from be taken or mailed off-island.

VINE encourages visitors to send home St. Croix postcards and spread the Leave Paradise in its Place message in their communities.

According to GoToStCroix.com, in the last two years customs officials at the St. Croix airport have confiscated more than one ton of sand, shells and coral from visitors attempting to fly home with a beach souvenir.  These living organisms are imperative to balance the island’s ecosystem.

For those who love seashells, the St. Croix Seashell Society recently formed and will be meeting regularly and showcasing seashell art.  More information is available by contacting stcroixseashellsociety@gmail.com.

VINE brings together more than 25 community groups with the united goal to improve environmental and cultural education programs for children of the Virgin Islands.  The organization links school teachers, natural resource groups and island leadership.  VINE also provides workshops to educators and informs children and local groups.

No need to take home sand and shells when you live in a perfect paradise.  Join us!  Download our complimentary guide, the 10 Best Reasons for Living on St. Croix.