Saint-Martin. Les Fruits de Mer on a Mission to Promote Natural and Cultural Heritage

Mark YOKOYAMA
Par Mark YOKOYAMA octobre 15, 2013 09:37

Saint-Martin. Les Fruits de Mer on a Mission to Promote Natural and Cultural Heritage

The Les Fruits de Mer Association has announced its core mission–to raise awareness about ecology, culture, and sport–and launched its website, where membership applications are currently being accepted. Officially founded this summer, the St. Martin-based organization plans to carry out its mission through publications, an education program, and special public outreach events that entertain, inspire, and inform.

The officers of Les Fruits de Mer celebrate a successful Migratory Bird Festival. Credit: Olivia Roudon

The officers of Les Fruits de Mer celebrate a successful Migratory Bird Festival. Credit: Olivia Roudon

The Association gets its name from the Les Fruits de Mer extreme shallow snorkeling team where it first began. Founded in 2007, the team connected people around the world who share a love of snorkeling and undersea life. As the team grew and the members became more deeply involved in areas like wildlife education, forming a non-profit association was a natural next step towards pursuing these goals on a bigger scale.

A few months after the formal creation of the Association, Les Fruits de Mer hosted a free Migratory Bird Festival enjoyed by over 200 attendees. Held at the Mangrove Discovery Trail at Étang de la Barrière in Cul-de-Sac, the festival was a celebration of the many extraordinary birds which travel thousands of miles every year to visit and winter in St. Martin. In keeping with the Les Fruits de Mer mission of promoting nature, art, and culture, the event combined hands-on environmental education with art activities for children.

Planning for future events is already underway, including a Birds and Bugs event in December and a Caribbean Endemic Bird Festival in the spring. “Our events are free, fun, and family-friendly,” explains Les Fruits de Mer President Jennifer Yerkes. “They’re designed to create opportunities for residents and tourists of all ages to explore and engage with St. Martin’s natural and cultural heritage.”

In addition to events, the Association is also developing publications that showcase this unique heritage, including a French-language edition of The Incomplete Guide to the Wildlife of Saint Martin and a series of multi-lingual educational and art activity books for children. The organization is hoping to publish several books in the coming year.

The Association’s newly-launched website, http://ass.lesfruitsdemer.org, is a bilingual portal to all things Les Fruits de Mer, including current projects and events. The Association is now accepting new members, and an application is available on the site. Membership benefits include discounts on publications produced by the Association, wildlife expeditions on land and sea, and invitations to members-only events like the annual Tacousteau, an evening of tacos and Jacques Cousteau films. The most important benefit, however, is the chance to participate in something truly transformative. “Les Fruits de Mer is a spirit, and a way to come together and make beautiful things,” describes Stephen Winkel, the Association’s Secretary. “If you want to join Les Fruits de Mer, you must be Les Fruits de Mer.”

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Mark YOKOYAMA
Par Mark YOKOYAMA octobre 15, 2013 09:37

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