Kids and adults get up close with island insects at the bug discovery station. Photo Chemaine Petit-Booi
St. Maarten – Sunday’s Birds & Bugs event promises a morning of wildlife-themed entertainment and exploration this Sunday at the Loterie Farm in Pic Paradis from 9 a.m. to 12 noon. Birds & Bugs is a free, public wildlife discovery event, created by Les Fruits de Mer for locals and tourists to get to know the captivating creatures and birds that make their home in the forest.
Sunday’s event will offer a full array of free, fun activities created and led by naturalists, scientists, educators, and other local wildlife specialists. “It’s the perfect chance to learn about this island’s fantastic forest life from experts,” says Les Fruits de Mer president Jennifer Yerkes. “We’d like to welcome everyone to come out and have a great time.”
Visitors will learn to spot songbirds, hummingbirds, and other forest-dwelling avians on bird tours of the forest, led by professional birding guide Binkie van Es. Tours will leave regularly throughout the event and will be available in French, English, and Dutch. Attendees who plan to go on a birding tour are recommended to bring sturdy shoes. Binoculars will be available for sharing on the tours.
This year’s attendees will be offered a truly unique experience at environmental protection in the Caribbean’s bird banding station, to see wildlife research in action, and some hard-to-find birds in person. The bird banding station visitors will have the rare opportunity to watch bird researchers as they capture, study, and release birds as part of their 15-year bird banding effort on the slopes of Pic Paradis. EPIC president Natalia Collier and EPIC senior biologist Adam Brown will be on site to share what they’ve learned about the songbird populations in this special broadleaf forest habitat.
Guests can find out more about the birds of the broadleaf forest at the bird education station hosted by EPIC environmental educator Laura Bijnsdorp. This station will feature hands-on exhibits of birds for kids and adults, info about the resident and migratory birds of St. Martin and the habitat they call home, and a fun bird bingo game with prizes for children. Bird-related paraphernalia will also be available there, for event attendees looking for an early holiday gift.
The bug discovery station will give adults and kids an unforgettable up-close look at a variety of the island’s insects, spiders and other invertebrates. Live insects will be on display, and guests will learn about their life cycles and other intriguing info about these small animals and their role in the local ecosystem. A “what am I” microscope bug game will join other exciting new interactive exhibits at the discovery station this year.
Club Gaïac, Les Fruits de Mer’s ongoing heritage tree project, will also be at Sunday’s event with a free giveaway of special seed kits and a new experiment that everyone can take part in. The Club Gaïac table will have displays where guests can learn about the history and ecology of this beautiful endangered tree, and find out how replanting native trees can help St. Martin’s birds and bugs.
People of all ages can participate in creative activities inspired by local wildlife, including coloring, sketching, and a craft. Younger kids will enjoy coloring and activity pages designed by local artists featuring island animals. In the event’s build a bug craft, children and adults can create their own insect from natural materials and transform it into a clip, magnet, or mobile to take home.
Les Fruits de Mer has also released a free e-book for children called “Bugs in Paradise”, to promote Sunday’s event. The e-book features full-color photos of the incredible insects found in the forest habitats of Pic Paradis, and entertains young readers with fascinating facts about each species in rhyming text. The e-book can be downloaded for free at http://www.lesfruitsdemer.com/resources/books/
Source: Today SXM Birds & Bugs event this Sunday at Loterie Farm