The U.S. Virgin Islands were formed almost 100 million years ago, when volcanic eruptions forced the undersea crust above the ocean's surface. Today, the U.S. Virgin Islands community is dedicated to protecting the beauty of the islands' natural environment, while allowing visitors to enjoy the territory's pristine wonder. Buck Island off of St. Croix is world famous for the beauty of its coral reefs and crystal-clear water. Two-thirds of St. John is protected by the National Park Service, and Cinnamon Bay, Maho Bay Camp, Harmony Resort, and the Concordia Eco-tents on the island offer alternative accommodations for environmentally conscious travelers. On St. Thomas, whales breed off of the north end of the island from January through April, and visitors flock to the beautiful, unspoiled Magens Bay.
The Reef Ranger Project
In an effort to reverse the effects of compounding damage to the
U.S. Virgin Islands' coral reef environment, residents have launched the Reef Ranger Project. This community pilot program involves young islanders in the restoration and protection of the coral reefs, the coastal grasslands, and their indigenous wildlife. The program's founders also instill an appreciation for the reefs' fragility by educating participants in reef ecology, marine biology, and environmental preservation. Since its inception in 1995, the Reef Ranger Project has brought island youth together with scientists from around the world to protect and ultimately save the coral reefs surrounding the territory.