The St. Croix studio is a long-term collaboration with the St. Croix National Park Service. The collaboration began in 2009 when Rutgers was part of a four-university consortium to start a marine science and education center in Salt River National Park on St. Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands. This first studio (2010) considered the design of the education center from the point of view of islanders as well as visitors and educators.
The second studio (2013) created conceptual designs for the Visitor Center at Salt River and for an environmental education center for SEA (St. Croix Environmental Association) at Southgate Coastal Preserve. The beach adjacent to the Visitor Center is a local hangout, and the site of one of the first clashes of Old and New Worlds (Christopher Columbus’ crew landed there, and an earthen French fort and Taino settlement remains are also located at Salt River).
The third studio (spring 2015) will devise interpretive landscape plans for the Christiansted Slave Market archeological site, a focal point of the Transatlantic Slave Trade. Part of a community archeology framework where the community will be trained to recover artifacts, the site also serves as a location for the open discussion of the history of Afro-Caribbean peoples and colonialism in the Virgin Islands. An interpretive landscape with a public space for a memorial to the Transatlantic Slave Trade will be located here—the only NPS site to memorialize the transatlantic slave trade. The design of this memorial will be chosen from an international design competition.
In addition to studio projects, Rutgers and the St. Croix NPS have collaborated on student internships to further the NPS mission on St. Croix—mounting exhibitions of student projects for public outreach and comment, participating in outreach projects, and creating a kayaking water trail in Salt River Bay.