Sunday, January 8, 2012

Ralf (Rafe) H. Boulon, Jr. - 1976

Rafe Boulon
I was an undergraduate student in Marine and Environmental Sciences at the College of the Virgin Islands from 1971 to 1976. I started at CVI on a part-time basis so I could work and go to school at the same time. I can honestly say that CVI laid the foundation for all my future graduate and professional work and career.

With my strong interest in marine science it was fortunate that CVI at that time had the wonderful practice of bringing in a different visiting marine scientist almost every semester to teach some really great courses. As I found out when starting my Masters in Marine Science program at the University of Puerto Rico, CVI had prepared me better than almost every student entering the graduate program at UPR.

Rafe Boulon, at right, and friends at VIERS - 1975.
I think the greatest thing about studying marine science at CVI was the proximity to and availability of marine sites to get hands-on with what we were studying. My absolute favorite times were when one of our classes would go to the Virgin Islands Ecological Research Station (renamed the VI Environmental Resource Station (VIERS) in the 90s) at Lameshur Bay, St. John. See the picture at right with Henry Smith, Charles Bonanno, the late Gregory Willocks and myself at Lameshur for a marine science class in 1975. A group of us and the professor would go on a Friday afternoon and return Sunday afternoon after a day and a half of collecting and studying invertebrates or marine algae during the day and eating and swapping stories around dim lights at night, swatting mosquitoes.

After completing my Masters degree at UPR I returned to the VI and worked for eighteen years with the DPNR (formerly DCCA) Division of Fish and Wildlife, mostly working on marine projects and issues. Since 1999 I have been Chief of the Resource Management Division with the VI National Park and VI Coral Reef National Monument, again working with predominantly marine resource issues.

The second picture is me back at VIERS hosting a Science in the Park Conference in 2006, 31 years later.

I fully credit CVI with developing and honing my interest in marine science and giving me the strong background to have completed a graduate studies program and to have held two very interesting and challenging jobs during my professional career. CVI (UVI) – I can’t thank you enough!!


  1. Cool photo from at VIERS on St. John. It's a great place.

    1. Yes .. VIERS is a great and special place. Thanks to you Rafe for helping to keep it that way! Thanks to you also for the work that you did while at DPNR! Glad to see that an early CVI marine science graduate has given back to our islands.

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