The Friends of Virgin Islands National Park Artist-In-Residence program aims to help young Virgin Islanders explore and develop their creative talents. The program assists the artist by promoting their work, offering mentorship, and providing work experience and financial support. The Friends is committed to enriching local talent, investing in preserving Virgin Islands culture, and connecting young creatives to the Park!
Collectively, the Friends Youth Programs create a pipeline of educational experiences for youth from preschool to college, and beyond! Good conservation work does more than address the environmental challenges we see today. It connects people with their environment and invests in the future.
Kayden Richards |Photographer-In-Residence 2022
Kayden Richards is an ancestral native Virgin Islander from St. John. Fascinated with animals and nature, he grew up watching hours of Animal planet, nature documentaries, and looking up to his grandfather Alva Richards who was pretty much an animal whisperer. Kayden graduated high school in 2016 in Georgia with little to no idea what he wanted to do or be aside from that it would have to be nature and animal related. On moving back home to St. John, he worked at the Animal Care Center and saved up to buy his first camera, a Canon Rebel T6. As soon as he picked up that camera he knew what his main subject matter would be. Kayden has been on a bumpy, self awakening, beautiful journey since.
"That is why my people are out here planting seeds
To grow trees
So the future generation can dodge the heat"
Their Eyes Were Watching St. John is a book of fine art photography and poetry by Kayden Richards including poetry solicited by him from community and friends.