Staff from the Natural History Museum of Jamaica (NHMJ) along with members from the Frost Science Museum in Florida transformed the dustbowl at the Greater Portmore Civic Centre into an urban oasis for new plant and animal life on Saturday, March 28. The transformation is under the Museums Connect: Citizen-Led Urban Environmental Restoration project, which had its kick off meeting in October of last year.
The aim of the project is to restore the natural environment of an urban area by re-planting trees and flowers, which the community can enjoy. This process is known as ‘greening’. Citizen scientists from secondary and tertiary schools as well as volunteers from the Portmore communities came out to help NHMJ staff and the visiting Frost Science Team plant yellow Poui and Lignum Vitae at the dustbowl. The restoration project also included the laying of gravel to form a pathway for pedestrians.
Executive Director of the Institute of Jamaica (IOJ), Ms. Anne Marie Bonner; acting Mayor of Portmore, Leon Thomas; Councilor of the Greater Portmore East Division, Ms. Yvonne McCormack and members from the Portmore Municipality, Greater Portmore Joint Council, Greater Portmore Junior Centre and the Embassy of the United States of America also attended to lend a hand in the restoration project. The Jamaica Urban Transit Company (JUTC) and the Urban Development Corporation (UDC) also provided some well needed assistance to the volunteers. It was an uplifting and enjoyable experience for those who attended.
The Museums Connect: Citizen-Led Urban Environmental Restoration project is funded by the American Alliance of Museums (AAM) and the US Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. The Museums Connect Programme fosters cultural and scientific exchange between museums in the United States and those of other countries. The next stage of the project involves Jamaican citizen scientists who participated on the Jamaican leg along with NHMJ staff traveling to the restoration site in Miami Florida from April 9-12.
For more information on the Museums Connect partnership, upcoming event and opportunities for volunteers and funders please visit our website http://www.miamisci.org/jamuve/ or search for the project hastag #JaMUVE on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.