Sat | Sep 19, 2020

Earth Today | Hope Zoo, Natural History Museum team up for World Wildlife Day

Published:Thursday | March 5, 2020 | 12:27 AM
Scientist Joseph Brown helps a young student to overcome her wariness of the yellow snake.
Scientist Joseph Brown helps a young student to overcome her wariness of the yellow snake.

THE NATURAL History Museum of Jamaica (NHMJ), through its monthly ‘Afternoon with a Scientist’ programme, collaborated with the Hope Zoo in Kingston to stage its commemorative World Wildlife Day presentation to the students of East Street Junior Centre on Tuesday.

The programme was developed by NHMJ to expose students to different areas of the sciences, and promotes Primary Exit Profile readiness while helping to enhance children’s cognitive thinking ability through activities aligned with the National Standards Curriculum.

“Over the years, we have observed that students have gained increased knowledge in the different areas of the sciences as they have received opportunities to meet scientists from different disciplines and been able to interact with them on a one-on-one basis, thus fostering students’ career options in the science field,” said a release from the NHMJ.

Jamaica on Tuesday joined the world in the celebration of World Wildlife Day, observed this year under the theme ‘Sustaining All life on Earth’. The theme, according to information from wildlifeday.org, recognises “all wild animal and plant species as key components of the world’s biodiversity” and “aligns with UN Sustainable Development Goals 1, 12, 14, and 15, and their wide-ranging commitments on alleviating poverty, ensuring sustainable use of resources, and on conserving life both on land and below water to halt biodiversity loss”.

15 years of experience

Meanwhile, the featured scientist at the ‘Afternoon with a Scientist’ event was Joseph Brown, general curator at Hope Zoo in Kingston. With a Bachelor of Science from University of Kansas and a Master of Science from the University of Oklahoma, he has had 15 years of experience working in academic field research and zoological institutions.

During his presentation, Brown gave students an overview of the island’s endemic species, referencing the Yellow Snake and the Swallowtail Butterfly, among others. He was also keen to mention the Goat Island project on which the Hope Zoo is currently working, and which involves designating the island as breeding and protection grounds for Jamaica’s endemic species.

The scientists, who previously worked at the San Diego Zoo, also talked about the Jamaican Iguana, sensitising students about their lifecycle, reproduction, and diet – even as he urged them to recognise and play their part in protecting the natural environment.

The ‘Afternoon with a Scientist’ programme is open to primary-level students from grades four through six. Homeschooled students are especially welcomed to participate.