Thu | Feb 25, 2021

Earth Today | ‘Join the WAVE’ - Natural History Museum makes World Wetlands Day 2021 a virtual affair

Published:Thursday | February 4, 2021 | 12:13 AM
Jhannel Tomlinson is among the featured presenters this month.
Jhannel Tomlinson is among the featured presenters this month.

THE NATURAL History Museum of Jamaica (NHMJ) is making the celebration of World Wetlands Day 2021 a month-long, virtual affair and with the focus on‘wetlands and water.

With their local subtheme ‘Join the WAVE (Wetlands Awareness & Virtual Engagement)’, the NHMJ will each Tuesday of this month – beginning on February 2, which was officially World Wetlands Day – be going online, via Zoom and through their YouTube channel, with a variety of presentations intended to build public awareness and appreciation for the value of wetlands.

The presentations will explore subjects such as ‘There’s a Wetland in Your Neighbourhood’ and ‘Wetland Characters’, and feature speakers, including NHMJ botanist Sashalee Cross; youth climate activists Jhannel Tomlinson and Eleanor Terrelonge; and University of the West Indies lecturer Camilo Trench.

Wetlands specific to the Caribbean include coastal mangroves, marshes/morasses, lakes, and ponds; and provide important ecosystem services for both marine and terrestrial life.

Those services include as habitats for plants and animals, flood control, as well as water storage and purification. They also help with shoreline protection, storm protection and erosion control, which are especially important, given the reality of a changing climate that has put Caribbean islands at greater risk of extreme hurricanes.

The region has, over recent years, seen a battery of Category 3 to 5 hurricanes, including Matthew, Irma, Maria, and Dorian that caused billions of dollars in damage, in addition to lives and livelihoods lost.

Quick fact

Jamaica’s major wetlands include:

• Great Morass, St Thomas

• Black River Morass, St Elizabeth

• Pear Tree Bottom, St Ann

• Palisadoes-Port Royal, Kingston

• Great Salt Pond, St Catherine

• Canoe Valley, Manchester

• Salt River Swamp, Clarendon

• Cabarita Swamp, Westmoreland

• Hague Swamp, Trelawny

• Negril Swamp, Westmoreland and Hanover