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The Patricia and Phillip Frost Museum of Science welcomed the Natural History Museum of Jamaica of the Institute of Jamaica in a VIP reception on Friday, April 10, 2015 under the patronage of the Consul General of Jamaica to Miami. The reception was held in support of a cultural exchange partnership between the two museums connecting students and scientists in Jamaica and the USA through environmental restoration projects.
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Guests enjoyed an evening of live music and Caribbean-inspired cuisine, including tostones with mango salsa, yucca fritters with passion fruit garnish, and fried lobster. The cocktail hour was followed by a joint presentation by Gillian Thomas, President and CEO of the Patricia and Phillip Frost Museum of Science and the Natural History Museum of Jamaica. US and Jamaican students who joined exchange trips to the partner country also spoke about their experiences. The evening culminated with a beautiful tree offering by Anne Marie Bonner, the Executive Director of Institute of Jamaica, who gifted native Jamaican plants to Gillian Thomas, Franz Hall, the Consulate General of Jamaica, and Barron Channer, the National Board Member for The American Friends of Jamaica.
The evening reception honored the American Alliance of Museums’ grant-funded project, Citizen-Led Urban Environmental Restoration (#JaMUVE), between the Patricia and Phillip Frost Museum of Science and the Natural History Museum of Jamaica. The goal is to create communities of environmentally active citizens where youth in Miami and Kingston take action to restore urban habitats while interacting with their international counterparts.
The project utilizes multiple strategies to maximize engagement among participants. These include: interaction with scientists trained in science communication by Museum staff; engagement with partner youth and scientists in real time via social media; and meaningful, hands-on citizen science opportunities. At monthly environmental restoration events in each country, youth conduct activities such as removing and cataloging trash, planting trees, and monitoring changes in biodiversity.