March 15th, 2021 – Nassau, Bahamas
The Leon Levy Native Plant Preserve (LLNPP), a historic national park managed by the Bahamas National Trust (BNT) on the island of Eleuthera, celebrates its ten-year anniversary this March 24.
Founded by Shelby White in honor of her late husband Leon Levy, the LLNPP is a living part of Bahamian history. It is the fulfillment of the vision of Shelby and Leon, who both loved the natural environment and way of life on Eleuthera. After Leon’s passing in 2003, Shelby wanted to honour her husband and his intereset in the preservation of the local bush medicine culture among Eleutherans. As such, through funding from the Leon Levy Foundation, the LLNPP was created. It is the first and only national park on Eleuthera. Located in Governor’s Harbour, the LLNPP spans 30 acres and serves as a showcase for traditional bush medicine; a facility for the propagation of indigenous plants and trees; and an educational center focusing on the importance of native vegetation to the biodiversity of The Bahamas.
The LLNPP offers visitors the opportunity to explore trails through wetlands and native coppice, where native orchids and broad leafed hardwoods can be viewed in their natural habitat. Special areas highlight medicinal plants, that are used in traditional Bahamian “bush medicine “ and plants that are part of our edible history providing a unique insight into Bahamian culture.
In April 2019, the Leon Levy Native Plant Preserve became the first institution in The Bahamas to be designated as an accredited Botanic Garden by Botanic Gardens Conservation International. This tier of accreditation recognizes institutions for their achievements in plant conservation. To receive this distinguished designation, a botanic garden must have: documented collections, public access, an education program, research capacity, and a long-term strategic plan, among other things.
Preserve Founder Shelby White created the Preserve in honor of her late husband Leon Levy.
The Preserve’s long-range plans include providing support for tertiary level research in both botany and plant taxonomy, mentorship programs, and partnerships with regional institutions to promote plant conservation.
Ten years on, the LLNPP continues to make significant strides in conserving Bahamian flora and fauna, promoting opportunities for people to enjoy nature, and fostering the wellbeing of local communities on the island of Eleuthera.
To celebrate a decade of environmental conservation, the LLNPP will host an open house on March 24.
Admission to the Preserve will be free. The LLNPP and the BNT invite the public to celebrate with them. For this event, all appropriate COVID-19 safety protocols will be in place to ensure the safety of visitors.
To learn more about the role that the BNT plays to manage terrestrial and marine national parks, protect species that inhabit them, and inform environmental policy, please visit its website: www.bnt.bs, and follow/subscribe to various social media channels: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube.
About the BNT:
The Bahamas National Trust (BNT) was created by an Act of Parliament in 1959 to build and manage the national park system of The Bahamas. Possibly the only non-governmental organization in the world charged with such a responsibility, the BNT works daily to conserve and protect the natural resources of The Bahamas through stewardship and education for present and future generations. There are currently 32 National Parks managed by the BNT with more than 2 million acres of marine and terrestrial areas protected.
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