Natural History Museum of Jamaica (NHMJ) in partnership with the National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA) will celebrate World Wetlands Day on Friday, February 7 starting 10 am the Mason River Protected Area and Bird Sanctuary, Northern Clarendon.
World Wetlands Day is celebrated on February 2 each year; it marks the anniversary of the signing of the Convention on Wetlands of International Importance, at the Ramsar Convention in Ramsar, Iran on February 2, 1971. Worldwide, government agencies, non- government organizations, and community groups celebrate this day by putting together different activities to sensitize the public on the values of wetlands. These may include hosting seminars, expos, and festivals; adopting new Ramsar sites; publishing newspaper articles, facilitating nature walks and wetland rehabilitation.
Within Jamaica, there are four (4) Ramsar sites with a combined area of 37, 847 hectares. These wetlands are the Palisadoes (Port Royal), Portland Bight Protected Area (St. Catherine & Clarendon), Black River Lower Morass (St. Elizabeth) and Mason River Protected Area & Bird Sanctuary (Northern Clarendon).
The NHMJ plays its part by educating persons about the value of wetlands each year. It organizes a day of activities at the Mason River Protected Area, which boasts a peat bog (a type of wetland). Free tours of the peat bog are offered, environmental organizations set up display booths to sensitize persons on ways in which they can care for the environment, and workshops are done so that students can get hands-on while learning.