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NWP Global Registry of Apprentice Ecologists - Spanish Town, St. Catherine, Jamaica

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Spanish Town, St. Catherine, Jamaica
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Registered: December 2014
City/Town/Province: Spanish Town
Posts: 1
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My name is Mickhail and I currently live in St. Catherine, Jamaica. I am an avid science student and as such I study Biology at school. One of the topics on my Biology syllabus is biodiversity. At first I was unaware of what biodiversity was but through the passion of my Biology teacher, being an environmental scientist, I learnt what it was, what it entailed and I also inherited a passion for it much like what my teacher had. My teacher brought my entire Biology class (me included) to the Rocky and John Crow Mountains’ National Park and that was where I learned about endemic species and specifically endemic species of Jamaica that if disturbed can seriously affect the Jamaican biodiversity. I was specifically interested in the endemic Jamaican Giant Swallowtail butterfly (Papilio homerus) that is found exclusively in Jamaica and is the biggest Swallowtail butterfly in the Western hemisphere (second biggest Swallowtail butterfly globally), but whose population is in vast decline due to the intervention of man in fields such as agriculture. Before I had visited the National Park in the Blue and John Crow Mountains I was completely unaware of endemism and biodiversity and without that knowledge I myself could have captured a Jamaican Giant Swallowtail butterfly not knowing the negative implications of capturing it in its dwindling population or Jamaican biodiversity. I decided then that I needed to find some means of prohibiting persons from capturing these butterflies for though most of their population is isolated to a general area (the Cockpit Country and the Blue and John Crow Mountains), there have been numerous reports of them being found in areas outside of the ones in which they are known to originate from. My biology teacher informed me that there were laws that had been established that prohibited persons from disturbing stray Swallowtail butterflies with the deterrent being charged a fine, but I still was not satisfied with these measures because there were still many persons who had no knowledge of these acts.
As such I decided to start a community campaign to spread awareness on the endemism of Jamaican Giant Swallowtail butterflies. I went to the book store and purchased blank sheets and parchment papers and glue and scissors and started printing posters on spreading awareness about the endangered endemic Giant Swallowtail butterfly found exclusively in Jamaica. I woke up early one Saturday morning and by 6:00am when the streets were still dimly lit I started posting these posters around my community and before I knew it other persons joined in my initiative. My posters spoke of the uniqueness of the Giant Swallowtail butterfly and that it was in no way ubiquitous, its contribution to Jamaica’s biodiversity and how maladaptive agricultural practices such as cutting down trees that they inhabit and capturing them have affected their dwindling populations. I was so happy that my initiative was being met with such optimism and passion by people and a printing company even endorsed my efforts and sponsored me by printing 1000 additional posters for distribution. I subsequently spent a good portion of my Christmas holiday along with some of my friends and community members spreading awareness on the Giant Jamaican Swallowtail butterfly. At the peak of my campaign a person who had found a Giant Swallowtail butterfly turned it over and I had the honour and responsibility of transporting it to a local National Park for protection. Seeing a live Giant Jamaican Swallowtail butterfly was really a serene experience and it reassured me that there was merit in my cause. Its wings were so large that I was afraid that it would escape the container that I had it in and every flap of its golden ripped wings with the circular beads of blue made it seem as though it was painting its surroundings with its beauty and with the patriotic colours of Jamaica. Since I dropped it off at the National Park I have been told that it is nicely interacting with other Swallowtail butterflies in captivity being protected there. I hope that when mating season comes around for them it mates, for even if it becomes the progenitor of a single larva I will be happy for that will be one more Jamaican Swallowtail butterflies on the Earth through the fruit of my passion and initiative. I feel very satisfied as a leader in my own right and as an environmental steward.
Date: December 29, 2014 Views: 7205 File size: 8.7kb, 344.7kb : 1536 x 1483
Hours Volunteered: 5
Volunteers: 15
Authors Age & Age Range of Volunteers: 15 & 18 to 45
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