Following the tumultuous hurricane season of 2017, our friend and occassional contributor Mark Yokoyama is back doing what he does best: sharing all the many natural and historic wonders of St. Martin with residents and vistors alike. This time, by trying to reopen Amuseum Naturalis — St. Martin’s one and only natural history museum. Oh, and you can help.
Longtime readers might remember Mark from our early days when he took me into La Grotte de Puits de Terres Basse to commune with bats, or the time he catalogued the island’s wildlife into The Incomplete Guide to the Wildlife of Saint Martin, or maybe from the time he introduced us to SCUBA diving in Saba. (Of course, if you don’t remember him from any of those past encounters, I’m sure you’re starting to get the idea that he’s not only a passionate naturalist, but also enthusiastic about sharing his knowledge with the world.)
And that’s where Amuseum Naturalis came in. Two years ago, he started it as a way to put a decidedly local focus on education for school kids and visitors to St. Martin. Here, guests could encounter the many varied animals that call the island home, hear their calls, listen to their stories, and even discover St. Martin’s diverse flora.
Unfortunately, like so many initiatives in the region, the 2017 hurrican season wasn’t kind to Amuseum Naturalis. To put it blunty, it was destroyed.
But Mark has committed to reopening Amuseum Naturalis better than ever in 2018. He’s secured a bigger, better location. Engaged the community to pitch in. And already begun crafting the experience and accompanying curriculum focused entirely on local nature, history, culture and art.
As Mark puts it.
It will be a place where the stories of St. Martin will be told for the benefit of residents and visitors alike.
How can you help reopen Amuseum Naturalis?
It’s easy, join the over 70 donors who have already contributed towards reaching Mark’s $10,000 goal. You can be certain that whatever you give will go directly into the non-profit museum impacting the schools, youth groups, community, and visitors of St. Martin.
In fact, the specifics of the donation amounts say exactly where the money will go: bins for artifacts, paint for one room, panels for exhibits, etc.
Museums allow guests to immerse themselves in their shared history, origin, environment, and culture are vital parts of any society. Without this knowledge cultures kind of thin out — becoming pale shadows of their former glory and people just lose touch with the world they inhabit while disconnecting from those they inhabit it with.
Let’s add Amuseum Naturalis to the list by contributing to their reopening.