[slideshow] Congratulations to the Bahamas National Trust and Shelby White in the opening of the Leon Levy Native Plant Preserve, a 25 acre national park in Governor’s Harbour. Members from the Cape Eleuthera Foundation and Cape Eleuthera Island School community joined government officials, international botanists, Bahamian citizens and school children to celebrate the grand opening of the first national park in Eleuthera last week.  It is rewarding to witness the creation of  a sanctuary in Eleuthera which shares the common goal of sustainability through conservation, education and research. The preserve was created to “continue Leon Levy’s philanthropic legacy and to build on his vision, encouraging and supporting excellence in six broad areas: Understanding the Ancient World; Arts and Humanities; Preservation of Nature and Gardens; Brain Research and Science; Human Rights; and Jewish Culture” (Leon Levy Foundation).

The creation of the Leon Levy Native Plant Preserve helps protect the natural habitat and diverse history of Eleuthera while promoting future research as a center for the exploration of native plants and medicinal applications. The national park is managed by Bahamas National Trust and serves an outdoor classroom for Bahamian students, citizens and tourists to educate the importance of biodiversity within The Bahamas.

In addition to the physical contributions the plant preserve offers to the community, the Leon Levy Foundation and lead botanist Dr. Ethan Freid are compiling a digital database featuring important economic, cultural, and scientific Caribbean species. This and other educational resources are available online at www.levypreserve.org.

The Leon Levy Native Plant Preserve is an exciting advancement in Bahamian conservation and a great addition to any visitor’s agenda while on Eleuthera.