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A museum to tell the story of St. Martin

by Les Fruits de Mer
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A museum to tell the story of St. Martin
A museum to tell the story of St. Martin
A museum to tell the story of St. Martin
A museum to tell the story of St. Martin
A museum to tell the story of St. Martin
A museum to tell the story of St. Martin
A museum to tell the story of St. Martin
A museum to tell the story of St. Martin
A museum to tell the story of St. Martin
A museum to tell the story of St. Martin
A museum to tell the story of St. Martin
A museum to tell the story of St. Martin
A museum to tell the story of St. Martin
A museum to tell the story of St. Martin
A museum to tell the story of St. Martin
A museum to tell the story of St. Martin
A museum to tell the story of St. Martin
A museum to tell the story of St. Martin
A museum to tell the story of St. Martin
Sharing what makes St. Martin special.
Sharing what makes St. Martin special.

It has been just over a year since we first came to a hurricane-ravaged site and imagined it could be a museum. With your help, this amazing place has been transformed. It's now an important resource for the community, and it just gets better every day.

In 2018, over 200 volunteers spent over 4,000 hours creating a museum and doing amazing stuff there! The total value of volunteer time donated to our association in 2018 was almost $100,000. The Amuseum welcomed over 3,000 visitors, and over 1,200 students who came with school classes and youth groups. Your support has made all of that possible.

At the end of 2018, we received our first project grant. This funded an outdoor signage project. We have added dozens of signs telling the stories of native plants and animals, traditional agriculture and a variety of other topics. We also collaborated with a group called Waste2Work to make awesome things from reclaimed materials: for example, signage mounts for our traditional agriculture signs are also planters where we grow the plants featured on the signs.

We also launched a free plant stand to distribute native plants and trees, as well as some heritage plants like those used in bush teas (local traditional medicine). People can pick up free plants to make their backyards more wildlife-friendly.

We continue to host school and group visits and we recently had our first cultural campfire, complete with music and a poetry reading.

We will keep expanding and improving the Amuseum in 2019. We are working to diversify our funding and applying for grants to help us implement new projects there. Since that is a slow process, donations on site and online are still crucial to keeping us going. We welcome your continued support!

Thank you, and we hope you are able to visit the Amuseum in person. If not, we invite you to follow along on the web or on social media.

Signage mount planters from reclaimed materials.
Signage mount planters from reclaimed materials.
Free plant stand for wildlife-friendly backyards.
Free plant stand for wildlife-friendly backyards.
New outdoor exhibits add value in open spaces.
New outdoor exhibits add value in open spaces.
Cultural campfire poetry reading by Big Ray.
Cultural campfire poetry reading by Big Ray.
Still going strong with volunteers!
Still going strong with volunteers!

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Students explore the Amuseum on a class visit.
Students explore the Amuseum on a class visit.

The fantastic fall season at Amuseum Naturalis has flown by, and it was all made possible by your support! Since our last update, the Amuseum has welcomed visitors of all ages and we continue to make additions and improvements to the site. Below are some highlights.

The 2018 Migratory Bird Festival was held at the Amuseum and it was a fantastic time. There were loads of fun activities. Kids and adults did birdwatching and learned bird calls, decorated bird-themed reusable tote bags and investigated the aquatic critters that many birds eat.

We hosted four free teacher training sessions for BirdSleuth Caribbean, an innovative program that teaches science and discovery through birds. In addition to training teachers so they can use the program in their classes, we offer BirdSleuth activities, like the Habitat Scavenger Hunt, to groups visiting the Amuseum.

We have received 2500 guests including about 1000 kids making school or group visits. We are a regular stop for tours focused on nature and heritage. We continue to make great connections with the local community when they visit and share their knowledge with us online or in person.

What’s next? We continue to work on the site with our wonderful volunteers. We are also applying for grants to help us tackle some of the biggest work, like repairing The Old House building itself, but this is a long process. We just received our first grant, which will fund outdoor educational signage on over a dozen topics.

Your help is crucial to what we are doing! It funds our work while grant applications slowly work their way towards approval. For some grants, we also need to contribute a portion of the project budget from our own funds. Since our current grant funding is just for the signage project, your support is what is keeping us going right now. Thank you!

We hope you are able to visit the Amuseum in person. If not, we encourage you to follow along on the web or on social media.

Students learn about birds at the Amuseum.
Students learn about birds at the Amuseum.
Enjoying a viewpoint during BirdSleuth activity.
Enjoying a viewpoint during BirdSleuth activity.
Interacting with students at the Amuseum.
Interacting with students at the Amuseum.
Discovering aquatic life.
Discovering aquatic life.
The 2018 Migratory Bird Festival.
The 2018 Migratory Bird Festival.
Comparing wingspans at Migratory Bird Festival.
Comparing wingspans at Migratory Bird Festival.
Showing off bird totes.
Showing off bird totes.
BirdSleuth Caribbean teacher training.
BirdSleuth Caribbean teacher training.
BirdSleuth Caribbean teacher training class.
BirdSleuth Caribbean teacher training class.

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Students visit the Amuseum.
Students visit the Amuseum.

This summer has been amazing at Amuseum Naturalis! It has been busy and beautiful and we’ve accomplished great things thanks to your support. Most importantly, we’ve opened the first phase of the museum and we’re already serving the community. We’re excited to share some highlights from the last few months.

We opened Amuseum Naturalis at The Old House in July. We have been open five days a week ever since, and over 1,000 people have come to learn and have fun. We’ve already hosted almost 500 students from school classes and summer camps. We’ve had great visits with kids of many ages and we have developed our own activities to help them interact with the museum exhibits. The school year has only just begun and we anticipate many more classes will visit this fall.

We’ve put in well over 1,000 hours of volunteer work this summer. We continue to have fun and rewarding volunteer days every week or two. We also had the help of scouts from France who came to the island to help the recovery process. We were lucky that many chose to work on our project over the course of three weeks. See the links below for a short video we made with the scouts.

We’ve transformed the space…again! It is almost unbelievable how much has changed since we started this project. Today we have an exhibit hall with eight exhibits and a nature trail in the back yard with viewpoints looking out over French Quarter and Orient Bay. Our bush tea garden and native plants nursery are well underway. We have a trail leading from the Amuseum down to the sea, and a beautiful campfire area.

We still have plenty of work to do. Right now we are finalizing signage about the native plants and trees growing here and the history of this site. Still to come are panels telling other stories: the traditions of bush tea and bush medicine, the history of salt production, traditional agriculture, rebellion and resistance against slavery, and much more. We also continue to work on the restoration of The Old House itself.

Right now we are delighted to be open to the public. With over 1,000 visitors in just over a month during the quietest time of year, we know we’re on the right track. People are learning about St. Martin and sharing their own stories. Parents are exploring with their children, and residents bring plants they love to be part of our gardens.

None of this could happen without your support! Your donations have purchased exhibit panels, paint and construction materials, tools and work gloves, bird seed for our feeders, food for volunteers, storage bins for historical artifacts, printing of activities for kids and water deliveries for the bathroom. Thank you for your help! We also welcome you to donate again as we continue to develop this amazing place.

Summer camp visit.
Summer camp visit.
Students learn about The Old House.
Students learn about The Old House.
Sharing history at our open house event.
Sharing history at our open house event.
Planting seeds with a school group.
Planting seeds with a school group.
Lunch with scouts and volunteers.
Lunch with scouts and volunteers.

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Volunteers have been working every weekend.
Volunteers have been working every weekend.

Over the last few months, we've made an amazing amount of progress at Amuseum Naturalis thanks to your support! Abandoned and overgrown when we started, the new site has become beautiful and welcoming. We started both our community gardens and our native plants nursery on site. We were even able to host our Endemic Animal Festival on the site for close to 300 guests. 

Over the past few months, we have worked with volunteers every weekend to clean and prepare our new home. Over 100 volunteers have participated, many coming week after week. Your contributions have provided the tools and supplies necessary to make this happen. 

As we head into the summer, we are having The Old House building itself professionally assessed and we will be making the necessary repairs so we can install the museum. Thank you for your support and we look forward to sharing new developments as the project moves forward and we buid a museum for St. Martin together!

The Old House emptied for repairs.
The Old House emptied for repairs.
Museum for a day-the Endemic Animal Festival.
Museum for a day-the Endemic Animal Festival.
The Amuseum from above.
The Amuseum from above.
We've cleared a path to the a sea view.
We've cleared a path to the a sea view.
Volunteers at the Endemic Animal Festival.
Volunteers at the Endemic Animal Festival.

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Organization Information

Les Fruits de Mer

Location: Grand Case - France
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @lesfruitsdemer
Project Leader:
Mark Yokoyama
Grand Case, France
$17,586 raised of $20,000 goal
 
171 donations
$2,414 to go
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