After viewing the rustic landscape of Jamaica’s Blue Mountains, it’s no question why it has been recognized as a UNESCO world heritage site. The majestic slopes span across four parishes and from its remarkable summit, one can see both the North and South coasts of the island. Your senses will also detect the aroma of the famous Blue Mountain coffee which is one of the most sought after coffees in the world. The many species of plants and animals you will come in contact with are an example of biodiversity at its finest. It’s clear why conservation and reforestation of this impressive landscape would be the focal point of this program.
To preserve the overwhelming beauty and the many endemic plant and animal species in this exquisite ecosystem, it’s critical to create and implement solutions that will target conservation, reforestation, and influences of climate change. Students will be aiding in these preservation efforts through a variety of service projects. You will be instrumental in executing this vision. In this time, you will not only learn wilderness survival skills, you will develop critical leadership skills that will prove to be invaluable over the course of your life.
You will gain a wide scope of knowledge in workshops and in your fieldwork with the Jamaican Conservation and Development Trust, a local NGO and charity that manages Blue & John Crow mountain National Park. You will have the unique opportunity to be immersed with an indigenous tribe, the Charles Town Maroons. This resilient group of individuals carries on a very historical significance as they are descendants of Africans who fought the British and escaped slavery by fleeting and hiding in the mountainous region now known as the Blue Mountains. In being invited to live with them for a day, you will be exposed to this history and some cultural traditions, such as their belief in living solely of the land and using the plants for medicinal purposes.
Adventure awaits you around every corner of this program. You will have the opportunity to hike the rugged mountainous slopes and take in views from different altitudes and perspec- tive along the way. Students are sure to stumble upon some hidden waterfalls such as, Fish Dunn Falls, in their trek. These beautiful, cascading falls are an excellent way to cool off after a long hike. Participants on this program will be enchanted in their tour of Cinchona, a rare high elevation botanical garden that features many stunning, tropical plants. Another amazing adventure lies in meeting the Charles Town Maroons. This extraordinary experience offers historical and cultural significance and is surely something to write home about.
Nestled in Blue Mountain paradise, Silver Hill eco-lodge will be your home base and home away from home on this project. The estate is a chalet style home and a true wellness retreat for students returning from after a day of hiking or working on a project all day. It boasts many stunning panoramic views of the Mountains and over 122 species of flowers that are contained on the property alone. The property includes both a coffee farm and organic vegetable farm that will give you a farm to table experience in many of your meals. Silver Hill offers gender-segregated, dorm style rooms and many comfortable areas to take in the unspoiled scenery.
As soon as you land in Jamaica, you will have a chance to see why Jamaica is called the Land of wood and water. From the airport, you journey through the Blue Mountains and to our home base for the next ten days. As you are taking the beauty of the accommodation, you will have the chance to get oriented with cultural norms in Jamaica, review our Code of Conduct, and start getting to know each other. We will show you all the property has to offer, including an organic food and coffee farm, familiarize ourselves with the area with a community hike and begin giving details about the service project.