DuMond Conservancy to celebrate Amazonian biodiversity on Feb. 4

The DuMond Conservancy will host a festival to celebrate the Amazon on Saturday. Feb. 4, in a unique lush outdoor environment at Monkey Jungle, 14805 SW 216 St. in south Miami-Dade County.

In 1960, Monkey Jungle’s owner, Frank DuMond Sr., created one of the most spectacular exhibits in North America replicating the Peruvian Amazon in a five-acre enclosure and home, over the years, to many species of primate native to the Amazon. Today the rainforests of the Amazon and the wildlife they support are under serious threat and the efforts of conservationists like the remarkable Dr. Angela Maldonado of Entropika in Colombia are essential.

Dr Maldonado, who will give the keynote address at the festival, is working with the indigenous peoples of the Amazon to protect the rainforests and the world’s only nocturnal monkey through community-led education and research.

This youth led event also will feature exhilarating performances by Colombian and Brazilian dancers and drummers that will invite audience participation; music inspired by the Amazon performed by Peruvian musicians, Inca Peru, and a drama written and directed by Coral Reef High School drama student Kaithleen Conoepan.

Conoepan’s play, Growing Up Owl Monkey, is based on the usually peaceful life of owl monkey families.

National Geographic explorer Dr. Mireya Mayor will reminisce on her first expedition to study monkeys in the Amazon. Family activities will include storytelling and face painting. Scientific displays will include podcasts by students at Terra Environmental Research Institute, dramatic photographs of Amazonian biodiversity, and a display of Amazonian fruit.

The Amazonian Festival is made possible with the support of the Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs, Cultural Affairs Council, Miami-Dade County Mayor and Board of County Commissioners, State Farm and the Batchelor Foundation.

The festival will run between the hours of 2 and 5 p.m.  Admission to the festival is $10 for adults, $5 for children (5-18 years) and students, and free for children under 5 years of age. Family tickets (2 adults and up to 3 children) are $25.  Tickets can be purchased at the door or online by sending email to events@dumondconservancy.org.

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