The Leon Levy Native Plant Preserve is a 30 acre world-class, botanic garden in Governor’s Harbor Eleuthera. It’s a wonderful and lush showcase of native and endemic Bahamian plants and is the first and only national park on the island. The Preserve is the fulfillment of the vision of longtime Eleuthera residents Leon Levy and Shelby White, who loved the natural environment and way of life on Eleuthera. After Leon Levy’s passing in 2003, Shelby White wanted to celebrate her husband’s devotion to the island while contributing to a better future for all Eleuthera.
Working with the Bahamas National Trust, she helped establish a native plant preserve that would be for the benefit of the local community as a special place to conserve the natural beauty of Eleuthera and preserve cultural heritage such as the use of native plants in bush medicine.
In April 2019, the Leon Levy Native Plant Preserve became the first institution in The Bahamas to be designated as an accredited Botanic Garden by Botanic Gardens Conservation International. This tier of accreditation recognized institutions for their achievements in plant conservation. To receive this distinguished designation, a botanic garden must have: documented collections, public access, an education program, research capacity, and a long-term strategic plan, among other things.
Today the Levy Preserve plays an important part of The Bahamas national park system, and is 1 of 32 national parks managed by The Bahamas National Trust. Bahamians and visitors can now walk miles of trails through the native habitat, and view the beautiful orchids, birds, insects, medicinal plants, and the hardwood trees that played an important role in the history of the island. It serves as a display for traditional bush medicine, a facility for the propagation of indigenous plants and trees, and an educational center focusing on the importance of native vegetation to the biodiversity of The Bahamas. To learn more about the Levy Preserve, visit its website below: