In 1991, the first class of EARTH students (known as pioneers) came up with the idea of establishing the Ethnobotanical Garden on campus in order to learn about the properties, cultivation and propagation of local medicinal plants. Under the guidance of Professor Jorge Arce they collected plants from communities in the Caribbean region, including those brought by African immigrants. They also included other native and non-native plants that represent the traditional pharmacopoeia of the region.
The garden was designed to be used as a learning and training center for students to collect local plant knowledge and eventually give the seeds back to the community. It is worth noting that this garden was unique in the area at the time, and was the only place where interested parties could request small amounts of plants and clippings at no cost in order to develop their own “gardens of health”.
The following plants are just a small sample of the hundreds of species that can be found in the Ethnobotanical Garden today: