On Saturday 15th August, the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, Bermuda (the Award) partnered with the Bermuda National Trust (BNT), to engage a group of 14 Gold and Silver Award participants in a conservation project at the Butterfield Nature Reserve in Pembroke. Both groups of participants have completed their Adventurous Journeys this year, the Gold Group sailing at U Sail Bermuda and the Silver Group aboard the Spirit of Bermuda.
From let to right: Tre Vance, Richard Johnston, Jaime Procter, Malsha Amarasinghe, Aaron White, Genevieve Lau, Emma Stegmann, Linnea Kuruvilla, Hailey O’Donnell, Angel Seaman, Lisa Brewster (Award Leader), Jelani Simmons, Myles Darrell (BNT Conservation Officer), Thomas Peckett, Daniel Osset and Enshe-Nico Davis.
The Award participants helped to remove invasive species and repopulate areas of the Nature Reserve with extremely rare endemic Bermuda Sedge. Conservation Officer, Myles Darrell, gave a talk about the history of the Butterfield Nature Reserve and the importance of conserving Bermuda’s natural environment and endemic species. This was particularly interesting to the Silver Award participants who completed their practice journey undertaking an online exploration of Bermuda’s native and invasive species. The participants learnt that although the Bermuda Sedge is on the verge of extinction, the BNT is actively reintroducing it in restored woodlands and nature reserves across the island.
Silver Award participant, Jelani Simmons pictured left, stated, “The research that I did for my practice journey helped me understand what invasive species are and how we need to get rid of them. I am enjoyed applying what I learned in the virtual sessions in real life.”
Bermuda National Trust Conservation Officer, Myles Darrell, noted, “The Duke of Edinburgh award participants are a joy to work with and Bermuda benefits greatly from their contributions to the community. They are a collaborative group of individuals who are motivated, enthusiastic and focused on contributing to the community. The BNT is privileged to have the help of these young people as volunteers. Our natural environment is fragile and under threat every day. Today we know without doubt that nature is our only protection from the ravages of climate change. Partnerships like this provide volunteers who enable the BNT to ramp up its contributions to conservation of Bermuda.“
Programme Director of the Award, Karen Simmons, stated, “The Award has enjoyed a long-standing partnership with the Bermuda National Trust as many of our participants donate countless community service hours weekly. This conservation project has been a great opportunity for the group to engage in a purposeful experience, enabling them to give back to the community and work together towards a common goal.”
Pictured left, Biodiversity Officer and Author of "Bermuda's Invasive and Indigenous Plants," Alison Copeland helped
the Award Students identify which species to remove.
Chair of the Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award, Jovanna Douglas, said, “It was great to see the participants work together to assist the BNT with such an important conservation project. As an Award Tri-Holder, I know firsthand how rewarding volunteering in the community is and what a difference it has made to my life.”
“On behalf of the Award Council, I would like to thank all of our generous donors whose support enables us to offer the Award Programme to young people in Bermuda ages 14 – 24. In particular, I would like to thank The Bank of Bermuda Foundation, Argus, The Argo Foundation, Edmund Gibbons Limited and Butterfield and Vallis, AXAXL, 100 WIF and Conyers for their support and contributions to the Award. The Award develops well-rounded, global citizens who take pride in themselves and their communities. If you are interested in getting involved in the programme or would like to donate, please email email@example.com or call 737-8959.”