Girl power unleashed to clean up west end beauty spots

A team of Girl Scouts from the US is on the island to take part in an international clean-up operation.

The group, consisting of around 100 members, teamed up with Bermuda’s Girl Guides to clear debris from a beach and neighbouring nature reserves.

The partnership came about through Troop FriendSHIP Bermuda – a five-night cruise during which US guides will be involved in a number of activities on the island.

The clean-up project – which focused on Somerset Long Bay, the Audubon nature reserve to the west of the park, the Buy Back Bermuda nature reserve to the east of the park, and the Gilbert Nature Reserve, was co-ordinated by the Bermuda National Trust.

Myles Darrell, the trust’s head of natural heritage, said: “A project of this magnitude with such a large group requires a lot of help. I’m happy to say that Keep Bermuda Beautiful, Bermuda Audubon Society, Buy Back Bermuda and Greenrock are all actively engaged.

“We will have eight groups of between 15 and 20 people working.

“This is such a great opportunity to clear up these beautiful natural spaces in time for Cup Match, which is in Somerset this year. We really hope the community will enjoy these areas over the holiday – and respect them, leaving them as they found them.”

After Cup Match, environmentalists will revisit the properties to monitor the impact of the holiday activity and record the results.

Norma-Jean Richardson, head of the Somerset Bermuda Girl Guides said: “We are so grateful to the Bermuda National Trust for facilitating this project. It means a lot to our Guides to have the opportunity to interact with their sister Scouts in the US. We expect it to be hard work and benefit Bermuda, but also we intend to have fun.”

Natasha Hamilton of Troop FriendSHIP said: “Our goals for this trip are to introduce the girls to international travel, inspire them to continue with Girl Scouts and make the world a better place through a service project.

“On the ship, we will be working towards UN badges that teach the girls about the ocean and the history and art of Bermuda. We want to help them to immerse themselves in the destination, to become travellers and not just tourists.

“The most important part of the trip is meeting with the Bermuda Girl Guides – some of whom have been pen pals – so we are excited to meet in person. It’s important for the Scout/Guide movement that we understand we have sisters all over the world, standing up to make our world a better place with their ideals and service.”

Mr Darrell said: “We are pleased to be involved, because we believe that Scouts and Guides have a great deal in common with the BNT ethos of service, friendship and action, so it’s a great fit. And we are grateful for the work they will be doing on these special properties.”

Project work included a wide range of tasks such as sea and beach clean-up, nature reserve maintenance, invasive species removal, tree mulching and commemorative tree planting. Once the work was done, everyone – approximately 100 visitors and 50 locals – gathered on the beach at Somerset Long Bay for a picnic.

The Royal Gazette