Article by: The Royal Gazette
A woman who started volunteering with an environmental charity when she was in primary school has been appointed as the organisation’s executive director.
Katie Cooper Berry will take over at Keep Bermuda Beautiful from Anne Hyde, who will retire at the end of January after more than ten years.
She said: “We are living in extraordinary times. Change is happening at a rapid pace alongside a global pandemic.
“We are being asked to adapt to living locally without the usual opportunities to travel, yet significant global events are happening all around us and impacting us.
“Taking care of our natural resources and beauty has never seemed so important as we engage with all that is happening in the world.
“Meanwhile we need to continue to explore and live on our tiny part of it.”
Ms Berry started volunteering for KBB clean-up events when she was a pupil at Port Royal Primary in Southampton.
She has 18 years of experience working in the non-profit sector, most recently as chairwoman of the Kaleidoscope Arts Foundation.
Ms Berry added: “It is my hope that residents and neighbourhoods will support the ongoing success of Keep Bermuda Beautiful as we work locally to clean up our island, while also working globally to address the big issues of plastic pollution and a changing climate.
“I encourage everyone to join KBB as a member and do what they can to help the environment.”
She and the charity’s board are expected to introduce a plan to expand the organisation and build on Ms Hyde’s success.
A spokeswoman said: “Ms Berry has a proven track record for fund development and under her leadership KBB will launch a new campaign in the coming months to spearhead the expansion drive and, if all goes well, hire a second person as programme manager by next fall.
“KBB is turning over a new leaf and eager to engage with more individuals and companies who believe in our mission.”
She explained that Ms Hyde “became adept at juggling the many roles in this one-person office” during her tenure.
Work included community clean-ups, delivering environmental education and fundraising.
The spokeswoman said: “Through her efforts and with the support of the board of directors, KBB has been able to expand its outreach into neighbourhoods, support regular clean-ups across the island and organise hundreds of volunteers who give thousands of hours of their time.
“So many people look benevolently upon KBB which has been serving the community since 1964.”
Sue Black, a KBB board member, said: “With a passion for community improvement, Ms Hyde has worked tirelessly to live and breathe KBB’s mission to educate and engage Bermuda’s residents and visitors to keep our island beautiful for the past 12 years.
“From school assemblies and camps to corporate community service days, to cleaning up Admiralty Park with the Governor, Ms Hyde has been a leader mobilising residents, helping them to clean up trash, paint over graffiti and bring lasting improvements.”
Ms Hyde added: “It’s been an amazing experience to work in a job that I have come to love.
“I have met and made friends with so many wonderful people.
“I was hired in 2009 as a consultant to help the KBB board restructure and took the full-time position of executive director in 2010 to run the day-to-day operations.
“By 2012, KBB was able to reach 3,000 volunteers, both students and adults.
“It has stayed pretty steady on that number with the exception of last year due to the pandemic.”
She said: “We have modified our clean-up guidelines to include Covid-19 precautions and comply with health department advisories and been able to continue our work without much interruption.
“We have continued our School Litter Lessons which deliver curriculum-related science out on the school sports field, safely at a distance, or via Zoom.
“But it has always been a bit of a juggling act to teach and run clean-ups as well as perform all the administrative functions including fundraising for KBB.”
The charity aims to “encourage individual action and positive behaviour to care for the environment”.
The spokeswoman added: “While we may rejoice that we live in one of the most beautiful places in the world, we should also recognise that our good fortune could disappear if we neglect our ecology and trash the place.
“Our natural beauty is one of Bermuda’s biggest assets and KBB plays a vital role in protecting that asset.”