Keep Bermuda Beautiful is Celebrating Its 60th Anniversary

Of course, April is the crucial month for environmentalists worldwide since it celebrates our planet Earth. Indeed, in 2009 the United Nations designated April 22 as International Mother Earth Day. This year, April has another special significance for Bermuda because it commemorates the Jubilee or 60th birthday of Keep Bermuda Beautiful (KBB), founded in 1964 by Phyllis West-Harron, along with Janette Zuill, Dorothea King and Lady Gascoigne.

Executive director Traci Burgess, who celebrates her own second anniversary since she took up the position in Earth Month 2022, explains KBB will be celebrating the anniversary with different events during the year but will kick off with its Great Big Bermuda Clean-Up (GBBC) during April 22 – 28. This year’s grand finale will be held Sunday morning in Devonshire, April 28, beginning and ending at Friendship Vale Park, with entertainment, refreshments, KBB trivia and prizes being offered as a thank you and as a 60th celebration. Members of the public will be welcome to register and should contact 799-5142 for additional information. Equipment such as gloves, trash bags and recycling bags, as well as litter grabbers will all be provided.

KBB has every reason to celebrate as it looks back on its development from a small subcommittee of The Garden Club of Bermuda to the inclusive community organisation it is today. It’s particularly proud of its extensive educational work with Bermuda’s youth, working with both private and public schools and children’s holiday camps. In addition to offering free learning activities for students, it also offers hand-on fieldwork sessions, beach surveys and trash art workshops. Indeed, its interaction with students has increased by 50 percent, Burgess says, involving last year some 4,185 children. This is important given instilling behavioural change in our young over how waste is controlled will make all the difference to Bermuda’s environmental future as they become adults. 

Events with local and international companies have also increased with KBB offering informative corporate lunch & learns, waste reduction presentations and artful bins for adults. Last year 4,648 adult volunteers participated in 237 cleanups, picking up 155,000 lbs of roadside litter, illegal dumping and ocean pollutants. KBB also continues to have a strong presence in community events for adults as well as children throughout the year: Those events include the Chubb Bermuda Triangle Challenge in January, the Bermuda Annual Exhibition or “Ag Show” in April, the Bermuda Convex End to End in May, the Summer County Games and, of course, Cup Match in July. In October comes KBB’s own island wide Coastal Clean up while in October/November the Butterfield Bermuda Championship is held at Port Royal Golf Course.

KBB continues the spirit of collaboration with which it began by working in partnership with Government and other environmental groups such as the Bermuda Environmental Sustainability Taskforce (BEST), the Bermuda National Trust, the Bermuda Aquarium, Museum and Zoo (BAMZ) and with organisations such as the Bermuda National Gallery, the Duke of Edinburgh Awards and the Bermuda Underwater Exploration Institute (BUEI).

For example, together with Government and BEST, it continues to support the vitally important Beyond Plastic Bermuda campaign which, in line with 2024’s Earth month “Planet vs. Plastics” theme, is raising awareness and providing education on the harmful effects single-use plastics are having on the environment and on human health. Another example is that since 2022, it has worked with Government on the highly successful project to remove abandoned and derelict vessels from local waters. This is important since the boats are unsightly and their disintegrating fibre glass and plastic components become ocean pollutants. So far 80 vessels have been removed at a cost of $180,000, given by private and corporate donors. Says Burgess, KBB has recently received approval to remove an additional 30. Harrington Sound and Flatts are also benefitting from Project Sound Solution, a joint scheme between KBB and the Bermuda Zoological Society to remove existing garbage from those areas and to study the types and amount of trash collected there.

Persons interested in volunteering for any KBB events should contact 799-5142, visit www.kbb.bm or email office@kbb.bmWww.kbb.bm offers useful information or its website offers useful information.