Keep Bermuda Beautiful is one of Bermuda’s oldest environmental charities, having first formed as a sub-committee of the Garden Club of Bermuda at about 1964. Charitable status was granted to KBB in 1966 and the rest, as they say, is history.
KBB’s mission is to reduce waste, eliminate litter and beautify the island through action and education. Our impact has always been rooted in the contributions of our volunteers, donors and programme partners. Words cannot express our gratitude for the contributions of all who hold KBB near and dear to your hearts – we sincerely thank you.
Engagement with KBB is at an all-time high. Environmental, social and governance platforms are at the forefront of most corporate agendas, and individuals of all ages are taking steps to reduce their personal footprints on the environment. With these increasing levels of engagement comes a higher demand for KBB’s services, all of which has created a greater need for additional volunteers and financial support.
KBB’s programmes and projects have grown significantly in recent years and, for the first time in our history, staff positions have expanded in order to meet the increase in KBB’s activities and services. In addition to a full-time executive director, we now have a part-time office co-ordinator and a part-time education and community outreach co-ordinator.
What follows is a review of some of the highlights of 2022 and a glimpse of what’s in store for 2023. We also invite you to consider your personal resolutions for the new year and ways you can contribute to reshaping the future by following the 3Rs: Reduce, Reuse and Recycle.
KBB co-ordinated nearly 300 clean-ups and worked with more than 4,800 volunteers to remove roughly 81,000 pounds of trash, recyclables and bulk waste from Bermuda’s roadsides, parks, beaches and marine environment. Each individual action leads to a greater positive impact on the environment.
Education and community outreach
In September, KBB launched a new school curriculum with customisable lesson plans for ages 4 years and up. The KBB litter lessons and assembly presentations have been refreshed, and we engaged with more than 2,200 public and private school students across the island from May to December.
Reaching a broader cross-section of the community is a key objective for KBB as we continue to expand our reach through a variety of public-awareness campaigns, programmes and special initiatives. Our community outreach is aimed at providing education on responsible waste management, raising awareness for environmental issues, and encouraging individuals to take action to better protect, preserve and revitalise the environment.
Progammes and projects
Railway Trail Project: In partnership with the Department of Parks and the Association of Bermuda International Companies, KBB continued to build upon the Railway Trail Project throughout 2022. The historic trail, which is also Bermuda’s largest national park, has been divided into 17 zones. Most of the zones have been fully adopted and are being maintained by Abic’s member companies. There are three zones still available for adoption. Contact the KBB office if you are interested in jumping on board.
Abandoned Boats Project: This joint initiative with the Government of Bermuda began with the removal of abandoned and derelict marine vessels from local waters. The project aims to improve the quality of our delicate marine environment, make navigation and recreational use of Bermuda’s coastal areas safer for all, and beautify our coastline.
The project is fully funded by the generosity of private donations and corporate sponsorships. More than 60 of the original 85 ADVs have been pulled since May last year. The remaining removals are expected to be complete by this spring, and more vessels may be identified for additional removals in the summer.
KBB has also formed a working group with the Bermuda Environmental Sustainability Taskforce. Together, we are researching best practice and learning how other jurisdictions address the issues associated with ADVs. The research aims to promote a proactive shift towards minimising the potential for marine vessels to be abandoned or left derelict, and will be presented to the Government for consideration.
Beyond Plastic Bermuda Campaign: BEST and KBB are partners in the Beyond Plastic Bermuda campaign, a joint initiative intended to raise awareness and provide community education in support of the Government’s proposed ban on single-use plastic.
The success of this campaign is phenomenal and we are thankful to the small team of dedicated volunteers who continue to advocate for change, raise awareness about the perils of plastic, and provide eco-friendly alternatives that are better for the environment and for human health. We would also like to thank the thousands of individuals, community organisations and corporate partners who are taking a stand and saying no to single-use plastic! #SNTSUP
Green Events Waste Management: KBB is honoured to have worked closely with a number of large events last year in support of their 2022 sustainability goals. We were thrilled to partner with event organisers, corporate sponsors and the Government to help develop several green-event waste management plans, including the Newport Bermuda Race; the Butterfield Bermuda Championship, and the upcoming Chubb Bermuda Triangle Challenge.
January: Abandoned Boats Project launched with the first batch of official notices being published.
February: Search begun for new executive director, office co-ordinator, and education and community outreach co-ordinator.
March: Inaugural Ocean Plastics Art Show held, including workshops for children and adults.
April: New executive director joined team. We hosted 36 clean-ups for Earth Month, with 22 co-ordinated around Earth Day on April 22. More than 800 volunteers collected 10,000 pounds of rubbish from locations across the island.
May: The annual meeting and election of officers and directors was held, which included the presentation of special appreciation awards for volunteers and project partners.
SailGP international race teams participated with KBB on a number of beach clean-ups in the West End.
New education and community outreach co-ordinator began.
KBB was presented with a significant donation from Meredith Andrews and the Bermuda National Gallery from the award-winning Flotsam and Jetsam: The Cost of Modern Living exhibit.
June: KBB hosts a number of marine-based clean-ups with corporate partners and school groups in recognition of World Oceans Day, which is recognised annually on June 8.
New office co-ordinator starts.
KBB worked with the Newport Bermuda Race organisers and local host clubs in support of their sustainability goals for the race.
July: KBB partnered with the Canada Day and the Bermuda International Day event organisers to provide support for waste management, recycling and the proper disposal of all debris collected from both beach events.
Chubb’s internship programme provided a student-helper for several summer projects: sorting the KBB archives; consolidating document repositories; conducting website and social-media audits; updating databases; and starting a renovation of the KBB office.
KBB partnered with the Bermuda National Trust and other environmental non-profit organisations for a large clean-up event with more than 100 Girl Guides from Bermuda and the United States.
August: KBB joined two of the four Bermuda Ocean Prosperity Plan ocean village groups to provide feedback on the draft Blue Prosperity Plan, which includes the Blue Economy Strategy and Marine Spatial Plan.
We joined a mangroves preservation and restoration project co-ordinated by the Rotary Clubs of Bermuda and Rotary International, including partners from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources and the Bermuda Zoological Society.
KBB started a major neighbourhood transformation project that cleared an abandoned lot of more than 100,000 pounds of rubbish. The site is intended to become a neighbourhood community garden.
September: KBB began a significant IT migration project, which is one of our biggest organisational improvements in recent years and allows us to implement technological advancements that were previously beyond reach.
KBB’s new education curriculum, “litter lessons” and refreshed assembly presentations were launched with the start of the new school year.
We were also busy with preparations for hurricane season and post-storm clean-ups after Hurricane Fiona.
October: KBB’s annual Island-Wide Coastal Clean-Up, which is sponsored by EY, removed more than 15,000 pounds of litter and bulk waste from 70 locations across the island.
KBB worked with the Butterfield Bermuda Championship and corporate sponsor Aspen Bermuda in support of the tournament’s sustainability goals. KBB’s board president was featured in a PGA Tour international interview with professional golfer D.A. Points. It highlighted the important work of KBB, as well as features of the Government’s advanced waste management systems.
November: Voice of the Oceans, a global sailing expedition raising awareness about ocean pollution, visited Bermuda and featured KBB’s work in combating ocean pollution.
Abic and KBB hosted a reception in appreciation of the Railway Trail Project partners on November 16.
KBB participated in the second annual Youth Climate Summit, hosted by the Bermuda Underwater Exploration Institute. We debuted a short documentary highlighting the harmful impact that ocean pollution is having on the island. The film evolved from a multiyear project with Nonsuch Expeditions that was sponsored by Axis.
December: KBB finalised and approved the annual budget for 2023, which ties in to the organisation’s business plan and strategic objectives.
We developed new Adopt-A-Spot programmes and identified the potential for new projects. Details are forthcoming.
KBB launched our “Season of Giving” campaign, which encouraged people to volunteer; get involved with a special project; and/or donate to KBB.
On Boxing Day, KBB hosted the annual post-Christmas clean-up event at Elbow Beach.
We are focused on confirming KBB’s strategic objectives and preparing for another highly productive year. Looking ahead, we intend to continue increasing KBB’s impact by expanding our programmes, projects and community outreach initiatives. We are excited to welcome new volunteers, partners and donors to KBB, and we look forward to remaining engaged across all sections of the community throughout this year and beyond.
Thank you to the entire community for your continuing support and relationship with KBB. We wish you all the best for a healthy and prosperous start to the new year, and we look forward to staying connected with each of you.
Visit www.kbb.bm to sign up for our monthly newsletter and learn how you can get involved in making a difference. Stay tuned for additional details to be published in the near future, and be sure to like and follow Keep Bermuda Beautiful on social media.
• Traci Burgess is the executive director of Keep Bermuda Beautiful