Message from the Executive Director

As we near the end of 2021, we want to say a big Thank You to all our members, donors and volunteers for your wonderful support over the past 12 months. It was not an easy year, but with your help, BNT has achieved an amazing amount despite the Covid challenges. We have worked hard as always to care for and promote our cultural heritage and Bermuda’s natural beauty and biodiversity, to educate young and old about the value of our heritage and our environment, and to advocate strongly for its protection.


Thank you for your support and have a happy holiday season!

Karen Border

Executive Director

Important Changes to the Bermuda National Trust Act

Dear Members, 


We are pleased to inform you of important changes in the governance of the Bermuda National Trust. The Bermuda National Trust Amendment Act 2021 was passed in the House of Assembly and the Senate in the recent session of Parliament and has gone to the Governor for assent.

This Amendment Act is a significant milestone in the history of the Trust. It positions us to face the next half century as a mature and developed organisation.


The journey to this landmark decision began decades ago. In the mid 1990s, the Trust became concerned that its governing body, the Trust Council, was not representative of its significant membership. Under the embodying legislation, the Bermuda National Trust Act 1969, the Trust Council comprised five members elected by the Trust membership at its annual general meeting, three members appointed by the Governor on the advice of Government, and one each from the Bermuda Audubon Society, Bermuda Garden Club, Bermuda Historical Society, KBB and St George’s Historical Society. The original intent was to assist the start-up Trust in its early years with the support and experience of the established nonprofits. In addition, Government required involvement due to its financial support of the Trust.

When the Trust began work in 1970, it was already a significant property owner with land holdings and artefacts passed on by its forerunner, the Bermuda Historical Monuments Trust (est. 1937), including Spittal Pond, Paget Marsh, Verdmont and Tucker House. In addition, the Government provided financial support for the Trust in the form of fees for service and grants.

As time moved on, the Trust took on more property, hired qualified staff members and expanded its membership. It also established a strong leadership role in the community in conservation, education and advocacy.

Soon after the Trust’s 25th anniversary, the Council decided it was time for its membership to be responsible for selecting its own ruling body. The appointing nonprofits were by this time smaller than the Trust in terms of membership and scope of work. Input was sought from the appointing bodies to determine how they would feel about relinquishing their right of appointment. Trust Council members had in-depth discussions with the boards of all five organisations but they were for the most part unwilling to support such a change to the Trust legislation and the status quo remained.

Over the ensuing two decades, amendments to the Act remained an agenda item and in 2016 the Council decided it was time to focus once again on the need for its membership to have the right to appoint its own ruling body.

In 2021 the five appointing nonprofits are in agreement that the Trust membership should have the right to select the majority of the members of Council.

From the start of the most recent discussions, the Trust has made it clear that it appreciates the contribution made by the appointing organisations and the value they have brought to the Trust over more than 50 years. The intent has always been to replace these early relationships with a forum that would include not only the original five organisations but other groups that have formed and expanded over the past five decades. Currently, as you may know, Bermuda’s environmental organisations meet regularly to discuss conservation issues and it is clear that collaborative efforts are essential for efficiencies and to ensure we are aligned on our roles, and not duplicating efforts.

While membership of Council has been the driving force for change to the Trust Act, it was a good opportunity to review the legislation fully and this has shown that some other aspects of the original Act would benefit from an update, including allowing the Trust membership to adopt By-laws to govern its own procedures, and the Council to appoint an auditor without annual Ministerial approval.

The By-laws have been drafted and a Special General Meeting will be called early in 2022 at which they will be put before the membership for approval. Notice of that meeting will be circulated in due course.   

Many people have helped to bring this important legislative change to fruition. John Campbell and Alan Dunch worked on early drafts of the Amendment Act and provided valuable legal advice. Council member Robin Mayor has tirelessly driven the process for the past two years, working over the past several months with former Council member Lady Dace Ground who drafted the By-laws. We are most grateful for their legal expertise, knowledge and experience. They all care deeply about the Trust and have put in unremitting effort to ensure the organisation is appropriately positioned for its next chapter.


In addition, our thanks go to the Minister of Education, the Attorney General’s Chambers, and, notably, Ms Kimberly McKeown, Senior Policy Analyst at the Department of Education, for their support in bringing this to fruition.


To you, our membership, thank you for your support and encouragement. You each in your own way – volunteers, donors, advisors and friends – ensure that the Trust is able to do its work for the benefit of all Bermuda, for the long term.

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Alana Anderson


Congratulations to BNT Award Winners

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As 2021 draws to an end, we are delighted to recognise two extraordinary individuals for their outstanding service to the Trust. At an event at Verdmont on 9 December, President Alana Anderson announced Lionel Thompson as the recipient of the President’s Award and presented the Palmetto Award to Amanda Outerbridge.

The Presidents’ Award is given by the President for exceptional service to the Trust. This award is not given every year and it may be for a single act, or for an accumulation of services over many years. Lionel Thompson has served the Trust for nearly three decades in various capacities, serving on the Museums Committee, the Government House Furnishings Committee and the Auction & Jumble Committee, as well as on the Council. “I have had the privilege of serving with Lionel on Council for the last three years and have appreciated his candour, eagerness and strong moral values,” said Alana Anderson. 

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The Palmetto Award is the Bermuda National Trust’s highest honor and is not presented every year.  It is given for outstanding service to the community in areas of concern to the Trust, or for service to the Trust itself. This includes preservation of Bermuda’s natural or man-made heritage, or significant donation of time, effort or funds to this end.

The award was presented to Amanda Outerbridge for service to the Trust, including most recently work on the project committee focused on the BNT Act and new By-laws, and leading the Trust through uncharted waters during the pandemic when she stepped up to act as interim Executive Director for several months in 2020 and again for a few months in 2021. Amanda was Executive Director of the Trust from 1993 to 2003.  Presenting the award, President Alana Anderson thanked Amanda for her service saying: “I personally have enjoyed working with Amanda and admire her unwavering commitment, can do attitude and overall willingness to do whatever is necessary for the Trust.” 

Conservation Updates

'Tis the season for conservation!

Update from Myles Darrell, Head of Natural Heritage

November is traditionally a busy month for conservation activities – with the corporate volunteer days, the cooler weather and the closing of the hurricane season. This year we were fortunate not to have experienced major weather events, allowing for less clean-up and more great work on improving the nature reserves.

The Garden Club of Bermuda gave $10,000 to the Eve’s Pond Project and we are immensely grateful for this significant contribution. Work at Eve’s Pond is progressing beautifully, the balance of nature working so well now that the area is recognised as a hotspot for local and migrating bird life – such a great result for Bermuda’s newest reserve. Click here to check out the site. Community support – including a new bird blind – has been heart-warming. The official opening for this Buy Back Bermuda project will be in April 2022.

It was a pleasure to participate in the inaugural Youth Climate Summit organised by the BUEI. Attendees learned about the Trust in a five-minute video on our conservation mission, and our booth in the lobby enabled us to have awesome interaction with the students, aged 13-26. Heritage Education Coordinator, Anna Ridgeway and I spent the day at the summit and much enjoyed the experience with the students, and networking with colleagues in the conservation world. Congratulations to the BUEI and we look forward to the event becoming an annual fixture. It’s essential for the future that our young people are informed, empowered and engaged with climate change mitigation. As a small island, Bermuda is in the frontline.

Our fabulous, fearless Friday students who volunteer at Waterville every week have been building reindeer for the Trust Treasures Shop. These delightful all-natural creatures are a popular seasonal addition. More next month on this amazing team of young people. 

Morgan's and Palm Islands

These two beautiful undeveloped islands in Ely’s Harbour, Somerset have remnants of Bermuda’s original native forest and are critical for the habitat they offer populations of skinks and longtails. Somerset resident, community philanthropist and environmentalist Bob Steinhoff is behind a recent effort to improve the islands’ biodiversity with removal of invasives and reinstatement of natives and endemics. Given the sensitive nature of these islands, this is a project conducted as a collaboration between the Trust and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR). On 5 November, the focus was Palm Island with a plan to clear all casuarinas from the coast. The team of keen environmentalists – DENR’s Peter Drew and Alison Copeland, Bob and Alison, and yours truly from the Trust – set out to do as much as we could to clear invasive species. The day was filled with “National Geographic moments” thanks to the bountiful wildlife. Upon arrival we tied the boat up, found a central point to drop our tools before carrying out a reconnaissance mission. Jacks were spotted moving swiftly along the coastal waters, dashing into schools of anchovies while surprisingly large colourful parrotfish were feeding up against the rocks. A medium-sized octopus was taking advantage of a particularly high tide and feeding on the top shells. We started cutting and the sound of chainsaws took over Ely’s Harbor, but it didn’t seem to disturb Kingfishers angling to catch brunch. The day was fruitful and the felled casuarinas were placed in piles to break down and act as both compost feeding the juvenile cedars recently planted on the island and windbreak for their protection as they mature. This island environment is extreme, and life will be challenging for these trees. Over the next year we plan to continue our efforts on Palm and Morgan’s Islands as these offshore Islands provide some of the best opportunities for substantive conservation gains – Dr David Wingate’s Nonsuch Island project representing the gold standard for this sort of work.

Deloitte Impact Day


We have built a strong relationship with Deloitte over the years and it’s always a pleasure to spend time with the company’s volunteers in our nature reserves. The team has created a well-oiled machine, working to get things done smoothly while having fun.

This time we were a team of about 20 at Gilbert Nature Reserve, and we set to work in groups to improve access to the trails and entrance area. Over the years we’ve had limited capacity to prepare for and manage the impact hurricanes have on our open spaces. So, when we have a group of seasoned volunteers, we take the opportunity to get things sorted. We were able to make all the trails easily accessible and where opportunity presented itself, planted native and endemic trees and shrubs to fill any gaps. There was a considerable amount of domestic waste, even though there’s a garbage can at the bus stop. At the entrances, we wanted to make the spaces inviting and tidy – to discourage people from littering. A motivated, all-woman team was ready to work on this, accompanied by All Star volunteer, Parish Constable Donna DeSilva. At the Railway Trail entrance, we had collected more than 20 cubic yards of horticultural waste (invasive trees) for chipping by our contractors. That’s about two large truckloads. Once the trees were removed, we replaced them with Cedars, Olivewoods and Palmettos with understorey planting of Jamaican Dogwood, Dock Bush, Snowberry and more milkweed for butterflies. Other volunteers were focused on trash picking throughout the reserve and light pruning to ensure the trails could be easily accessed. By the time we finished, the reserve looked amazing, ready to accommodate visitors travelling safely from the railway trail to the bus stop without ducking or having to avoid branches.

It really was a great day and we made a huge impact!

Gilbert N.R. Community Volunteer Day 

Our volunteers never cease to amaze and inspire me. On 27 November the Trust’s monthly community volunteer day was at Gilbert Nature Reserve in Somerset. These events are awesome and while the focus is on facilitating much-needed conservation work, we have a lot of fun doing it. I especially love seeing the diversity of our volunteers and how well they always seem to work together.

I was up early, and it had clearly rained much of the night. “You’re surely not going out in all this weather?” said my wife. But I thought the rain might stop and I can always get things done on my own if necessary. Having lived in the rain forests of New Zealand and Hawaii, I have no qualms about working in the rain. A few minutes later the first message came from a volunteer querying the day’s plan, but she was keen and wasn’t deterred by the rain. The next message came while I was en route; we decided we were going to make this happen. The rain didn’t stop – but 10 volunteers showed up and we forged ahead even in the sometimes-pouring rain. We

  • picked up seven bags of rubbish, mostly bottles but all sorts of household waste
  • removed many invasive species leaving the biomass (horticultural waste) on site to use as mulch and compost in the future
  • planted Cedars, Olivewoods, Jamaican Dogwoods, Snowberry, Dock Bush, Turkey Berry and a handful of exotics to provide a little colour, nectar for butterflies and food for birds.

There were smiles on faces the whole time and when 12:30 came, I had to let everyone know we had more than met the expectation and it was time to go. As I said, our volunteers never cease to amaze me. 


Heritage at Risk

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The St George’s Police Station in 1998

St George’s Police Station

This is part of a series of architectural articles by the Bermuda National Trust to highlight some of Bermuda's endangered historic buildings.

by Linda Abend and Margie Lloyd

The New Police Station Act of 1904 provided for the purchase of suitable sites for the building of new police stations in the parishes of Sandys and St George. The former was built in 1906 in what has been described as an Edwardian Style of colonial architecture. In 1910 St George’s Police Station Act authorised the Board of Works to purchase the lot on which stood the Main Guard House and Ordnance Reserve Store from the British military for £300.

Although built after the death of Edward VII, the Police Station was designed in Edwardian or British Imperial style as was the King Edward VII Memorial Hospital completed in the 1920s. All three buildings are thought to have been designed by the same Public Works Department architect or perhaps by the Colonial Surveyor himself. William Cardy Hallett is known to have designed Thorburn Hall in Warwick, the clock tower, colonnade and east tower additions to the Sessions House in Hamilton and his home Elevado in Pembroke.

Click here to read the full article

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The original one-over-one windows were replaced sometime after 2007 when it closed but later reopened and operated on a part-time basis.

The St George’s Police Station in December 2021.

Upcoming Events

BNT Holiday Pop-Up Shop

10:00 am - 4:00 pm until 24 December.

Visit our holiday shop at Waterville this year for ALL your holiday shopping!

BNT Walking and Museum Tours

Friday 17 & Saturday 18 December

Verdmont will be dressed for the holidays for this Friday's Tour and St. George's will be full of Christmas Cheer this weekend!

Click here to sign up and learn more!

Holiday Shop N' Stroll

Sunday 19 December 12:00 - 4:00 pm

Bermuda National Trust is joining other Bermuda World Heritage Site partners for Holiday Shop & Stroll in St. George’s! Ho-ho-hope to see you there!

Christmas Camp

20 December - 24 December

Click here to download the registration form

Plant & Bake Sale

Saturday, 12 February 2022, 8:30 am - 12 noon

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