U.S. Consulate Celebrates Earth Day with Paget Primary School and Bermuda’s Zoological Society

The U.S. Consulate General partnered with the Bermuda Zoological Society (BZS) and Paget Primary School to celebrate the 52nd annual Earth Day by volunteering to support the Trunk Island Living Classroom in Harrington Sound.

To highlight this year’s Earth Day theme “Invest in Our Planet,” and raise awareness about important environmental issues like climate change, the U.S. Consulate returned to Trunk Island to continue restoration work and prepare a coastal habitat for the reintroduction of the Bermuda Skink – one of the rarest lizards in the world – in support of a project with the BZS and the Government of Bermuda’s Department of Environment and Natural Resources.

Joined by students from Paget Primary School’s Eco Club, volunteers cleared invasive vegetation and planted cedar trees to prepare for the upcoming release of the Bermuda skinks. “The U.S. Consulate team contributed toward a very special project,” said Trunk Island Project Coordinator Trevor Rawson. “The group followed up on their previous preparations for a coastal habitat to support the upcoming release of the critically endangered Bermuda Skink.  They began supporting this initiative last year by removing large swaths of asparagus fern and planted prickly pear cactus – a native food source and protection for the Bermuda Skinks. This year, the team continued clearing invasive vegetation in the area and helped students from Paget Primary School to plant endemic Bermuda cedars that will give the skinks valuable hiding places from predators.”

“Paget Primary is proud to provide a space where students can engage in activities that promote environmental sustainability through the Eco Club and serve as citizen scientists through the Global Learning and Observation to Benefit the Environment (GLOBE) Program, which is an international science and education program supported by NASA, founded on Earth Day in 1994. Our students and teachers were thrilled to participate in hands-on activities with the U.S. Consulate team and plant cedar trees in support of the Bermuda Skink project,” said Paget Primary Principal Sonia Haley.

Students explored Bermuda’s Living Classroom on a guided tour with Rawson who identified trees and plants that represent Bermuda’s natural environment, highlighted significant examples of invasive plant species, and led students to observe a beehive while describing the beekeeping process and how bees operate to produce honey.

“As part of the 2022 Earth Day theme, Invest in Our Planet, we wanted to do our part to improve sustainability and give back to our local communities through service,” said U.S. Consul General Karen Grissette. “Thank you to Dr. Ian Walker and talented team of the Bermuda Zoological Society who care deeply about the environment and educating Bermuda’s youth.  It was a special treat to be joined by students from Paget Primary who are enthusiastic about protecting our environment and building a sustainable future.  As long as we stay united and focused on protecting the one planet we have, we can leave it in better shape for future generations. This Earth Day, let us all accept our individual responsibilities to care for the world we live in, and let us marshal our best efforts toward building a safer, more stable, and more sustainable world.”

Trunk Island provides a hands-on, practical approach to learning about the complexities of native and endemic plants in Bermuda.  With support from the charity organization, Bermuda Zoological Society’s education programs are held on Trunk Island throughout the year. “The enthusiastic hands of the Consulate’s team worked hard and had fun with the job! Their continued support has given Trunk Island upwards of 100 native and endemic plantings as well as this newly designed habitat. BZS would like to extend its gratitude to Consulate team and the students of Paget Primary for all their efforts towards BZS’s Trunk Island Living Classroom,” said Principal Curator of the Bermuda Aquarium, Museum and Zoo, Dr. Ian Walker.

Earth Day is an opportunity to raise awareness of the many environmental challenges we face and highlight our efforts to improve sustainability. On April 22, 1970, millions of Americans rallied together to demand action to allow all of us to live free from environmental hazard and harm. Their dedication to the cause sparked a national movement that endures today in the bedrock laws that protect the air we breathe, the water we drink, the places in nature we visit, and the wildlife we see.  More than 1 billion people now participate in Earth Day activities each year, making it the largest civic observance in the world.

Tackling the climate crisis is at the center of U.S. foreign policy, diplomacy, and national security and the Biden-Harris Administration is committed to achieving a carbon pollution-free power sector by 2035, putting the United States on a path to a net-zero-emissions economy by 2050.  The Department of State is working with international organizations, civil society, the private sector, philanthropy, and other governments to support policies and programs that preserve the planet’s natural beauty, provide economic benefits for generations to come, safeguard the lives and livelihoods of people around the world, and address the climate crisis.

Learn more about Earth Day: www.earthday.org

Learn more about Trunk Island: https://bamz.org/community/trunk-island