Volunteerism: The Key to Pollution-In-Parks
By Steffon Evans Outreach Officer for Bahamas National Trust
Every year, over 500 members of the community extend the arms of the BNT’s reach through meaningful service – sharing with this great organization the stance that our Bahamian environment needs to be protected. While these capacities go from leading nature tours to filing important paperwork, without a doubt every single volunteering moment is a precious commodity to our BNT family.
On January 18-19, participants of the Governor General’s Youth Award (GGYA) took on the awesome task of volunteering with us to help remove some of the massive piles of debris dumped at Harrold and Wilson Ponds National Park in central New Providence. These students sacrificed their time both days immediately after school in cold, windy weather. They didn’t hesitate to get their hands dirty to help their Park.
“Why is this in a National Park?” I found myself asking every 5 minutes as tons of debris was pulled from the low-laying coppice on the boundary of Harrold Pond. Mattresses, refrigerators, furniture sets, toilets, computers – you name it and it was there. The only thing that grounded me and offered hope during this experience was spending two afternoons in the presence of 60 young people who not only earned hours through cleaning, but realized the grim reality of the pollution-in-Parks problem and felt a spark of motivation to take action.
I remember speaking to Portia, my Director, about just how much trash was truly tucked away in the shrubs, and the follow-up work we’d likely have to put in. I was humbled through thinking forward, and a little aggravated honestly, that we as Bahamians put ourselves in this position. Nonetheless, through the hard work and dedication of GGYA, I found myself heartened when I saw the before and after photos. I’ve come to see that volunteers have the ability to teach and inspire strategies that will cause us at the BNT to be able to better manage National Parks.
You’d be amazed if you’ve visited that area of the Park before and you take some time to go now! Thank you GGYA!