Wingate a driving force
Conservationist David Wingate has overseen every pond restoration and creation project to have taken place in Bermuda over the past half-century.
Most have involved the restoration of natural ponds that were filled in with garbage and rubble during the era of garbage disposal by tip and fill between 1930 and 1975.
Dr Wingate has completed a total of 18 projects to provide a habitat for birds and other wildlife from the East End to the West End of the island.
In the 1960s he led a team of Bermuda government workers and heavy machinery operators that excavated one freshwater pond and a small woodland pond at Spittal Pond.
He also took charge of a further two government projects at the Pembroke Marsh where the firebreak channel on the west face of dump was excavated by drag line and the restoration of a pond adjacent to the children’s playground at Parson’s Lane.
Over the following decades, Dr Wingate spearheaded pond restoration projects for the Bermuda Audubon Society at Somerset Long Bay and Bartram Pond in Mullet Bay, St George’s.
Bartram Pond was named after soldier John Bartram — a well-known naturalist and taxidermist who lived at Stokes Point in the mid-19th century — and the project was funded by Esso Bermuda at the instigation of their CEO John Carey.
He went on to complete further restoration projects at Blue Hole Park for government as well as one at the Belmont Golf Course and a private initiative near Frank’s Bay in Southampton.
Gibbons Pond, on the Bermuda National Trust’s Gibbon’s Nature Reserve in Devonshire, as well as the residential pond near the Cloverdale Apartments in the same parish, were also among Dr Wingate’s achievements.
He also took the helm of two pond creation projects on the Nonsuch Living Museum nature reserve as well as a further two restoration projects for the Bermuda National Trust at the Paget Marsh boardwalk entrance and at Tivoli south in Warwick, also named the Higgs reserve after the original land owner.
In the 1980s, the Mid-Ocean Club funded the restoration of a filled section of a mangrove pond below Paynter’s Road in Tucker’s Town with money donated in memory of their former golf professional Archie Compton.
Dr Wingate’s most recent pond restoration was Seymour’s Pond at Barnes Corner, which had become closed in by invasive species and dried up during a drought in the summer of 2011.
The initiative followed the successful restoration of Pitman’s Pond in Somerset Long Bay for Buy Back Bermuda. The land was purchased after a partial pond restoration had been started by former owner Joffre Pitman.
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