Campaign launched to transform land into new public nature reserve
A $1.5 million fundraising campaign has been launched to transform 10 acres in Southampton into a new public nature reserve.
Buy Back Bermuda, a collaborative initiative between the Bermuda National Trust and the Bermuda Audubon Society, announced last year that it has purchased the property on Alton Hill.
The site, which would be renamed the High Point Nature Reserve, would become the fourth nature reserve managed by the group after Somerset Long Bay East Nature Reserve in Sandys, the Vesey Nature Reserve in Southampton and Eve’s Pond Nature Reserve in Hamilton Parish.
Jennifer Gray, chair of Buy Back Bermuda, said: “An exceptional individual gift, and funds from our acquisition account has boosted Buy Back Bermuda into first gear to restore ten pristine rural acres of arable fields, woodland and spectacular coastline.
“This site was long at the top of Buy Back Bermuda’s list of prospects to save and was on the market with in-principal approval for development of three detached dwellings and an estate road.
“It is a dream come true to be able to save this stunning piece of land from development. The property holds incredible value in terms of recreation, agriculture and biodiversity.
“The $1.5 million campaign is needed to make this beautiful property available for the public to enjoy and to reclaim it from invasive species, restoring this and all Buy Back Bermuda nature reserves.”
Buy Back Bermuda said the group envisioned the new reserve to become a community amenity where the public could walk, ride horses and watch for longtails and whales.
The group also highlighted that the High Point Nature Reserve plot includes 1.5 acres of active farmlands, used for sheep, poultry, root vegetables, watermelons and pumpkins.
A spokeswoman for the group said: “Agricultural land in Bermuda has decreased at an alarming rate since the 1970s.
“The recent pandemic brought home the importance of focusing on sustainability and food security by conserving our farmland and keeping it under cultivation.
“Locally grown food is also fresher, more nutritious, and better for the planet, as it does not require preserving, packaging and long-distance transport.”
Ms Gray added that a maintenance fund was required to ensure the best possible protection of wildlife in the reserves, while providing “places of beauty, serenity and environmental learning” for generations to come.
“We will be counting on gifts at all levels from across the community and encourage everyone to visit www.buybackbermuda.bm for details on how to donate.
“For Christmas, give your loved ones the gift that keeps on giving – you can make a donation in their name and get a certificate certifying that they are a supporter of Buy Back Bermuda Campaign Three.”