Victor Bell and his Skyline crew flanked by Andrew Dobson, Audubon President (left) and Sir Richard Gozney and David Wingate (right).
Victor Bell and his Skyline crew flanked by Andrew Dobson, Audubon President (left) and Sir Richard Gozney and David Wingate (right).

SATURDAY, OCTOBER 22: The Seymour’s Pond Nature Reserve restoration project was capped off today when Governor Sir Richard Gozney planted a tree on the property.

More than a dozen members of the Bermuda Audubon Society were on hand to witness the occasion.

Seymour’s Pond, located at the junction of Middle Road and South Road in Southampton, is highly visible to passing motorists.

It was the first nature reserve established by the Bermuda Audubon Society by means of a public fund-raising drive in 1963.

A second strip of land on the roadside was gifted to the society by the Masters estate in 1990, bringing its total size to 2.84 acres.

Sir Richard said because of the efforts of the Audubon Society, Seymour’s Pond “will remain a quiet haven” for birds.

He joked it will give them a place to hide from the cameras that have inundated the island from the paparazzi descending upon Bermuda for the PGA Grand Slam of Golf.

After he planted a tree, he was given a guided walk around Seymour’s Pond.

Prior to that Andrew Dobson, president of the BAS, thanked the efforts from the members of the Society and Victor Bell and his Skyline crew, which assisted in the project.

David Wingate also gave a brief history of Seymour’s Pond.

Backed by a densely wooded hillside and flanked by farmland, the slightly brackish pond provides a rich feeding ground for many species of migratory waterfowl including Canada geese, ducks, herons and egrets.

Moorhens, coots and pied-billed grebes have all been known to breed here.

The pond’s effectiveness as a nature reserve had been compromised in recent years by the encroachment of invasive plants, which clogged the open water and reduced the pond’s size by nearly half. 

Run-off from Middle Road and adjacent farmland had also caused the pond to become polluted, causing deformities in breeding toads.

The restoration began in the spring and was completed on Saturday with the tree-planting ceremony.

It included reinstating a part of the pond filled-in by garbage dumping in the 1930s, creating an islet near the north-east end of the pond for waterfowl to nest on and removing the encroaching Brazil pepper and sheathed paspalum grass that had reduced the open water area.

Excavated material was used to recontour the pond edge, providing a barrier between the pond and the farmland to prevent chemical run-off into the wetland.

Government played its part by installing a soak-away pit to absorb polluted run-off from the main road, which is downhill from Barnes Corner..

A team from the Department of Works completed the pit last week as an important contribution to ensuring the future health of the pond.