Photos: 2023 BNT Heritage Awards Winners

June 20, 2023

The Bermuda National Trust heritage awards were recently presented, honouring a number of groups and individuals for their work to “promote Bermuda’s natural and cultural heritage.”

A spokesperson said, “The Bermuda National Trust’s annual heritage awards were presented on 15 June. The awards, sponsored by Butterfield & Vallis, recognise individuals, organisations, groups and schools that have worked to protect and promote Bermuda’s natural and cultural heritage, or whose work has enhanced Bermuda heritage awareness or understanding. The ceremony took place at BNT’s Verdmont Museum and the trophies and certificates were presented by Trust President Alana Anderson and Junior Minister for Culture Kim Swan.

“The Trust’s highest honour, the Palmetto Award, was presented to the Architectural Heritage book team for thousands of hours of work over 30 years to research the 10-book series covering the architectural heritage of all nine parishes and the City of Hamilton. The Silver Palmetto award was received by Margaret Lloyd, supported by many of those who have worked on the series over the years.

“In top award for Heritage Education, the Michael Darling Shield, went to the Bermuda Underwater Exploration Institute [BUEI] for organising the Youth Climate Summit and associated Climate Action Projects.

“Heritage Education certificates were awarded to Whitney Institute Middle School for creating a ‘wellness garden’, the Sandys Guides and Brownies for environmental volunteering at Somerset Long Bay, and Warwick Academy for their seahorse research project.

“The top natural heritage award, the Bermudiana trophy, went to Robert Steinhoff for his generous support for BNT’s Gilbert Nature Reserve, Morgan’s Island and Palm Island both financially and with hands-on labour. His hard work and commitment is helping to transform these nature reserves into native and endemic strongholds.

“The Cultural Heritage Impact Award, the top honour in the cultural heritage section, went to the St George’s Foundation [SGF] for their conservation of World Heritage Site fortifications. SGF chair Peter Barrett and vice chair Stuart Smith enlisted community volunteers to remove invasive plants and huge amounts of debris to clean up and prevent further deterioration of the Ferry Reach forts, Fort Cunningham, Fort Victoria and Fort Albert.

“Cultural Heritage Award certificates were awarded to:

  • Dale Butler, for creating and providing community access to Rosalie Gardens at 35 Angle Street in North Hamilton
  • Cheryl Hayward-Chew for services to the Bermuda World Heritage Site [WHS] of St George’s as former chair of the WHS management committee who oversaw the most recent review of the WHS management plan
  • The Friends of St Peter’s Church, and Robert Powell, for sensitive conservation and restoration of St Peter’s Church windows and exterior woodwork
  • The National Museum of Bermuda for the Family Scrapbook project
  • Otto Trott for documenting Bermuda’s cultural heritage through his art.

“The top award for Built Heritage – the Clipper Award – went to James and Vanessa Peniston and contractor Travis Lewis for the sensitive restoration of Grade 2 Listed “Weber” in Pembroke.

“Other awards for restorations or renovations of historic buildings went to Scott Hunter and Janet Kemp for Grade 2 listed “Glen Duror” in St George’s; Brian and Rosa Quinn for Grade 1 listed “Villa Mont Clare” in Smith’s; and Richard and Lindsay Butterfield and contractor Travis Lewis for Grade 2 listed “Durham” in Pembroke.

“The Bermudian magazine was awarded the DeForest Trimingham Awareness Award for their promotion of Bermuda heritage over many decades, both in print and online.

“The Trust also awarded several Honorary Life Memberships for exceptional service to the Trust. These went to:

  • Dr Michael Jarvis, for decades of historical and archaeological investigation in partnership with BNT, including over 10 years leading the Smith’s Island Archaeological Project
  • Michael Spurling and Michael Whittall, for generous support over many years
  • Robert Masters, for his service on the BNT Heritage Committee and Council
  • Allen Van Putten, for 18 years of service at BNT maintaining, conserving and restoring BNT buildings.
  • Dörte Horsfield, the Trust’s Head of Development & Engagement, was recognised for 10 years of service.”

Heritage Education

“These awards recognize educational institutions for projects, programmes or initiatives that demonstrate care for Bermuda’s natural and cultural heritage.

“Whitney Institute Middle School for their Wellness Garden. This project was designed and maintained by participants in the Bridge level of the Duke of Edinburgh scheme:  Aaliyah Berkeley, Serena Crockwell, Shannon Crockwell, Kalila Daley, Day’asha Dill, Nari Lightbourne, Claudette Thomas, Mason Whitehead and Ngozichi Worrell.  The Whitney staff coordinators were Helen Paynter, Marlo Santiago and Neil Phillips, and Karen Simmons and Fiona Holmes of Duke of Edinburgh Bermuda supported many of the sessions. Creation of the garden has been a labour of love over many months. The students had help from the Trust’s own Myles Darrell who taught them about native and endemic plants and especially those which attract butterflies. They also planted many fruiting species including Banana, Plantain, Guava, Mulberry, Passion Fruit and Loquat.  Island Construction Services provided old tires for the outline of the garden.

“1st Sandys Guides and 1st Sandys Brownies for environmental volunteering. Because of their proximity to the beach and park, these groups have for years conducted cleanups at Somerset Long Bay and in 2022 they ‘adopted’ the beach and the adjacent nature reserve with a particular focus on picking up broken glass.  In July last year the Guides teamed up with a visiting group of American Girl Scouts for a volunteer morning removing trash and spreading mulch around newly planted trees in the nature reserves.  In April this year the Brownies had a volunteer day also picking up trash, cleaning signs in the nature reserve and putting tree guards on young trees.

“Warwick Academy for their Seahorse Project, which aims to conserve and restore Bermuda’s seahorse population. This project is led by Deana Friesen and is a collaboration between the Warwick Academy Marine Science Facility, the Aquarium and the community at large. It began in Spring 2022 and they are working to a 5-year conservation plan set out by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources. Warwick Academy presently has a seahorse club of 15 students, along with 3 community volunteers, who conduct regular surveys at sites around the island.

“The top award in the Heritage Education category is the Michael Darling Shield. This year the award went to the Bermuda Underwater Exploration Institute for their Youth Climate Summit. This initiative, now in its second year, empowers youth in Bermuda by advancing their understanding of climate change issues and facilitating climate action through guided project work. Open to students 13-22, it starts with the week-long Summit in November and then the students work with Dr Rosemarie McMahon developing climate knowledge through hands-on learning experiences such as field trips, and project work. One of the projects last year involved mangrove propagation and the students came to the Trust’s Headquarters at Waterville to work with our mangroves. This inspiring and multi-faceted programme is a worthy winner of the Michael Darling Shield. Receiving the award were executive director Karla Lacey, Dr Rosemarie McMahon and students Zoe Mir, Maya Kennedy and Zahra Trott.

Natural Heritage

“The Bermudiana Award for Natural Heritage Impact went to Robert Steinhoff.  The Steinhoff family have adopted the Gilbert Nature Reserve at Springfield in Sandys, as well as Morgan’s Island and Palm Island in Ely’s Harbour.  Robert’s commitment, both financial and with his own hands-on labour are helping to transform these nature reserves into native and endemic strongholds. Robert has almost single-handedly removed almost all the casuarinas and many other invasives from Morgan and Palm Islands and planted hundreds of trees there. He has also been a regular volunteer at Gilbert Nature Reserve and Scaur Lodge nature reserve, culling invasives and planting trees.

Heritage Awareness

“The DeForest Trimingham Award for Heritage Awareness went to The Bermudian Magazine for their promotion of Bermuda’s heritage, both in print and online.  The Bermudian is packed full of content about our natural environment and cultural matters, addressing current issues and providing fascinating insights into Bermuda history. BNT applauds publisher Tina Stevenson and editor Gabrielle Boyer for highlighting so many facets of Bermuda heritage in the magazine.

Cultural Heritage Awards –  Built Heritage Conservation

“Scott Hunter and Janet Kemp for their sympathetic restoration of Grade 2 listed ‘Glen Duror’ in St George’s. ‘Glen Duror’ was built around 1807. The Georgian house has served as a clubhouse for the US Army and in more recent times as a two-apartment rental.  The owners were determined to restore it as a functional family home while being sensitive to its historic character and did so with the advice of architect Michele Smith of OBM Ltd. They used traditional materials including mahogany windows and cedar beams. Most of the outside is unchanged but inside they added a beautifully designed staircase to connect the two levels.

“Brian and Rosa Quinn for ‘Villa Mont Clare’, a Grade 1 listed home in Smith’s Parish. ‘Villa Mont Clare’ was built in 1812 but extensively enhanced over the years, with a front porch added around 1900. With the help of architects David and Georgia Benevides, the Quinns have lovingly restored the house, which was in a state of decay when they acquired it.  The front porch has been brought back to its former glory and the inside has been tastefully restored using reclaimed wood for the floors. A new staircase of reclaimed wood connects the kitchen with the basement den.

“The Friends of St Peter’s Church and craftsman Robert Powell for the careful conservation and restoration of the windows, shutters and exterior doors of historic St Peter’s Church in St George’s.  The Friends of St Peter’s contracted with craftsman Robert Powell to rebuild all the outside shutters and window frames of the church. Mr. Powell had to remove layers of paint, sand down the blinds and replace broken slats. He reused as much original wood as possible and re-assembled the blinds in the traditional fashion with wooden dowels, not nails.  Recently, Mr. Powell has refinished the cedar front doors of the Church which look fantastic.  The end result is a real enhancement to this very important old building in the World Heritage Site.

“Richard and Lindsay Butterfield, and builder Travis Lewis for their restoration of Grade 2 listed ‘Durham’ in Pembroke. This lovely Greek Revival house was built between 1891-2. It had several extensions added on the eastern side in the 1970s, which the Butterfields removed and replaced with a two-storey addition more in keeping with the Greek Revival style. The kitchen was moved to the back of the house giving access to a new swimming pool area, overlooking Soncy Bay.  The changes have restored elegance to this historic building.

“The top award in the built heritage conservation category – The Clipper Award – went to James and Vanessa Peniston and builder Travis Lewis, for the renovation of ‘Weber’ in Pembroke. Dating to 1899, ‘Weber’ is a substantial two-storey house which has the traditional features of its period with a smooth gable roof, a large wooden verandah with several tall columns, and a bay window. Around World War 2, the house was divided into several apartments and rented, and an external staircase was built on the side for access to the upper apartment. The Penistons have restored the house as a single family home and removed the outside staircase. They saved what they could on the inside, including doors and brass fittings and salvaged as much of the original wood as possible on the outside, replicating the unique wooden porch posts where necessary. On the upper level, they reopened an outside porch that had been enclosed. Their care and the building expertise of Travis Lewis brought this lovely house back to its former glory.

Cultural Heritage Awards

“Dale Butler for creating and providing community access to Rosalie Gardens. Dale has created a real natural and cultural heritage oasis in honour of his mother Rosalie at his property 35 Angle Street in North Hamilton. The beautiful gardens are filled with flowers and tributes to Bermudians who have made their mark in a variety of fields. He invites in the community to enjoy the gardens and music by local musicians. To quote one of the many people who nominated Dale: “Mr Butler has created a masterpiece museum in his back yard, honoring what feels like hundreds of Bermudians that impacted our island. He does this from his heart, and seeing his work brings hope of preserving culture.”

“Cheryl Hayward-Chew for services to the World Heritage Site. Cheryl is the former Chair of the World Heritage Site Management Committee, a voluntary role to which she devoted many hundreds of hours of her time, particularly overseeing the coordination of the last review of the Bermuda World Heritage Site Management Plan. Some achievements are visible and some like this cannot be seen, but are none-the-less very important. Bermuda owes Cheryl a debt of gratitude for her service to the World Heritage Site.

“Otto Trott, for documenting Bermuda’s cultural heritage through his art. Otto Trott records the Bermuda around him, from people to places and buildings and even special occasions such as the Peppercorn Ceremony in St George’s.  Through his work he is leaving a wonderful legacy for future generations. For example, the Mary Prince site of Watlington House at Oceanview Golf Course is one of many historic buildings he has painted, and the record is especially precious since the building was demolished earlier this year.

“National Museum of Bermuda for their Family Scrapbook project. This crowd-sourcing project provides a platform to share and preserve personal and family images and stories. By inviting the community to share their own family history, the museum aims to ”add multiple perspectives to historical narratives, providing us all with a better understanding of our history.”  The Family Scrapbook will become part of the museum’s permanent collections and exhibits.

“The top award for Cultural Heritage Impact, this year goes to The St George’s Foundation, for conservation of historic fortifications in the World Heritage Site. Last year they got a certificate for the Ferry Reach forts, but since then this extraordinary effort has reached even greater heights. SGF chair Peter Barrett and vice-chair Stuart Smith have marshalled an army of volunteers to carry out major conservation work at Fort Cunningham, Fort Victoria and Fort Albert. The fortifications were in a terrible state before SGF came to rescue – they were dumping grounds for debris and trash and overrun with invasives whose roots were breaking up the masonry.  Their sorry state was putting St George’s World Heritage status at risk, so we owe the St George’s Foundation an enormous vote of thanks for their monumental efforts.

Staff Long Service

“Dr Dorte Horsfield for ten years of service. Dorte started out as the Trust’s Education Officer and later became the Director of Education. Since 2021 she has had a new role as Head of Development & Engagement. In reality, there is not much that Dorte hasn’t been involved with at the Trust in the past ten years, as she has always stepped up when she saw something that needed to be done. For example, Dorte oversaw the development of the signage for Spittal Pond, and more recently she managed the creation of our new website that went live in 2021.

“Honorary Life Membership of the Bermuda National Trust is only granted for exceptional service or a very significant contribution of some kind.

“Dr Michael Jarvis has partnered with the Trust for many decades, including researching the St. George’s volume of the Trust’s Architectural Series, and for over 10 years leading the Smith’s Island Archaeological Project.  Mike has always shared his historical and archaeological expertise very generously. He has kindly given many Trust Talks on a variety of topics and he is always willing to engage with local students to inspire an interest in history and archaeology.

“Michael Spurling and Michael Whittall have been extraordinarily generous supporters of the Trust. They established and led the UK Friends of the Bermuda National Trust for many years, they regularly donate their ever-popular Red Barracks dining experience for auction at our gala dinners, which has raised many thousands of dollars for the Trust, and they also generously open their lovely home for visits by cultural tourism groups.

“Robert Masters has given many years of service to the Trust. Robert served on the Preservation Committee for 10 years, the last five of those serving as Chair before he stepped down in 2022. He also served on Council for five years, and for a long time has chaired the committee that reviews the nominations for the Trust’s architectural awards. He is one of the dedicated volunteers who keep the Trust going, and his thoughtfulness and wisdom have been much valued.

“Allen Van Putten started work at the Trust over 18 years ago. As Buildings Manager he has been responsible for maintaining and conserving the Trust’s large buildings portfolio and he has undertaken several major renovations of Trust properties. He knows more about the properties than anyone, and he can turn his hand to any number of trades with great skill – masonry, plumbing, electrics, carpentry, he does it all. Allen has recently retired from his full-time role, BNT is most fortunate to still have the benefit of his experience and expertise on a part-time basis.

The Palmetto Award

“This is the Trust’s highest honour and this year it went to the team who worked on the Architectural Heritage Series over some 30 years. The ten-part series, which includes all nine parishes and the City of Hamilton, was completed at the end of 2022 with the publication of the Southampton Book. It is a fascinating series for anyone who loves Bermuda’s architecture and history, and a hugely valuable record and resource for future historians and researchers. Hundreds of people have been involved over the years but there are some who played key roles for one or two books, and some who have been part of the series from the start. Most important, pulling everything together and keeping the momentum going over the years has been Margie Lloyd. Other key members of the book team include Linda Abend, Katie Berry, Antoinette Butz, Diana Chudleigh, Steven Conway, Diana Downs, Ralph Furbert, Annette Gilbert, Edward Harris, Thomas James, Margaret Lee, Alicia Resnik, Sue Simons, Cecille Snaith-Simmons and Joy Wilson-Tucker.”

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