Trunk Island eco-restoration project: Clipper Race plants mangroves for essential restoration and protection of Bermuda


During the Bermuda stopover, Race Crew and Clipper Race staff had the opportunity to spend a morning helping out at the Trunk Island - Living Classroom and Environmental Restoration Project. Crew were given a tour to see the native longtail seabirds in their natural habitat before heading to Trunk Island by boat.

Image: Crew en route to Trunk Island

Once on the island, the team of volunteers explored the 300 year old palmetto forest, giving a sense of what the island was like when it was first discovered in 1609, before getting to work in helping with the mangrove planting project

Speaking about Trunk Island, Trevor Rawson, Captain for Bermuda Zoological Society and Project Coordinator of Trunk Island said: “We have so many different projects out here. With Trunk Island being a restoration project, we bring out tonnes of native plants and animals to the island. One of the newest projects is the mangrove development project, which helps with coastal erosion protection and provides safe refuge for the mangroves, which suck carbon out of the atmosphere thus protecting our climate as fast as possible.”

To assist with the project, Trevor led the crew on a day filled with preparing the mangrove habitat by filling recycled, biodegradable burlap bags with rich soil sourced on Trunk Island. The weighted bags line the edges of the bay to act as an erosion-resistant barrier, protecting the mangroves against strong winds, whilst doubling as a growing medium for the young mangroves. This step is essential to restoration and protection of the island.

The roots of red mangroves play a key part in strengthening coastlines against erosion, as well as serving as a nursery for juvenile reef fish and feeding areas at high tide. Many mangroves in Bermuda have been lost to coastal infrastructure and property development, and rising sea levels threaten the remaining population.

Image: Race Crew assisting with the project

Trevor continues: “In 10-15 years we should have a fully functional mangrove habitat, and we’re trying our best to accelerate this as fast as possible, so we have to thank teams such as the volunteers from the Clipper Race for working hard and really putting the time in- they worked very very quickly and their knot tying expertise was great!”

Sophie Quintin, an Ocean Governance Specialist, and Race Crew on Seattle reported on the day’s activities: “It’s been absolutely fantastic. My research takes me to many countries, but I’ve never planted mangroves, and it was great working with the team to do this and a really insightful morning. We are essentially re-creating an ecosystem, which will be complete in 5-10 years time. To be able to be here today, and be part of the island conservation has been quite special. I certainly will come back to Bermuda in future to see how things have changed!”