RBC Volunteers 2nd clean up of Guana Bay in support of the turtle nesting season this year

Around 30 plus RBC Volunteers gathered in the early morning at Guana Bay to start the second of a series of RBC volunteer beach clean-ups, aimed at helping make the turtle nesting area on that beach more accessible for the endangered Hawksbill, Leatherback and Green sea turtles which nest at Guana Bay. These sea turtles have made it their nesting beach in the period from March to November each year.

The beach clean was organized in conjuction with the Nature Foundation St. Maarten, . The Beach clean up is initiated in connection with the “RBC Blue Water Day 2012 Project” which is the environmental priority program for RBC Royal Bank focusing on the preservation of water. RBC in St. Maarten has committed to clean Guana Bay periodically for the duration of the turtle nesting season from March till November each year and committs to support with building awareness on sea turtle nesting.
In comments during the beach clean-up, Hanna Lieuw Hie-Gonesh, Area Vice President for Personal Banking for St. Maarten representing RBC Volunteers, stated that the second clean up Guana Bay marks another mile stone in RBC’s commitment to support the Nature Foundation St. Maarten in its tireless efforts to help preserve nature in general and in particular the turtle nesting beaches in St. Maarten; “RBC Royal Bank has made a firm commitment to support in keeping the beach of Guana Bay clean, particularly during the turtle nesting season. We started in May, have completed the July clean up and look forward to September, October and November,” commented Mrs. Hie-Gonesh.
In close collaboration with the Nature Foundation St. Maarten and RBC Royal Bank has also been able to create the first sign for all beach visitors which will allow for permanent awareness for keeping Guana Bay a suitable beach for turtles to lay their eggs. Although there are previous signs on the beach this sign will be placed at the entrance of the beach explaining visitors exactly what and what not to do in order to safeguard turtles and what to do when a nesting is observed.
RBC’s corporate responsibility creates opportunities for embracing environmental projects like these under the Blue Water Project banner. The RBC Blue Water Project is a 10-year, global commitment to help protect the world’s most precious natural resource – fresh water; this is in its third year. RBC has a longstanding commitment to environmental sustainability, and has chosen to focus on water because access to water will be one of the most significant environmental and economic issues facing the world in the coming decades.
The Nature Foundation once again commended and thanked RBC and especially the volunteers for the hard work they did on Saturday morning. St. Maarten is one of the few territories in the Caribbean where turtles come up the beach to lay their eggs. Due to the large amount of seaweed which has been washing up on Guana Bay and the plastic the seaweed brings with it nesting was very difficult for some of the turtles. Through the excellent work done by RBC volunteers the beach is now clean for nesting turtles to lay their eggs.
The clean up delivered approximately 80 kg of garbage with rope, plastic debris and litter being the most common objects. RBC Royal Bank supports with the awareness on the topic of turtle nesting and the preservation of a clean beach for humans and turtles specifically. This project of cleaning up the beach for the turtle nesting season fits perfectly into RBC’s philosophy on the sustainable development of the environment. RBC Royal Bank firmly believes that it is the responsibility of the bank to positively influence the social development of the community in which it operates by maximizing its contributions to the state of environment of the island.
By means of this environmental initiative RBC Royal Bank moreover wants to add value to its environmental footprint in the St.Maarten community and most importantlty demonstrate the bank’s commitment to the development and preservation of the environment of the island through the active engagement of its employees.
The first Leatherback Sea Turtle Nest has already succesfully hatched in the Guana Bay/ Gibbs Bay area with an additional seven nests currently incubating on the beaches. Sea Turtle Nesting Season lasts until November.