Clean up for a good cause

People

AMERICA’S BOATING CLUB HILTON HEAD, DAUFUSKIE ISLAND GULLAH HERITAGE SOCIETY PARTNER TO RESTORE GULLAH SITES

BY HILTON HEAD MONTHLY | PHOTOS SUPPLIED

America’s Boating Club Hilton Head has partnered with the Daufuskie Island Gullah Heritage Society to assist in the cleanup and restoration of Gullah historical sites on Daufuskie Island.

There are five Gullah cemeteries and multiple Gullah historic home sites on Daufuskie that need substantial amounts of work.

“The Gullah history is unique and certainly worth preserving,” said Boating Club HH Executive Officer, Craig Loomis.

The initial focus of the cleanup efforts was to clear and remove overgrown vegetation at each of the sites.

Club members have volunteered their time to do this work on an ongoing basis. Volunteers provide their own boat transportation to Daufuskie and the tools needed to do the work. Projects are determined and detailed by Sallie Ann Robinson, the founder of the Daufuskie Island Gullah Heritage Society. Robinson provides the volunteers transportation to the work sites on the island.

There have been two workdays performed by club volunteers: one in November (21 volunteers) and most recently Feb. 2, which featured help from nine volunteers.

Overgrown vegetation, trees, shrubs and other landscape debris have been removed from two cemeteries (the Mary Fields Cemetery and the Cooper River Cemetery) and two Gullah homesites (the Robinson Home and the Hamilton Home).

Additional workdays are being planned for March and likely this fall.

“A big focus of our organization is community outreach centered round boating activities,” said Peter Dion, the Commander of America’s Boating Club Hilton Head said. “Last year our club and several other America’s Boating Clubs from South Carolina and Georgia visited Daufuskie Island and took the tour of Daufuskie Island that Sallie Ann Robinson presents regularly. We were impressed with Sallie Ann and her passion for preserving the rich Gullah culture there. She said she needed help, so we decided it would be a great service for our club to help and assist her.”

Said Loomis: “That day Pete and I said we have to work with her. This is a great opportunity to do some good on the island.”

Loomis said the club views the initiative as a “long-term project.”

The Daufuskie Island Gullah Heritage Society (daufuskieislandgullahheritagesociety.org) is a 501(c)(3) organization founded by Robinson to “restore, clean up and maintain the Gullah homes and cemeteries on Daufuskie Island.”

Sixth-generatio-born Daufuskian Robinson loves living back home with a passion, which is why she’s working hard to restore the old Gullah homes and maintain the graveyards for respect. She’s moved back home with a mission her ancestors would want her to do, she said.

America’s Boating Club Hilton Head is a non-profit organization focused on safe, enjoyable boating and is part of the United States Power Squadron, a national boating organization. The club performs community outreach and offers training and education courses to new and experienced boaters.

To learn more, visit abchh.org.