Debra Branker – Director and Nature Specialist
Debra is a curious mix of environmentalist and entrepreneur. Since achieving a BA in Environmental Studies and an MSc in Ethno Botany (the study of people and plants), she has dedicated herself to the field of environmental education.
When the lease came up for Welchman Hall Gully, Debra jumped at the chance to turn this very special place into a prime, nature-based tourist attraction and to develop it as a centre for biodiversity and education.
So as well as running a business, she is able to pursue her passion for conservation and education. She believes that in order for the environment to be protected and nurtured, it is very important to introduce children to nature at an early age. She runs the children’s camps during the holidays, supervises the Native Plant and Adopt-a-School projects, and ensures the gully remains a premier tourist attraction.
You’ll usually see her guiding groups around the gully, with a pair of secateurs in her hand and two dogs by her side.
Cassandria Springer – Manager
Cassandria manages the gift shop at Welchman Hall Gully and is likely to be the first person you’ll meet when you come to see us. She started working at the gully part-time, but took over her current full-time responsibilities in 2013.
If you’ve any questions about the gully or Barbados she’s a treasure trove of information.
She is a resident of Porey Springs, which is about a five-minute drive from the gully.
Neil Gill – Gardener
Neil has been working with plants most of his life, but can turn his hand to a variety of tasks when required. He started at Welchman Hall Gully in January 2009.
He has seen many changes here. He helped transform the path and was one of the first on hand when the gully was devastated by Tropical Storm Thomas in November 2010. Neil is man of few words who is very fond of animals and also farms his own cows, sheep and ducks.
The latest pooches to entertain our visitors are Dusty and KD. These sisters were rescued by Debra Branker as puppies and are now never far from her side. They are also favourites with children at our camps.
You may also see a dog following Neil around. Stray dogs are common in Barbados and at Welchman Hall Gully, we do what we can to rescue them. We also offer free neutering of cats, and have re-homed several dogs that found their way to the gully.
As you walk through the gully, you may notice some trace of Big Boy, another rescue dog whose paw prints are permanently cemented into the path. He was a favourite of Neil’s and was never far from his side. Big Boy was laid to rest June 2013 due to old age.