Anne Barr worked on Cousin as the visiting warden for the Experience Exchange Programme under the GEF Project from July to September 2005, reports on her Cousin island experience .
I work for the Government's advisor on nature conservation in England and have a background in protected area management. It remained to be seen how my skills would transfer to an island reserve in Seychelles.
Anne Barr (right) with Catherina on Cousin © C. Jameson
The staff soon made me feel at home and gave me the opportunity to participate in a range of activities and to contribute my ideas. I've learned bird ringing and monitoringtechniques, and also had a go at driving the boat. I practiced my French, German and Italian, and used a machete - but only on coconuts. In exchange, I've been an extra pair of hands and have made suggestions on the island's management plan and interpretation, as well as providing food for the resident mosquitoes!
Highlights have been doing my first guided tour in German, seeing my first Magpie-robin chick fledge, and holding a baby Seychelles Warbler.
There have also been a few scary moments: I got lost on my first solo guided tour. Luckily the tour group didn't notice. I also had to order trespassers off the island, but altogether it's been wonderful to be able to share my enthusiasm for nature with others and sense their appreciation of this amazing island.