Takamaka Primary School students were thrilled to spot several birds
Nature Seychelles has in the last week hosted university students, primary school students and wildlife club members at The Sanctuary in Roche Caiman. By visiting the Sanctuary and through discussions with Nature Seychelles staff, the student groups were able to learn more about conservation as well as wildlife and their habitats, essentially through connecting with the natural environment.
Prior to touring The Sanctuary, University of Seychelles students listened to a lecture delivered by Dr Nirmal Shah, Nature Seychelles’ CEO. This was held in the boardroom of the organisation’s premises aptly named The Centre for Environment and Education.
UniSey students got to learn about the history of The Sanctuary, how it was developed and how it is maintained as a thriving wildlife habitat
“I have heard about Nature Seychelles’ work but not had the chance to gain deeper insight on specific projects before.” Andrew Souffre a second year environmental science student said after the lecture. “I am currently working as a technician at the Seychelles Fisheries Authority and I hope to broaden my horizon after completing my studies. That is why I was so interested in the reef rescue work Nature Seychelles is doing.”
After a brief context setting of Seychelles history in relation to the environment, the Bachelor of Education and Bachelor of Science students learned in greater detail about the work of Nature Seychelles on Mahe, Cousin and Praslin islands.
Colibri Wildlife Club members saw more than they had expected to
“Coconut plantations were probably the largest ecological disaster that happened in the Seychelles,” Shah said in highlighting the destruction of the natural environment as a backdrop to the eventual development of biodiversity protected areas in the Seychelles.
“This is where Nature Seychelles comes in. As the BirdLife International partner in Seychelles, we have had world class projects in saving bird species that are endemic to the Seychelles. These birds were at the brink of extinction. ” Shah explained. “We also work in marine research and conservation including turtles, fish, frogs and coral reefs.”
The University of Seychelles students, members of Colibri Wildlife Club (Plaisance Primary School) and P4 students from Takamaka Primary School all got to tour the site and see some of the wildlife that have taken sanctuary in the urban wetland. While the university students were more concerned with career development after their studies, the primary school students were more interested in spotting birds, dragon flies, crabs, fishes or anything that moved.
Andrew Souffre Sampling some mulberries at the Heritage Garden
“Nature Seychelles is doing a great deal here on Mahe and on other islands,” Rachel Onezime pointed out. Ms Onezime is a Bachelor of Education lecturer at the University of Seychelles. She accompanied the students on their visit to The Sanctuary. “It is important for the students to know that in the future when they are teaching at secondary school, they can also organize such trips for their students. For the Bachelor of Science students, Nature Seychelles work is more specific to what they learn and they can see where they fit in for internships or careers.”
The Heritage (organic) Garden which also sits on The Sanctuary site, was of great interest to students and teachers alike, some of whom have small gardens at home. Nature Seychelles invited Jean-Paul Geffroy to speak to the Takamaka students during their visit. Geffroy’s farm recently came into partnership with Nature Seychelles with the aim of promoting organic farming in the country and encouraging Seychellois to grow and eat more of the foods they consume. Not only did the students and teachers get to go home with a chilli (pima) seedling, they also received a bag full of vegetables from Geffroy’s farm.