University of Seychelles students reading the infomation material by the Heritage Garden (file photo)
At Nature Seychelles, the proverbial music never stops, when it comes to new projects, activities and partnerships. The most recent partnership with The University of Warmia and Mazury (UWM) in Olsztyn, Poland, is set to bring changes to the face of The Sanctuary in Roche Caiman.
“We hope this partnership will amount to a combination of landscape architecture and design at The Sanctuary for our conservation and green health areas for the benefit of the public,” says Dr Nirmal Shah, Nature Seychelles CEO.
“As with all our projects once developed and in place, we continue to build-on and refine the work so that we are in step with current innovative trends for as much impact as possible. Yes, our organic garden serves its purpose as a demonstration farm for conservation and healthy living, yet there is always room for advancement.”
Au Cap students catching and identifying creatures in the water at The Sanctuary
This five-year partnership with UWM is specifically between Nature Seychelles and The Faculty of Environmental Management and Agriculture. The agreed upon particulars include joint scientific research; organising bilateral seminars; the exchange of expertise between research and educational staff; reciprocal publishing of science works in periodicals of both parties; and exchange of manuals, course books and other relevant publications.
“The University’s department of Environment and Agriculture is in line with our conservation work at The Sanctuary and Green Health project, hence our keenness in working together,” Shah points out. “I believe this is primed to be a mutually valuable partnership, for them as a research and learning institution and for us as implementers in similar fields.”
Certainly, under this department, UWM offers degrees in specialized areas including Environment protection, Gardening, Agriculture, Landscape architecture, Forestry and Management of renewable raw materials and minerals.
Seychelles Institute of Teacher Educators (SITE) students on a recent visit to The Sanctuary
Likewise, Nature Seychelles work covers a wide breadth of environment protection activities. For instance, The Sanctuary in Roche Caiman is the only managed urban wetland in the Seychelles with mangrove forests of five different species. Local and migrating birds can be spotted from the bird hide and fishes in the water. Many marine and land invertebrates have also colonised the site – different snail species, crabs, spiders, dragonflies and so forth. A handful of terrapins also call this place home.
“The purpose of The Sanctuary is not simply for the enjoyment of nature lovers, or only a safe haven for wildlife, it is also an outdoor learning space,” Shah says. “We have school groups of all ages from early childhood all the way through university students taking advantage of the site. Partnering with UWM will undoubtedly enhance our educational outreach.”