A long year of school learning is finished, you are ready for holidays – how do you relax and recharge? By spending another week learning in the best outdoor classroom ever – a remote island of the Seychelles archipelago.
Eight lucky Seychellois students aged 11 to 16 years did just that from 11 – 15 December 2017, when they were chosen as EcoSchool Ambassadors to visit the outer island of Desroches, at the invitation of Islands Development Company (IDC). It was a week of amazing new experiences – lifechanging, they say.
Chosen for their dedication to protecting our natural environment, students were apprenticed to ICS and IDC staff to learn about conservation, sustainable development, outer island management and daily life.
From beach patrols to tortoise feeding, coral spotting to native plantings, the ICS Conservation Team were impressed with the students’ enthusiasm, knowledge and willingness to try many new activities throughout the week.
Whilst night beach patrolling, the students mimicked the calls of nesting Wedge-tailed Shearwaters Ardenna pacifica and were delighted to hear the birds respond, helping to locate nesting burrows. Large numbers of Horned Ghost Crabs Ocypode ceratophthalmus were night-scavenging on the retreating tide, running around and over and around the students’ feet. They were surprised yet undeterred from their patrol!
Students participated in a turtle stranding recovery and autopsy. “We were impressed with the high level of understanding and maturity displayed by the students. This whole experience was a good example of why turtles need protection, as this was an apparently healthy individual which died of an unknown cause. We were able to discuss the natural vulnerability of such wildlife, even without the threat of poaching”, said Conservation Officer Matthew Morgan.
Rubbish was collected on daily morning beach walks and some was recycled as Christmas tree ornaments. Students also loved helping in the native tree nursery and planting their own native trees as part of the island’s Vegetation Restoration Management Plan. “Even though the kids were very tired after their hectic schedule they still came out and planted their trees (in the rain!). Everybody learned a lot about why conservation is important for the island, and we have mounted the documents they created on our wall as a display”.
The successful EcoSchools Educational Trips Programme continues with the first group of students for 2018 arriving this week on Silhouette Island for their own Nature Adventures with ICS and IDC. Stay tuned for their dispatch!