Hands on wetlands work fires youngsters conservation enthusiasm

Making World Wetland’s Day relevant to young environmentalists was the main aim of activities taking place at Nature Seychelles’ 2.7 hectare Roche Caiman Wetland Sanctuary on February, 3rd.
50 school aged members of Nature Seychelles’ partner NGO, Wildlife Clubs of Seychelles, met at the wetland, where, rather than inflicting a series of speeches and dry lectures on them, Nature Seychelles staff led a day of pond-dipping, bird watching, vegetation surveys and wetland painting. “Hands-on experience of conservation is invaluable in educating the next generation of conservationists about the need to protect vulnerable ecosystems,” said Nature Seychelles Chief Executive, Nirmal Shah, after leading a tour of the wetland area.

WIldlife Club members were on the look out during World Wetlands Day celebrations

The Roche Caiman Sanctuary in located just outside Seychelles’ capital Victoria, offering a unique, close-to-town opportunity for people of all ages to engage with one of the most threatened ecosystems in Seychelles.
An artificial wetland, it was created when land off the east coast of Seychelles’ main island, Mahé, was reclaimed in the 1980’s.
The site quickly began to attract large numbers of wading birds and, under Nature Seychelles management, is now being transformed into a living classroom and one of the few fresh water wetlands in the country.
“Bringing the young Wildlife Club members to the Roche Caiman Sanctuary gives them a wonderful, interactive conservation experience, and also feeds into their school studies, covering subjects such as science, geography and history,” said the Wildlife Clubs Coordinator, Lyndy Bastienne Corgat.
World Wetland Day was celebrated under the theme “Wetlands Support Fisheries: Keep Them Healthy,” in a bid to increase protection of wetlands, which now rank alongside tropical rainforests as one of the world’s most threatened ecosystems.
After designing wetland posters, netting small wetland animals, identifying insects and surveying vegetation at the Roche Caiman Sanctuary, the Wildlife Club members moved on to the nearby Roche Caiman mudflats, where Nature Seychelles bird experts pointed out some of the species which rely on wetland areas.

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