Basking in the glory generated by both local and international media, the Sanctuary at Roche Caiman has moved from obscurity to world famous status and has now taken a new slant altogether, its a therapeutic venue....

[ROCHE CAIMAN 20/05/08] A new venture which espouses great idealism and novelty is currently being tried out by Nature Seychelles. The initiative which has produced some astounding results according to participants is now being considered by Nature Seychelles top management as a serious concern, worth national intervention.

This comes in the wake of the high profiled Grand Opening of the Sanctuary at Roche Caiman, which was sprightly publicized on both local and international media. Smarting from the publicity generated by the media the Sanctuary at Roche Caiman has become a popular destination spot. The sanctuary and the adjacent Heritage Gardens herbarium offer a wide range of activities including pond dipping, bird watching, mini-beast hunt, dragon fly watch amongst many others, to schools, community groups, tourists and individuals who veer off for some pristine moments with nature.

Recently the Wildlife Clubs of Seychelles (WCS) organized two special visits at the recently opened Sanctuary at Roche Caiman (SARC). The tours by two groups namely the School for the Exceptional Child and another by the Psychiatric Unit turned out to have excited the participants greatly. During the visits to the Sanctuary, which were directed by WCS coordinator Lyndy Bastienne Courgat and Nature Seychelles head of Social Marketing Terence Vel, the participants expressed great enthusiasm for the ‘outdoor classroom’ and engaged the two Nature Seychelles officials in a steady stream of questions.

About a dozen clients from the Psychiatric Unit led by the Head Nurse Ms. Rose Agathine visited the sanctuary for what had originally been scheduled as a 30-minute guided tour. They ended up gobbling a full hour in nature’s wonderment. Mr. Vel who assisted them on the tour declared, “I am so excited to have them on the wetland, they are fast learners, and have fallen in love with nature.  I am impressed at how an hour with them in the wetland has made them so excited and transformed them from gloomy faces to bright ones beaming with hope.” 

The tours by the two groups involved a guided tour around the celebrated Heritage Gardens which adorn the Nature Seychelles headquarters. The Heritage Gardens are the well manicured lawns sprinkled with dashes of indigenous plants surrounding the Centre for Environmental Education (CEE). Started a couple of years ago, the Heritage Gardens have spawned to become a popular herbarium with organized tours every month.

“It is an agreed fact that nature has healing powers and a positive calming effect. The native Americans have continuously relied on nature as a tonic for their physical, emotional and social rejuvenation. These are the guiding truths through which we initiated the Heritage Gardens and went out of our way to establish the Sanctuary at Roche Caiman. According to the reports we are receiving from the administrators at the School for the Exceptional Child and the Psychiatric Unit, our guided tours are having some positive impact on the patients as well and helping enriching the exceptional kids.” Nature Seychelles projects Coordinator Kerstin Henri says.

After enjoying the hospitality and serene settings of the centre the Psychiatric Unit group refused to leave the sanctuary before an appointment on a future visit was settled. This was done and Nature Seychelles Education Team under Ms Bastienne organized a nature “rendezvous’” at the hospital therapy hall where they were waiting patiently to learn through an interactive presentation on wetlands importance; diversity and protection. Environmental posters produced by Nature Seychelles illustrating Seychelles special birds, plants and animals were distributed. It came as a pleasant surprise as scores of the Psychiatric Unit patients engaged Nature Seychelles staffers with fascinating and intelligent questions such as “How long can one of these migratory bird live and, what does the Tyangomon eat in the marshes?”

“There is nothing as comforting as knowing that our work is medicinal and therapeutic and is aiding in the quick recovery of patients at the Psychiatric Unit. We extend our invitation to everyone to take tiMs Kerstin Henri, Nature Seychelles Projects Coordinator and Resident Economistme off their busy schedules and alleviate the daily stresses of life by visiting our unspoiled Sanctuary here at Roche Caiman.” Ms Henri says.

Seeing that environmental education and outdoor learning sessions are greatly aiding in the quick recovery of patients Ms. Agathine has vowed to maintain contact with Nature Seychelles with the hope of keeping up the valuable program which she says is of great benefit to the group. Ms. Agathine is even suggesting the possibility of structuring a formal program for the daily clients of the psychiatric unit which she says will help with their on-going therapy as they have shown great interest in the area. Her wish is to see her clients active, happy, smiling and interacting in all areas of interest and if this is yet another approach to assist them in their recovery process, then she herself is all for it and she is greatly satisfied with the little they have done so far, hoping that this is not the end of the new chapter in their venture. Nature too plays a big role in healing and having a healthy and prosperous nation. [ENDS]

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Seychelles Nature, Green HealthClimate Change, Biodiversity Conservation & Sustainability Organisation

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