As the 2012 Olympics took London by storm, the GVI Cap Ternay base was also in a sporting frenzy. Staff and Volunteers of the Seychelles Marine base took up the challenge of a sponsored beach Olympics with the aim of raising much needed funds for the Presidents Village Children’s home.
The expedition members and staff were assigned teams, each team creating a country, flag and costume for the day’s events. The Cap Ternay Beach Olympics opening ceremony saw the countries raising their flags and touches to an array of national anthems including Disney themes and the Monster Mash. The day was a great success, the Seychelles weather held out ensuring rain never stopped play, keeping our sporting pitch dry and allowing such Olympic games as team gymnastics and sand castle building to go ahead.
The Presidents village Children’s home is located in Port Glaud, Mahe and provides a home to around 50 local children. The Presidents village has been the charitable trust for GVI Mahe for close to three years and each quarter a large fundraising event is organised. In previous years the funds raised by the charitable trust have allowed the children of the Presidents Village to visit the Island of Praslin for a camping trip and have enabled GVI to purchase bikes, shoes and clothing for the children.
Each quarter an activity day is arranged with the Presidents Village where volunteers and staff will visit the children’s home. The day is usually action packed with crafts, football and snorkelling and is an excellent opportunity for the volunteers to see firsthand where the funds will be used.
In partnership with local NGO The Marine Conservation Society of the Seychelles (MCSS) GVI hosted a one day mangrove workshop for local school children. The aim of the day was to introduce the children to the mangrove ecosystem and some of the threats facing them in the local area.
Eighteen children from local schools attended the workshop at the GVI Cap Ternay base on Mahe. The children had been asked to produce a piece of writing or artwork about the environment. The best two entries from each school were awarded a place on the two week ‘Academy by the Sea’ programme run by MCSS. This summer school programme aims to introduce and educate these children about the their local environment through activities such as snorkeling, walks and academic workshops. The mangrove workshop with GVI was part of this programme.
During the workshop the children explored the mangrove system within the Baie Ternay marine park. They went snorkelling to see some of the aquatic life living within the ecosystem. They also received a presentation from GVI about mangrove biology, threats facing them and the importance of protecting these ecosystems. At the end of the day all the children got to be a ‘researcher’ for a few hours as well! In groups they conducted mangrove surveys assessing the density and diversity of mangrove species within the Baie Ternay marine park. The children thoroughly enjoyed learning about the mangroves and the work that GVI conducts in the Seychelles. Hopefully some were inspired to become researchers themselves one day!
Mangroves are a unique and important ecosystem. They are used by a vast array of organisms as breeding, nursery and feeding areas. Mangroves also play a valuable role in foreshore protection, reducing erosion by cyclones and lessening the impact of storm surge. If managed incorrectly, removal of mangroves can result in shoreline erosion and mobilisation of marine sediments. The main factor leading to the loss of mangrove biodiversity is habitat loss caused by conversion or progressive degradation of the forest, water pollution and withdrawal. Education is an essential tool in educating local people on how they can protect these ecosystems in the future.
Abi March, education officer for MCSS, said ‘I am happy that GVI have made the time to share their knowledge and resources with the next generation of Seychellois. This is a wonderful opportunity for these school children to explore and learn about this unique ecosystem’. GVI continues to work towards its long-term objectives to ensure that local children are informed and educated about their surrounding environment.
As the end of the expedition was approaching for twelve of the volunteers, an air of melancholy was descending upon the camp. And yet we had to turn any frowns upside down as Creole Day at the President’s Village was upon us. On a quarterly basis the volunteers join their forces to organise a very special day for the local children’s home.
This week on Cap Ternay has seen a lot of adventure and excitement. Three of our group embarked on a challenging trek from Bel Ombre to our base on Cap Ternay, resulting in 9 hours of ‘Macheteing’ their way through the jungle on a reasonably unused track, which along with amazing scenery and views, left them stranded on “secret beach” resulting in a 40 minute swim round the corner back to base then back again with surfboards and dry bags to pick up their gear. Seybrews were well earned that Saturday night.
On 22nd May 2012 the world celebrated the International Day for Biological Diversity. This yearly event focuses on one area of biodiversity in the hopes of raising awareness and increasing practical action in local communities. This year’s focus was ‘Marine Biodiversity’ which created a perfect opportunity for GVI Seychelles to join forces with local projects and organisations. Together they created a community event to help educate local children and celebrate the abundance of marine biodiversity, which can be found around the many islands of the Seychelles.
During the day the local students were given the opportunity to have a one on one guided snorkel with a GVI volunteer around the marine park, where they were taught to identify different fish and corals found in the shallow waters on the coral reef. Other activities involved mangrove safaris and a chance to try out scuba diving equipment.
In a community where many livelihoods rely on the ocean, this day brought an important message to the future generations and highlighted GVI’s efforts to support conservation through research.
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GVI Charitable Trust Manager