We have some very exciting news to report on this project! We have now completed building the Carbon Neutral Research base on Curieuse Island thanks to your donations!
The Curieuse base is working to become a leader in sustainability, a flagship location for GVI’s environmental policy; functioning with as little disruption as possible to the environment in which we work. Operating from a remote Island location, logistical supply and energy consumption is at the forefront of our minds.
The design and assimilation of the photovoltaic system on Curieuse has been headed up by GVI’s Climate Care Director Tim Kirkpatrick. It was designed with the remit of supplying 24hrs electricity a day seven days a week, being highly corrosive resistant to cope with island beachfront conditions and to be maintenance free and easy operate. The solar array is an addition to the existing building and not actually part of the structure, making it essay to move to another location if needed. The whole system can be dismantled ready to move in a matter of hours. The solar system works perfectly saving nearly $7000 annually in fuel bills as well as avoiding 9 tons of Co² emissions.
‘ For the first time since GVI took over the base eight years ago the annoying clatter of a generator running has ceased and peace reigns over this tranquil little island’ Tim Kirkpatrick, GVI Climate Care Director.
Moving into 2013 we at Curieuse are looking into further ways to reduce our impact on the environment. Through additional rainwater harvesting schemes and the installation of a water purifier to supply drinking water to the research team based here, we hope to help continue to preserve the unique island paradise in which we work.
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Throughout the last six months the staff and volunteers at Cap Ternay have been collecting data on 12 coral reef sites across the North West coastline of Mahe.
GVI Seychelles works in partnership with three core projects to look at the health and diversity of coral reefs in the Seychelles waters. Over the last 6 months we have worked closely with the Seychelles National Parks Authority to assess the effectiveness of the marine parks, Seychelles Fishing Authority to research the density and diversity of commercial fish stocks and Marine Conservation Society Seychelles to understand feeding habits of Whale Sharks and collect information on other megafauna seen within the marine parks.
During the last six months the volunteers have been trained in identification of both fish and coral species and taught methodologies on how to accurately collect the data needed. The coral surveys completed have focused on understanding and identifying recruitment and growth rates of hard coral genera, while the volunteers trained in fish surveys have been looking at the abundance of reef fish and the abundance and bio-mass of commercially important fish species.
Cap Ternay’s Science Co-ordinator Lee Cassidy believes “it has been a hugely successful past six months with a large amount of important and interesting data collected, having such a long running and continuous data set means the information we have gathered is incredibly valuable”.
In 1998 a severe coral bleaching event occurred which effected many coral reefs around the world, including the inner granitic islands of the Seychelles. In 2004 GVI began monitoring the recovery of these coral reefs . The surveys we have completed are aimed towards assessing the health and recovery of the coral reefs and allow us to make comparisons with coral reefs around the globe. Thank you for supporting such important environmental work!
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 snorkelling, 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 schoolchildren 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.
The Curieuse Island Expedition base is home to the GVI Seychelles Terrestrial Expedition. Curieuse Island and its surrounding waters are a national park and have remained free from development over the years. Home to a population of Giant Tortoises as well as the most extensive area of mangrove system remaining within the inner granitic islands, Curieuse is of significant biological importance. Along with neighboring Praslin Island it is the only place in the world where the Coco de Mer palm can be found. A slow growing palm which produces the largest nut in the world, the Coco de Mer can be found all over the island. Curieuse also has several important nesting beaches for Hawksbill and Green turtles. The endangered Hawksbill is a frequent visitor and during nesting season can be seen dragging itself up local beaches during daylight hours.
It is with a view to protecting this amazing biological diversity that GVI has established a Terrestrial programme on Curieuse Island. As the expedition base is located in such an ecologically sensitive area GVI is determined to minimize our impact on the environment as much as possible and has instigated a number of initiatives with this in mind.
This month has seen the installation of a new photovoltaic system at the GVI Curieuse Island base, the first step towards achieving our goal of becoming carbon neutral. The solar panels are already busy turning sunlight into valuable electricity reducing our need to rely on a generator for power. Other developments include the completion of our new water catchment system, allowing staff and volunteers to collect rainwater. This is of particular importance as fresh water is extremely limited on the island. The harvested water will be used for numerous purposes including watering the organic garden that is starting to take shape.
Over the following months GVI will continue to develop green initiatives on Curieuse Island. The long term goal is to become carbon neutral and minimize our impacts further so that GVICurieuse is viewed as a working example of a model research station.
If you would like further information on the research carried out by GVI Seychelles please visit the website http://www.gvi.co.uk/programs/wildlife-conservation-expedition-seychelles.
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Combined with other sources of funding, this project raised enough money to fund the outlined activities and is no longer accepting donations.
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