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.