On Friday 24 a group of scouts visited the wetland, Sanctuary at Roche Caiman, and Heritage Garden courtesy of the scout movement and as part of a scout camp for the August holidays.
Every school holiday, the Seychelles Scouts Association prepares a special programme for children, which involves both scouts and children from the community. The programme is designed to get children off the streets during the school holidays to come together for five days of learning, fellowship and adventure. As part of their five-day activities they participated in Nature Seychelles programmes that use nature therapy on this Friday afternoon. 10 scouts, 4 leaders and 39 children who are not scouts participated. Robin (the green health coordinator) Martin, our community coordinator and Lucina (at the Heritage Garden) planned and carried out all the activities which involved working in the garden and sanctuary and green exercise.
Fun and games in the outdoors are the basis for green exercise
Activities included stripping the backs off of Cassuarina poles to be used in the Sanctuary for the bird hide, and learning how to pot seedlings and turn over compost in the garden. Robin even had some of the children moving frog tadpoles, which had made a home in holes dug up for plants, to the safety of the Sanctuary’s ponds. This had the children knee deep in mud and screeching in delight.
Mud is fun!
In the garden, they learnt the names and uses of all the plants. It was amazing to see how much they already knew about some of the local plants particularly spices like Cinnamon and Curry leaf and fruit trees like Soursop, Sugar apple, Star fruit and Golden apple.
Learning how to pot seedlings
Katherine, a volunteer who teaches exercises, introduced some green exercise in one of the clearings in the Sanctuary. Children and leaders all participated and she even had the children devising their own games. It was a Friday afternoon well spent for both visitors and staff.
The visitors gamely smell noni fruit
On 9 August, we played host to a group 16 people who are members of the Japan-Seychelles Association in the Kyoto City region. Two university professors accompanied thirteen primary school teachers most and one junior high school girl student to a visit of our sites – the Sanctuary at Roche Caiman and Heritage Garden. Martin Varley, our community coordinator conducted the group around the sites and explained their importance and the functions they fulfill.
The group enjoyed going through the garden and learning about the various traditional plants. Martin even coaxed some of the visitors into smelling Noni fruit, which has a rather pungent smell. He made up for it by crashing the leaves of some of the herbs in the garden for the visitors to take in their lovely aromas.
“Our purpose of visiting Seychelles is to learn about the environment and conservation education of Seychelles and know how it is performed, and we got many hints for the Japanese side to improve our own here,” said Prof. Takesato Watanabe
“Our members found that your environment education has been done among all the people of the country and schools. Organization like yours are well organized and effectively working together with your government and international networks,” he said.
Other features of the Sanctuary that the visitors found interesting were the boardwalk and bird hide made entirely of recycled plastic.
[kml_flashembed movie="http://www.youtube.com/v/3VVsq-gq1qc" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]
Here is a you tube video of our efforts to manage the aquatic reed Typha javanica, Zon in Creole. The reed has become invasive and is taking over the central marsh area at the popular urban wetland, the Sanctuary at Roche Caiman.