Save Our Seas Foundation: 16 Seychellois youth win places for D'Arros Experience camps
The programme is an important component of the foundation's worldwide mission to promote environmental education and outreach. (Dillys Poupouneau)
Sixteen young Seychellois have won their places in two one-week camps to increase their knowledge of the ecosystem of one of Seychelles' outer islands, D'Arros, home to the Save Our Seas Foundation's Research Centre (SOSF-DRC).
Aged 10 to 15 years, the adolescents are winners of the D'Arros Experience Competition for school children launched last year. The D'Arros Experience engages young Seychellois on the importance of the ecosystems that form part of their national heritage while providing practical, hands-on field experience in a globally important ecological hotspot.
The programme is an important component of the foundation's worldwide mission to promote environmental education and outreach. The idea is to provide students with a clear understanding of how ecosystems, from the coast to the deeper ocean, are connected.
The Save our Seas Foundation said in a press release on Wednesday that during the most recent competition, a total of 72 contestants submitted high-quality artwork, essays, websites, sculptures, and video entries. For the first time, there was a winner from La Digue Island, the third most populated island in the archipelago.
Participants had to raise awareness about one of four species found in varied environments - the bottlenose wedge fish, the Seychelles white-eye, the sheath-tailed bat, and the hawksbill turtle.
The D'Arros Experience camp coordinator, Sheena Talma, outlined that "we wanted a wider scope for those who may not be as artistic but still have compelling ideas about the environment. This meant expanding the judging panel with more moderators, but we still maintained a clear process with pre-set criteria."
Talking about the activities the school children will be involved in, Talma said that she and her team are working on finalising the programme, "but the idea is to continue to improve and evolve the experience year on year."
Scheduled to take place between the April and May school holidays, the camp will be led by several experienced environmentalists including Terence Vel from the University of Seychelles and Henriette Grimmel, the SOSF-DRC programme director, who is based all year on D'Arros with her three other colleagues.
"This is one of the highlights of our year and we are looking forward to the energy and enthusiasm that these students never fail to bring to D'Arros," said Grimmel.