Seychelles’ Fregate Island molding future conservationists
Introducing baby tortoises to a group of students. (Janske van de Crommenacker).
(Seychelles News Agency) - A programme that encourages students with an interest in the environment to work on Fregate Island has been attracting future conservationists in Seychelles.
The island's conservation manager, Janske van de Crommenacker, said several students this year have taken part in the programme.
“During their stay here, they get to see what it’s like to work in conservation, learn different field techniques and have the opportunity to study the many unique Seychelles’ native flora and fauna from up close," said van de Crommenacker.
There are four students working on the Island now.
Located 55 kilometres from Mahe, the most populated island of Seychelles, Fregate Island boasts many rare endemic species and has a well-known programme of conservation.
The exchange programme is also a rare experience for the youngsters to live on an isolated island, far from their lives on the main island of Mahe where their schools are based.
Students from the University of Seychelles, the Seychelles Maritime Academy and the Seychelles International School are among those who benefitted from the programme which requires a written agreement and arrangements with the Fregate.
|Students first encounter with Fregate's giant land tortoises (Top photo) A walk of discovery among the giant banyan trees on the island. (Janske van de Crommenacker) Photo license: CC-BY
The duration of the programme varies from days to weeks, and in some cases, months.
Dyllis Pouponeau, a student following a Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Sciences at the University of Seychelles, described her attachment on Fregate as a unique experience.
“Trips like these are beneficial to both the organisations and students as we tend to go back to those we have previously worked with and have sufficient knowledge of after we graduate.”
Pouponeau added that the experience gives the participants "a clearer picture of conservation projects that they could use as a thesis for their final year as students."
"Within three days, we have had more than just ideas of what the ecology team do, we have experienced and learned from the team,” added Pouponeau’s colleague, Maya Marday.
For younger students such as a recent cohort from the private institution of Seychelles International School, the exchange which lasted for several days provided another approach to learning.
“At the school, the students have been learning about biodiversity and conservation methods as part of their A (Advanced) level course,” said Anne Rowlands. She added that during their stay they had put the theories into practice.
By opening their world of Magpie Robins, snakes, beetles and giant tortoises to the youth of Seychelles, the conservation team of Fregate, which comprised of two foreign nationals, hope to produce more Seychellois environment conservationists.