Children in Seychelles are being encouraged to reconnect with nature, discover the richness of the islands’ biodiversity and at a young age to contribute to its future protection. This is through the launch of the “Little Explorers Club’’.
The club with representation on Mahe and Praslin – the first and second largest islands of the 115 islands archipelago in western Indian Ocean -regroups kids from the ages of 4 to 12 years old, prompting them to explore their surroundings and question the functioning of the natural world.
Little Explorers Club of Bel Ombre on Mahe was launched last month. An initiative of non-profit organisations Gaea Seychelles and the Terrestrial Restoration Action Society of Seychelles (TRASS).
“Nature provides countless opportunities for discovery, creativity, problem-solving, and education. Interacting with natural environments allows children to learn by doing and experimenting with ideas. Moreover, the club is also bringing ‘citizen science’ into play, where the children can learn how to collect and analyse data that could essentially be used in science projects, conservation and management,” said conservation biologist Elvina Henriette.
Henriette is a founding member of both TRASS and Gaea Seychelles. (Seychelles Nation) Photo License: CC-BY
Henriette added that the club is part of a youth empowerment programme which seeks to empower and enhance the capabilities of young people as part of their personal development and future contribution to environmental protection and socioeconomic development.
“There is a general perception that many children in today’s societies are not engaging with the natural world. With this club we hope that kids get ‘in touch’ with nature and encourage exploration through their own eyes and experiences” explained Henriette founding member of both TRASS and Gaea Seychelles.
The citizen science programme’s guiding principle is to use natural surroundings as a classroom and employ interactive learning techniques to educate them about nature and its importance in human survival.
The club members get to be involved many outdoor events, including trails, tree plantings amongst others including developing vegetable gardens and nurseries. They then get to sell the products and acquire additional skills such as customer care and basic skills whilst handling money.
Little Explorers Club is an initiative of non-profit organisations Gaea Seychelles and the Terrestrial Restoration Action Society of Seychelles (TRASS). (Seychelles Nation) Photo License: CC-BY
“It is interesting to see how these kids, though at a young age show such passion for gardening and taking care of the plants. I just hope that they keep this interest,” said Gabriel Prudence, a farmer who assisted the Bel Ombre club to develop and build their garden. Prudence added that such an initiative should be replicated in other districts of the country.
“Such groups for young kids are very important, as at a younger age is the right time to sensitise kids and get them engaged and involved, especially where environment protection and conservation is concerned,” Maria Brioche, who has for many years been involved in many community-based projects with children, told SNA.
Source: Seychelles News Agency