US to support Tea Tavern trail in Seychelles through small grants programme

The Regional Environment Officers (REO) grant programme from the United States Embassy will continue to support the maintenance and restoration work on the Tea Tavern trail at Sans Soucis on Seychelles’ main island of Mahe with an additional grant of $5,000.
The maintenance and restoration work will be done by the Plant Conservation Action Group (PCA) and the Seychelles Parks and Gardens Authority (SPGA) under a newly signed agreement on Thursday.
The agreement is for SPGA to manage the Tea Travel trail while PCA continues its work to conserve and maintain the rich biodiversity found there.
The chief executive of the SPGA, Allen Cedras, and the chairman of PCA, Dr Lindsay Chong-Seng, signed the agreement in a ceremony at the National Museum of Natural History.
The grant was handed over to the PCA by James Donegan, the U.S. resident counsellor for Seychelles.
The trail is considered a unique site with precipices on three sides and home to a large population of pitcher plants. The site also provides a fantastic view of the western and southwestern coast of Mahe.
This is the second time the U.S. Embassy provides funding for the project. In September 2021, it provided $5,000 to remove invasive vegetation found at the site and replace them with native species.
In his address, Donegan said, “We are particularly pleased to note PCA’s progress on the restoration works at the Tea Tavern site through the removal of invasive species and planting endemic ones, and its discussions with the Seychelles Park and Garden Authority to establish an administrative mechanism to protect native vegetation.”
The SPGA has the mandate to manage Morne Seychellois National Park and will be responsible for maintaining the trail according to the standards set by the Tourism Department.
Cedras said that “this will allow not only PCA volunteers, but also tourists to have another experience as there are many endemic plants and the system is much richer in those areas.”
He added that this will also create a learning space for scientists wishing to further study the endemic species found in those areas.
The Morne Seychellois National Park covers an area of approximately 3,045 hectares. It is 10km in length and equipped with an extensive trail network, covering more than 15km.
Cedras said that the two entities have yet to set an exact time frame for when SPGA will manage visitors coming to the trail.
Meanwhile, Donegan gave the assurance that over the next year, there will be further partnerships with his country in areas such as “environmental preservation and educational exchange, including collaborations with ministries and our investments in building the skillsets of local professionals.”
The Regional Environment Science Technology and Health Officer (REO) small grant is designed to support a range of projects and is part of the U.S. Government’s engagement on environment, science, technology, and health priorities around the world. 
The Tea Tavern trail project has been made possible by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs. Over the past five years, the programme has provided over $1 million through over 100 grant awards to projects that address environmental and public health issues within an affected community while advancing environment, science, technology and health strategic priorities. 
Source: Seychelles News Agency