This young lady sure has been busy with the conservation world and we foresee amazing things from her. Its nice to see the young minds of today fully immersed in their environment and community as they learn how they can help as well as enrich themselves. We usually make volunteers choose a favorite coral but Jaymee simply replied with, "they're all my favorite". Read below to catch up on her quick yet jam packed adventure with us.
"My name is Jaymee Clarisse and I am a volunteer at the Seychelles National Parks Authority (SNPA). I am working with the Marine Conservation Society Seychelles (MCSS) for 8 days. I am interested in conservation and have participated in a few marine education programs such as the Academy by the Sea, which was a one week program to educate youths about the importance of conservation. There, I learnt about the different threats to marine life and how we could help to reduce those. We also learned about the importance and the threats to mangroves. We learned about the different reef fish found in Seychelles and snorkeled at Beau Vallon, Port Launay and Cap Ternay! I also went to Darros with the academy for a week, where we learned more about the marine environment from the different people working there. We learnt about sea turtles, manta rays, corals, and much more in the presentations which we had every day. We studied the different birds and plants found on Darros and each planted a tree from their nursery on the island. I also volunteered at the Seychelles Fishing Authority (SFA) for 3 weeks. There, I worked in the lab to collect samples of fish for research and I learned to use excel to input data about the fish samples we were working with.
While on Cerf Island I have learnt about certain species of hard corals through four workshops about different hard corals found here around Cerf Island. Learning these has made snorkeling much more fun as I can now identify the corals I come across. I have also learned about the different types of fish found on the Cerf Island reefs, such as butterfly fish which are corallivores, parrotfish, which have beak like mouths and rabbit fish which have flared and forked tails. I was taught to use a program called Coral Point Count with Excel Extensions (CPCe) to measure coral fragments from the artificial reefs. This helps keep track of the growth of these corals on a monthly basis. On our daily snorkels at the habitation reef, Savi and Chloe point out different corals to Farah, a student from the Seychelles Maritime Academy (SMA), and me, to see if we are able to identify them. This has made remembering the different corals names much easier. While snorkeling we sometimes see octopus, feathertail rays and hawksbill turtles. I also learned about the importance of sea urchins on coral reefs. They are grazers and so clear out space for coral recruits to settle and grow.
Today I was able to help Savi with the line transect at the Habitation reef which was very exciting. We measured out 50 meters on the measuring tape and checked what was underneath it every half meter. This is done to know what is present on the reef. For example if there are lots of hard or soft corals, algae, sand or coral rubble. This transect is done several times a year to monitor the changes to the reef. A positive change would be if there were more corals and a negative change would be if there were less corals than before and more algae. Today I also did a coral test which was really fun. It was to see how well I am now able to recognize the corals I have learned about while here. I am proud that I was able to recognize most of them as there were a few tricky ones.
My experience here on Cerf Island with MCSS has been amazing. I have learned so much and I have had lots fun. Next week I will be going back to SNPA but I hope to come back here again sometime and learn even more."
Thanks for volunteering with us and we look forward to having you again. Best of luck on your exams!
Meet Farah! A student from the Maritime Academy who will be working with us for two months as she learns more about the reef, its threats, how we can help and identifying the little (and big) critters under the sea. Last week was her first with us and lets see what she has to say.
"My name is Farah and I am a student from Seychelles Maritime Academy (SMA). for the past year, I have been learning about the fisheries industry and all about the fisheries act and legislation. I was on attachment at the Seychelles Fishing Authority (SFA) where I learned about different illegal fishing methods in Seychelles such as trawling and spear fishing, and also about the closed and open season for sea cucumbers. I also did a bit of fish packaging.
This year I decided to take an interest in conservation, as I am on attachment with the Marine Conservation Society Seychelles (MCSS) at Ile Aux Cerf where I believe they can help me learn more about the different marine species, to recognize them and be more aware of the protected areas. My first day at the MCSS was quite interesting with my supervisor Savi as he took me snorkeling on one of the reefs to work on coral identification. The rest of the time I’m given lectures about the reef life we are likely to encounter, safe snorkeling practices, and work on learn more corals from the coral workshops. My favorite so far is galaxea (shooting star coral) and some days we make time for recycling.
I have been doing a lot of coral identification from the presentations that I was given by Savi on the fist day I got here which has helped me to recognize the corals better. I managed to memorize the corals from workshop 1! I also learned how to measure coral fragments using Coral Point Count (CPCe) with a volunteer from the Seychelles National Parks Authority (SNPA) Jaymee. It is basically just to measure the coral growth from those on the artificial reefs as part of the Cerf Island coral restoration projects.
My first week has been very interesting and fun, I have learned so much and I’m glad I got the opportunity to be a part of their program. :)"
Welcome aboard our team and we look forward to transforming you into a fellow coral nerd.