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!