ISLAND CONSERVATION SOCIETY-La Reserve gives island treat to Grand Anse EcoAride Club


27-April-2009

The club, which meets every Tuesday after school, has more members than ever this year, and they are all keen to learn about Aride island and its special wildlife.

La Reserve kindly offered the use of its boat at a greatly reduced rate to enable the children to come out to the island and experience the wildlife at first hand. So far they have only been able to hear about it from the warden and teachers, or see and read about it from pictures and books, but on the last day of the term they experienced it for themselves.

Members of the EcoAride Club of Grand Anse Praslin primary school during their field trip on Aride

As the breeding season has just started, the children were greeted by flocks of sooty terns circling noisily above the hill, together with many pairs of fairy terns flying in formation as they danced overhead, their white plumage perfectly lit up against the pure blue sky.

At this time of year especially, the island is alive with wildlife, and as young wildlife explorers the children were able to see young tropic birds at their feet and fairy tern chicks at eye level.

Shearwater chicks snuggled into burrows and magpie robins came and fed on cleared ground in front of the children, skinks and crabs played around their feet, geckos skulked on the trees protecting eggs, and lesser noddies croaked in unison.

The visitors also found out about the social history of the island and about the copra house, which can still be seen on the island today and dates back to the time when it was a coconut plantation. They also saw the lodge and learned how the inhabitants used wooden boats to get supplies, not like the inflatable boats of today.

They learned all about island life, with no running water and at times no electricity, about the importance of the garden and of growing food – especially for the times when the sea is too rough to launch the boat to Praslin. 

There was time for relaxing too, as the children had a chance to enjoy the sandfly-free beach and the waves for which Aride is known.

Projects this year for the children back at school will include writing articles and poems about their day on Aride, creating a model of the island showing where the different species of wildlife live, and writing an information panel on the history of the copra house. To do this, they hope to conduct interviews with people who worked on Aride at the time, so if anyone who did so is reading this and has information that could help, please give the school a call. Aride is open from Sunday to Thursday, with disembarkation on to the island at 10am, so why not come and see this special place for yourself?

by Sally Mills

The Island Conservation Society promotes the conservation and restoration of island ecosystems.

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