Students find wealth of facts under D’Arros sea surface


Student Stephane Benstrong checking out a resting hawksbill turtle (Photo by Michael Skoll)

Eight students per week flew to the island to take part in the Academy by the Sea Level 2: D’Arros Expedition.

The Academy by the Sea is a marine education programme for secondary school students in Seychelles. It is a Marine Conservation Society Seychelles (MCSS) project and is fully funded by the SOSF.

During the two weeks they learned more about marine and coastal habitats and the animals that live in them. They learned different techniques to monitor animals and habitats; conducting coral, fish and bird surveys. The students were also lucky to hear presentations by scientists working on D’Arros and learnt about research being done on sharks, turtles and manta rays. They encountered many of these amazing animals while out snorkelling. All of them had their first in-water experience with manta rays which they described as ‘beautiful and graceful’, and the snorkelling encounter with around 20 sharks was the highlight of the trip for many.

The students were joined by MCSS education officer Abi March, SOSF project leader Abbie Hine, English River secondary school teacher Andy Alvis and Bel Ombre primary school teacher Hugue Albert.
On behalf of her organisation and the students Abi March of the MCSS said “a huge thank you to Save Our Seas Foundation for hosting us on the beautiful island and thank you to all the staff involved.”

She also thanked the students – Joshua Sofola, Jaymee Clarisse, Calvin Horner, Anthea Laurence, Sophie Berlouis, Benny Boodna, Stephane Benstrong, Randy Aimable, Anna Yang, Farima Figaro, Shafira Charlette, Brian Souyana, Annie Vidot, Oneal Tamboo, Dania Adrienne and Irma Dubois – “who made the most of this once in a lifetime opportunity”.

Since joining the Academy by the Sea programme last August, the students’ knowledge, enthusiasm and dedication to conservation has grown. Thanks to Save Our Seas Foundation and the Marine Conservation Society Seychelles, there are now 16 more passionate ambassadors for marine conservation in Seychelles said Ms March.

Students on the boat in the lagoon at St Joseph Atoll (Photo by Michael Skoll)

An exhibition due to open on July 6 will be held at the National Library at 10am. This will be an opportunity for students to share their experiences and knowledge and for the public to see the beauty of D’Arros through a collection of photos, videos and artwork.

“Here, we will also launch the competition for scholarships funded by SOSF for the next Academy by the Sea programme which will start in August. We hope to see you there!” she said.