Leaden skies and persistent rain on Mahe threatened Class 5’s trip to explore the environmental wonders of Silhouette island the third largest in Seychelles. Thankfully as the group gathered at Hilton’s jetty at Bel Ombre the view of Silhouette 12 miles to the west cleared and calm sea awaited us. On arrival the young explorers were briefed by ICS wardens Tisha and Said about the endemic flora and fauna they would be seeing on the hike through the lowland forest. As the sun eventually broke through the trek to Anse Lascars and back was hugely enjoyed and many souvenir photos were taken. Lunch at Gran Kaz was followed by a sandcastle competition, spotting of a huge sting ray and a rare pacific golden plover. The day culminated in a guided tour of the village on La Passe and a walk through La Briz Hilton hotel to see the great milk fish in the lagoon. A roller coaster voyage on Silhouette Express soon had the happy adventurers back safely at Bel Ombre. Many thanks to Hilton and I.C.S. for a fabulous day away.
A bright Wednesday morning at Bel Ombre and Class 5M excitedly boarded Hilton La Briz Hotels Silhouette Express for the 30 minute boat ride of 12 miles to the mystical island of Silhouette. Silhouette is Seychelles third largest island and home to many endemic flora and fauna. Francois and Said of the Island Conservation Society were waiting to welcome us at their office next to the beautifully restored ‘Gran Kaz’ . Following a power point display on Eco Systems and endemics we began our hike through the replanted endemic forest hosting rarities such as Bwa Siro, Kapisen, Bwa Sandal, Bwa Dir, Bwa Blanc and 5 Latannyen (Palm) species which the children learnt to name as millpat,oban, fey, lat, and palmist . On the way we saw many geckoes and birds in their natural habitats The mangrove also offered a wealth of new discoveries and the children made a number of sightings and identifications there spotting many types of crab and mudskippers.
The class continued on to Anse Lascar and its circular stone burial sites originally thought to be the eponymous Arabian graves but following dating of remains they are more likely to be pirates. We marvelled at the unspoilt environment and pristine shoreline and learnt a lot about beach habitats.
The visit continued with a historical tour of the old village on La Passe. Here we were led by Catherina of the Hilton group who enthusiastically regaled us with stories of life in Silhouette of yesteryear and allowed us access to the hotel complex to view some giant milk fish in the lagoon.
We ended our day out with games in the grounds of the ‘Grand Kaz’ and a browse round museum displays. In the ICS office we viewed the preserved pilot whale skeleton, pickled house snake and turtle hatchlings then it was time to cast off from our island paradise and endure a rather bumpy return journey.
Many thanks to Hilton La Brize Silhouette and Island Conservation Society for their stalwart efforts making this truly a day to remember.
On Friday September 28th the first trees were planted in ISS school gardens on National Tree Planting day. Trees, shrubs and plants were kindly donated by the Wildlife clubs of Seychelles coordinator Mr Terence Vel. Bwa Blanc and Bwa de rose are trees commonly found by mangrove areas and they should flourish where they were planted by members of the Secondary Eco school club. Other endemic plants were donated by the Biodiversity centre at Barbarons. Orangine and Rose de Venzeuela are rare endemic plants that we hope to protect and encourage in our gardens. Many thanks to the National Botanical Gardens Foundation for these and other plants.
ISS students have also become bitten by the gardening bug and many thanks to parents who donated plants to the school. The children in our Eco team planted and watered the plants they brought in. The Medicinal Garden is already doing very well and we have several flowering plants too. We hope that Junior Student council will keep up the good work watering all the new additions to our gardens.
We are very happy with the response to our request for plants and the children have enjoyed being part of our Eco school plans to develop the school grounds. Thank you.