Gaea Seychelles is engaged in the following programmes:
Research Programme to collect baseline data, conduct biodiversity/environmental inventories, monitoring, ecological and environmental studies; and to develop and implement sustainable environmental community-based projects.
Capacity Building and Training Programme to build and increase the capacity of local actors in environmental conservation and management (biodiversity conservation, island restoration, invasive alien species management, resource management and other related fields) and promote avenues for application of acquired skills and knowledge. This will include both local and international training opportunities. The programme will also entail the production of relevant scientific, technical or popular publications and other training resources to guide and enrich practitioner’s experience.
The time is right to connect learning to communities in authentic and meaningful ways. This is a programme done in partnership with other organisations to ensure that communities are connected to nature, understand the role of science in environmental conservation through hands-on learning, experiential education and exposure to inspire people to become life-long stewards of the environment, promote changes in behaviour and take action to execute solutions for their environmental issues. The programme targets youths, adults, including disadvantaged and vulnerable groups, and people who poses risks to our environment e.g. poachers.
Gaea’s model for experiential learning fosters hands-on/minds-on learning in the outdoors through project-based, enquiry-based and place-based learning models and uses communities as learning environments. Through projects (project-based learning), participants actively explore real-world environmental problems and challenges and acquire a deeper knowledge. In addition, Enquiry-based learning encourages participants to understand environmental issues by posing questions, formulating hypothesis, analysing options though critical thinking and analysis, collecting data and making solutions for the desired outcomes. Furthermore, place-based learning uses the power/spirit of a place (its nature, landscape, geography, culture, heritage, history) to deeply experience the environment around us, and what’s happening in a real and meaningful way – there is much to learn from the places we inhabit.
These high impact deeper learning models promote engagement within communities and with their environment, create a greater appreciation for their local environment they experience and reconnect communities to nature and their place of identity.
The programme involves the development of programmes and resources/materials as well as the provision of technical support to education institutions. The target is two-fold: i) Youth-based Conservation Education and ii) Adult Conservation Education.
Youth-based Environmental Education
To support and contribute to local education efforts, offering practical sessions, field trips and outdoor schools (field education), guest speakers, artistic and creative initiatives (environmental art to integrate one’s feelings about their environment: photography, painting, musical show and poetry targeting popular artists to pass key messages) and other non-formal education opportunities. Involved around the concept of Nature Experiential Study with hands-on learning by doing experiences to make education relevant to living experiences. Will include incorporation of science-based projects within schools or local communities e.g. small-scale Aquaponic project on how to grow your own food.
Adult Environmental Education
Based on citizen-science initiatives and project-based education initiatives that engage learners in community projects and problem solving. Provides an opportunity for local actors to explore environmentally related community issues, develop plans for actions, build skills (via the Training programme component) to enable implementation of the desired actions.
Adoption of sites for actions e.g. adopt a wetland for community-based wetland rehabilitation where local actors in conjunction with other organisations and the private sectors e.g. hotels and local business will develop an action plan and implement actions to manage and conserve their wetland.
The programme also includes nature-based activities like nature walks, guided visits, lectures, public speaking and peaceful debate on emerging or burning issues.
Environmental promotional activities
In addition, other means will be used for the programme: the Association’s website, social media page, newsletters, media programmes (‘Nature Connect’ which will be a Gaea sponsored radio/TV programme to empower listeners on ways to ‘nature-style your life’) etc. The programme shall adopt a journalism and production style which is exciting, engaging, dynamic, innovative, catchy, creative from a graphical and musical perspective, and an eye and angle to capture images in an interesting manner.
Networking programme including Twinning and Exchange programmes (local and international co-operation) to share and develop exchanges of experiences, expertise and knowledge with other related organisations. This will include liaisons with Universities, local and international NGOs and private sectors.
Scientific and technical support programme promoting good practices in the workplace to help people to be more mindful about resources and their conservation. This will be done by providing a service to interested organisations to develop sustainability plans within the organisations (CBOs, NGOs, Government departments, and other institutions, businesses, etc…