Led by the Research Institute for Development (IRD), the PAREO project (Patrimoine Récifal de l’Océan Indien entre nos mains) meaning “the Reef Heritage of the Indian Ocean in our hands” is an innovative education program which caters to the awareness on the protection of coral reefs in the Indian Ocean. It covers the transmission of scientific knowledge, the discovery of the marine environment through new technologies and the awareness of concrete conservation actions.
Three islands in the region are participating in this program: Réunion, Mauritius and the Seychelles.
The first phase of the project
Launched in Mauritius on the 21st and 22nd of August, the first phase of the project, which consists of training sessions by the Reef Conservation provided to teachers, took place for two full days at the Reef Conservation centre in Péreybère. Running until March 2021, this program is offered to a total of three schools: École du Nord in Mapou, SSR school in Cap Malheureux and Étoile de Mer school in Roches Noires.
A better understanding of biodiversity
Sameer Kaudeer, Head of Education and Training at Reef Conservation, directed the first day of the training. He also presented the MARECO case: a tool created by a team of IRD scientists, used to transmit scientific knowledge about coral reefs to children aged 6 to 12, in a fun and educational way.
The training provided a better understanding of these complex ecosystems. Various themes, such as biodiversity, food chain and even the use of reefs by humans, were addressed. Moreover, the supervisors were asked many interesting questions: how are the reefs built; which species do they shelter; what is the link between reefs and humans; what are the associated ecosystems; what about fishing and related trades? A rich and insightful program, to the delight of those caring for our environment.
Excursion and exploration
For the second day of training, the teachers boarded a minibus for a field trip in the north of the island. A first stop was made at the public beach of Melville in Grand Gaube. There, they closely observed the rocky areas, as well as their living organisms (bambaras, jellyfish, multicoloured squills, herons and korbizos)
This was followed by an introduction to different scientific techniques of data collection, including the technique of the transect, which they used to index the waste on the beach. The visit continued with the observation of the swamps around Anse-La-Raie in order to better understand the importance of this ecosystem and its interaction with the reef environment. They could even see a mallard duck there! Around the same site, participants were able to contemplate the mangroves introduced by the NGO, while learning more about how it works, how it feeds and spreads…
More to come!
While the PAREO program will end in March 2021, the next phase of the project, which will take place between September and October 2020, will be held in the classrooms with the MARECO case alongside the teachers. The Bis Lamer will also be there.
An inspiring initiative for children to get involved in the protection of our reefs!