“When I saw the advert for the competition, I thought I must participate in it,” says Nathachia Pierre, the second prize winner of Nature Seychelles’ recent Nurtured by Nature photo competition. Nature Seychelles Green Health face book page facebook.com/natureseychellesgreenhealth) was launched in May this year, and in celebration, competition entrants were asked to send in photos illustrating nature’s health.
The pictures needed to have been taken somewhere in Seychelles and showing contestants, their friends or family getting healthy with the help of nature. Nathachia sent in a photo of her next to a giant pumpkin she has grown in her organic garden, just ten meters from her house in Cascade. She won a copy of the “Healthy child, Healthy world” book and a complimentary yoga class at the Sanctuary at Roche Caiman.
Nathachia is a first year student at the University of Seychelles studying environmental science. “In my third year I hope to specialize in tropical biodiversity conservation” she explains. “I am just completely in love with nature.” she says beaming with joy.
Nathachia’s love for nature and organic farming is inherited from her father who had an organic garden when Nathachia was growing up. “I am the youngest in my family and always tagged along whenever my father went to the garden.”
Nathachia learnt how to nurture and be nurtured by nature from an early age. “My father taught me how to mix the soil and which vegetables are best grown in which season.” Her father planted sweet potatoes, cassava, chili and other vegetables that he used to supplement the family’s food, just as Nathachia now does.
Although her three older brothers are not interested in farming, they are always available to water her vegetables whenever she is away, or help with heavier tasks. “If for example I need to dig a big hole, they will always help.” she says laughing. Her brothers have also helped her create the structure she uses to harvest rain water used in her garden.
During a short work stint on Praslin a couple of years ago, Nathachia lived near a farm that used chemical insecticides and fertilizers, and from which she bought her vegetables. “I approached the farmer and asked him what the foul smell was.” She started growing her own vegetables soon after, wary of the effects of the chemicals on her health.
Nathachia’s organic garden and winning photo of her pumpkin is a wonderful representation of the goal of the competition.
“We wanted people to get involved in our Grow and Eat Your Own Food Seychelles book but also try to encourage people to live in an environmentally friendly way in Seychelles.” Dr. Nirmal Shah, Chief Executive of Nature Seychelles said during the prize giving at the Sanctuary last week.
The first prize winner was Nisha Senthil’s photo ‘Healthy Baby is Happy Baby’ in which a toddler is eating a fruit by the beach. She won a copy of the “Healthy child, Healthy world” book, a complimentary yoga class at the Sanctuary at Roche Caiman for her and a friend plus a recycled glass gift item from Jivan Imports.
The third prize winner was a photo of members of the International School Seychelles Summer Holiday Club gardening. “We have a big crowd back in school waiting to see the prizes and celebrate,” said Florence Digollo one of their teachers who came with five of the children to collect their copy of the “Healthy Child, Healthy World” as well as posters of Seychelles plants and animals for the club.