Heritage Garden

From Nature Reserve to Organic Garden

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I am excited to be volunteering with Nature Seychelles for the second time and this time it is under a completely different program, the Green Health program. What’s even more exciting is that I am the first ever to have a placement as Garden Volunteer at Nature Seychelles’ Heritage Garden!

Two years ago while still pursuing my degree in tropical agronomy in Belgium, I had the opportunity to volunteer with Nature Seychelles on Cousin Island Special Reserve as part of my bachelor degree requirement to complete an internship program.

Cousin Island was the perfect place to do this because it is a great example of conservation work. I volunteered on Cousin during turtle season which meant that every day I was walking along the island’s beaches looking out for turtle activity – turtles coming up to the beach, digging nests, laying eggs, or returning to the water, and of course collecting all the required data.

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This time I am on Mahe, the main island of the Seychelles. I am putting my agronomy degree to use! I am managing Nature Seychelles’ Heritage Garden which is not just an organic garden but also a demonstration farm for people who want to learn to do their own gardening.

When I saw the opportunity for a garden volunteer advertised, I did not hesitate to apply to work with Nature Seychelles yet again. I have had an opportunity in hands-on gardening activities such as planting, weeding and harvesting. This requires a great deal of planning, for instance we have to make sure that every Thursday morning we have sufficient supply for our regular clients who collect our vegetables, herbs and spices from Jivan Imports in town.

I am yet to find permanent employment in some tropical location abroad so I am really grateful to Nature Seychelles for offering me the two month volunteer position as it is the perfect work experience after completing my agronomy degree. What better place to gain such experience than in this beautiful garden located on the grounds of The Sanctuary, an equally beautiful urban wetland.

Terry Berckmans

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