A programme to encourage children to understand the need for marine conservation through snorkelling organised by the Seychelles National Parks Authority started earlier this week.
'Learn how to snorkel' is taking place at the Beau Vallon beach, in the north of Mahe, the main island.
"As the authority, we manage and protect marine and terrestrial parks. We talk about the conservation of marine life, the conservation of our fauna and flora. When we say we want to protect our reef, what are we protecting? It is therefore important to see what we are protecting," said Isabelle Ravinia, a research officer from the authority.
Ravinia said the programme is being held during the school holidays and is targeting kids aged 10 to 15.
"We also wanted to sensitise children on protection and conservation of our environment at a young age. What better way to do it than through fun activities such as snorkelling?" Ravinia said.
Snorkelling is the practice of swimming with a diving mask, a shaped breathing tube called a snorkel, and flippers to observe underwater life in a natural setting. It's an activity that does not require the complicated equipment and training that scuba diving does.
Seychelles, an archipelago in the western Indian Ocean, has a rich marine life and snorkelling is one of the ways to feast your eyes on the colourful underwater world of the island nation.
Students from the Maritime Training Academy are assisting the authority with the snorkelling session which is held one hour per day.
Ravinia said the programme will be held every school holiday as a way of providing children meaningful and engaging activities during their vacation.
"In December we will have these sessions at Port Launay (west of Mahe) to give students from the south and west, the chance to learn to snorkel," said Ravinia.
She added that the authority hopes that this activity will be the start of a relationship with these young people and will encourage them to participate in other activities.
The authority already has different programmes with young people such as beach cleanings, the research officer said. There are other activities which coincide with environmental theme days or events organised by different partners.
"Explorer for a day" is another activity where children can learn about mangroves and get to discover their rich and unique habitat. In future, this activity will also be done with nature trails, where young people discover the islands rich and diverse environment through a walk in nature.
The Seychelles National Parks Authority manages the terrestrial and marine national parks of the island nation. These protected areas offer a diversity of fauna and flora which is enjoyed by thousands of visitors each year, with each park having its particular interesting features.