Nature Seychelles innovative program the Conservation Boot Camp based on Cousin Island Special Reserve has attracted a diverse group of participants from around the world. The CBC, which is just over a year old, has received 41 participants from 19 countries namely Germany, United Kingdom, France, Italy, Austria, Belgium, South Africa, India, Madagascar, Seychelles, Pakistan, USA, Switzerland, Canada, Sweden, New Zealand, Colombia, Nigeria and Kenya.
Renowned conservationist and the Chief Executive of Nature Seychelles, Dr. Nirmal Shah, started the CBC to fill the Academia to Career gap he witnessed throughout his life. He created a program aimed at helping young conservationists straight out of school to bolster their careers with in the field experience. Participants in the program gain a suite of skills which have better prepared them for successful careers.
However, it has also benefited those wanting to take a break from desk jobs, and other people who want to give back to conservation.
“When I first envisaged the program I was really thinking of straight-out-of-university and early career conservationists being interested in it,” Shah says. “But the range of participants has been wide and has taken me by surprise. I’ve learnt that the pull of tropical nature is very strong and one doesn’t have to take up a career in conservation to want to participate in the CBC program.”
The CBC has mostly attracted young people who come because of its design. But it has also hosted older people who are not in conservation, who are just coming for the experience, and people with their own businesses, who want to travel around and look at where there’s been conservation successes and innovations.
“I believe that anyone would benefit their wellbeing from four weeks on Cousin Island, no matter what takes them there,” says Caitlin a former participant. “If you are lucky enough to land on those shores, you will meet wonderful, skilled and like-minded people, you will undoubtedly gain fantastic CV-boosting experience and have a lot of fun, and you will have the chance to be nose to nose with charismatic and inspiring species.”
The CBC takes place throughout the year with a maximum of only 6 to 7 persons per session.
It is funded by the Government of Seychelles-UNDP-GEF Protected Area Finance project.
You can read about the experiences of the participants in the latest copy of the CBC magazine – Stories from the Field. It is free to view at this link https://issuu.com/conservationbootcamp/docs/cbc_mag5-2018