Island Biodiversity Surveying Citizen Science Project in Seychelles
Learn techniques for surveying tropical flora, fauna, and habitats while contributing to the sustainable management of Curieuse island.
Get Up to $1,900 off
/ 1 week
Get Up to $1,900 off
Island Biodiversity Surveying Citizen Science Project in Seychelles
Learn techniques for surveying tropical flora, fauna, and habitats while contributing to the sustainable management of Curieuse island.
Program Code: SCMH0890E
Volunteer in Curieuse
Experience the beautiful Indian Ocean paradise of the Seychelles islands. We operate two bases in the inner granitic islands, both within National Marine Parks next to stunning palm-fringed beaches and forested areas. Our Cap Ternay marine expedition base is located on the NE coast of Mahe adjacent to the spectacular Baie Ternay Marine Park. Curieuse Island and its surrounding waters are rich in wildlife, the setting for terrestrial and construction programs. The paradise of the Seychelles is the ideal location to volunteer, gain new skills on our internships or enjoy a short volunteer holiday in a well-preserved and tranquil tropical archipelago.
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Learn scientific techniques for conducting biodiversity surveys of Curieuse Island and its unique and threatened inhabitants Hawksbill sea turtles, giant Aldabra tortoises, and the Sicklefin lemon sharks, while contributing to data collection used by the Seychelles National Parks Authority to sustainably manage the island.
United Nations Sustainable Development Goals
Contribute specifically to these United Nations Sustainable Development Goals
The GVI team living on the nationally protected Curieuse island assists the Seychelles National Park Authority with gathering information that helps the organisation sustainably manage the island. By joining this program you will participate in this ongoing citizen science project while learning biodiversity surveying techniques taught by experienced conservationists.
Volunteers on this program will be provided with an introductory presentation detailing why these biodiversity surveys are important for the conservation of the island. You will also be provided with a guide on the scientific methods used to survey each species, allowing you to fully engage with this important project. In the process, you will get the chance to observe and preserve the island’s endemic, iconic flora and fauna including Hawksbill turtles, the Aldabra giant tortoise, Sicklefin lemon sharks, and the mangroves.
Contribute to United Nations Sustainable Development Goals #14 Life Below Water and #15 Life on Land.
Earn experience in conservation while learning about tropical island life from experienced and enthusiastic GVI conservation staff.
Live a sustainable lifestyle with other like-minded participants on Curieuse island’s famously beautiful Anse St. Jose beach.
Visit the Vallee de Mai Nature Reserve Park, a UNESCO Heritage Site, on Praslin Island.
Cancel anytime and receive a full refund minus your deposit.
Life On Base
Curieuse Island and its surrounding waters are a national park, managed by our local partner, the Seychelles National Parks Authority. Our beach-front camp is located on the white sand beach of Anse St Jose and overlooks Praslin (Seychelles’ second largest island), a short boat ride away.
Diving equipment area and room
Meals while on project
Ping Pong table
Accommodation is in shared dorm rooms. There is cold running water available for showers and tap water is safe for drinking. Bathroom facilities are shared, and participants also share base duties, including cleaning and other chores, which is all part of the GVI experience.
You will have access to long-distance communications whilst on the program, but make sure friends and family know how often they can expect to hear from you. Local SIM cards and pay-as-you-go credit can be bought in Seychelles and the signal is good in most areas.
Volunteers take it in turns to prepare meals for the group. Food is basic but nutritious, and primarily vegetarian with optional fish or meat available once or twice a week. Breakfast could be porridge with fresh fruit, or occasionally pancakes or cereal, and lunch and evening meals may include pasta, beans, rice, fresh fruit, fresh vegetables, etc.
Most of the year the climate in Seychelles is relatively agreeable for the tropics, although it can be very hot in the sun out on fieldwork. There are essentially two main seasons. The Southeast Monsoon season from around May to August is cooler with a steady breeze and little rain. The Northwest Monsoon between the end of November and March is typically windy with sometimes heavy rain, especially in December and January. Between the monsoon seasons around April and October, the weather is usually very calm, hot and dry, perfect for those boat trips and swimming in the calm water. It is rarely cold, although during the monsoon seasons it’s probably worth bringing a light jacket or cardigan for occasional use.
Our base also has research season where specific species are more prevalent such as October to March sharks and turtles are monitored and April to September giant tortoises are the focus. Beach profiling and clean-ups are also conducted year-round.
Enhanced cleaning and social-distancing measures in place. Learn more.
Health and Hygiene
For over 20 years, GVI has prioritised the health and safety of our staff, participants, partners and local community members. In response to the global COVID-19 pandemic, GVI has created the GVI health and hygiene team to put in place new standards of cleanliness, norms and behaviours that meet or exceed international recommendations to ensure the ongoing safety of GVI’s participants, staff and communities around the world. Internationally recommended practices, such as advice from the World Health Organization (WHO), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the governments Australia, UK and US, continue to be monitored and the standards are likely to change if and when international advice changes.
The work GVI is contributing to across the globe remains important and the following measures allow our participants to continue to join GVI’s programs and continue impacting positively on their world and the communities we work with. The following changes to our existing protocols have been made by the GVI health and hygiene team to strengthen our health and hygiene protocols and ensure that international standard safeguards are in place to protect our participants, staff and host communities.
If you’d like to find out what the experience of joining a GVI project is really like, simply contact us and we’ll put you in touch with one of our many Alumni.
We’ll try to match you to an Alum based on your location, nationality, age, stage of academic career, gender, and program interests. This allows you to gain insights into the experience that is most relevant to you.
Depending on your location you might be able to speak to an Alum over the phone or online, or meet up with them face-to-face at a coffee shop nearby. We also run a series of small events around the world where you can speak to GVI Alumni, Ambassadors and staff members.
Follow GVI Volunteer-In-Curieuse's Facebook page for live updates straight from the field. Get an idea of the types of projects you might be involved in, meet our staff and participants, experience life on this GVI base, hear about free time activities, and learn about the local culture and environment.
When it comes to support, we ensure that each participant is provided with unparalleled, 360 degree support, from your initial contact with the GVI Family, all the way through your program, and even after, as you become part of the GVI Alumni Team.
As part of this promise, we will ensure, whenever possible, that one of our dedicated staff will be available to meet you at the airport. In most locations, we also set up a Whatsapp group to help with managing airport arrivals. We will arrange with you prior to your departure that, should you arrive in the agreed upon pick up window, a member of our staff will be there to welcome you, easily identifiable in a GVI t-shirt or holding a GVI sign and wearing a friendly smile. This means there will be someone there to greet you as you land, and from there you will be transported to your GVI base to start your adventure and meet the rest of your team.
Please note that the above images were taken pre COVID-19. All airport pick-ups and program operations now run with enhanced cleaning and social-distancing measures in place. Learn more.
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Meet the team - Senior Field Management
This is Jasmine, our wonderful Program Manager at the GVI base on Cureiuse Island, Seychelles. Jasmine grew up with a keen interest in conservation which lead her to focus her studies on geography and climate change.
She has since worked all over the world on volunteer projects and has hit the ground running on our Seychelles conservation program.
All of our programs have short, mid and long-term objectives that fit with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals or UN SDGs. This enables us to report on our collaborative impact across the world in a streamlined manner, measuring which UN SDGs we are making a substantial contribution to. Furthermore, this will help our local partners and communities measure and visualise their contribution to the UN SDGs.
Prior to your arrival on base, you will be educated about the history of the UN SDGs. Then, once on base you’ll learn about the specific goals of your location, the long-, mid- and short-term objectives, and also clarification of how your personal, shorter-term involvement contributes to these goals on a global level.
Our aim is to educate you on local and global issues, so that you continue to act as active global citizens after your program, helping to fulfil our mission of building a global network of people united by their passion to make a difference.
GVI’s primary partner on this programme is the Seychelles National Parks Authority. Data collected from your efforts is passed to the Seychelles Ministry of Environment and participating NGOs to be used in creating local conservation policies and is shared worldwide with other conservation teams and efforts. To do this we work on various environmental conservation initiatives, such as safeguarding sea turtles, surveying Coco de Mer nut production, mangrove mapping, Giant Tortoise population censuses, and sicklefin lemon shark monitoring.
This is to offer support to our local partners, assist in the conservation of these islands flora and fauna, and to address many of the UN Sustainable
Development Goals, such as #14 – Life Below Water, #15 – Life On Land, #4 – Quality Education and #17- Partnerships For Goals
Our Partners In Curieuse
GVI Curieuse Long-term Objectives:
1. Increase scientific knowledge and baseline data on the health of ecosystems on Curieuse Island,
2. Increase awareness of GVI Seychelles projects and the ecological value of the Curieuse Island National Parks in-country,
3. Build local capacity to support long-term conservation of biodiversity and sustainable community development in Seychelles,
4. Continue to minimize our environmental impact on Curieuse Island and raise awareness of environmental issues amongst volunteers and visitors.
The best decisions in international development and conservation cannot be made without accurate and up-to-date data or informed research. Our many field teams around the world collaborate with local and international partners to analyse data and draw conclusions. In addition, many of our participants have used research they have collected on their various GVI projects to complete their Masters, Doctorate, or postdoctoral studies. We also run a fellowship program which connects postdoctoral researchers at globally-respected universities with our many sustainable development programs around the world to support their research and ensure continuous improvement of our best practices on base.
Population structure of the sicklefin lemon shark Negaprion acutidens within the Curieuse Marine National Park, Seychelles
African Journal of Marine Science
RD Hodgkiss, A Grant, JHR McClelland, R Quatre, B Rademakers, C Sanchez & C Mason-Parker
Spatial distribution of Aldabra Giant Tortoises in relation to habitat preference, human infrastructure, behaviour and environmental factors on Curieuse Island, Seychelles
Dissertation for Zoology B.Sc. (Hons) Extended at Anglia Ruskin University.
Below is a list of core ethics and best practices we believe are essential to the operation of high quality, ethical volunteer and sustainable development programs. We believe that all responsible volunteer and sustainable development operations should focus upon these principles. If you are considering volunteering, these are some of the key considerations you should question, to ensure that your time and money contributes towards positive change.
We want to constantly develop our own understanding of ethical best practice. In so doing, we aim to provide an exemplary industry standard for other education institutions, international development organisations, and social enterprises. Our Badge of Ethics stands for the drive to always do good, better. Find out more, click on the Badge below.
Our 10 Ethical Commitments
Locally Driven, Collaborative Projects
We aim to design all our projects in collaboration with local organizations and communities and ensure that they are locally driven.
Clear Objectives & Sustainable Outcomes
We aim to clearly define short-, mid-, and long-term objectives with sustainable outcomes for all our projects.
We aim to track, record, and publish the impact of each of our projects.
Working Against Dependency
We aim to build in-country capacity by assisting local organizations in becoming self-sustaining.
Responsible Exit Strategies
For each local organization we work with, we aim to have a plan in place for withdrawing support responsibly.
Clear Roles & Specialized Training
We aim to ensure that ever participant is assigned a clear role and that they are fully trained and supported to carry out their work by specialized staff.
Respect for all
In all our actions we aim to respect the skills and efforts of all and seek to protect the rights, culture and dignity of everyone who engages with GVI.
We work to ensure that credit for the results of any project, along with any data collected, research conducted, or Intellectual Property developed, remains the property of local organizations.
Transitioning from the Orphanage Model
We do not condone and aim to withdraw support of orphanages and residential care centers.
Child and Vulnerable adult policies
We will live by our Child Protection and Vulnerable Adult policies.
As an organization, GVI is committed to striving toward best practice, and to educating both our potential participants, our partners, and the world at large about them. Both the volunteering and sustainable development sectors are increasingly, and rightly, under scrutiny. Many recent local and global articles highlight poor practices and questionable ethics. GVI is widely recognized for striving to apply global best practice in the volunteering, education and sustainable development sectors throughout our operations by reputable organizations such as ChildSafe.
However, global best practice is always evolving and we dedicate both time and resources to engage with internationally respected experts and learn from the latest research to ensure our programs both fulfil their potential to create maximum positive impact, and minimise their potential to create unintentional negative impact. Along with and as part of the sustainable development and volunteering community, we are constantly learning and applying this learning to practice. We do not always get everything right, but we seek feedback from our community members, partners, participants and our staff, and react accordingly. We know are already doing a great job, and feedback we have received confirms this, but we aim to do even better and are continuously refining our operations to improve upon our already excellent reputation.
NO ENTERTAINMENT-BASED ACTIVITIES
We don’t support the use of wild animals for entertainment purposes. This includes riding animals, having them perform tricks, feeding or bathing them or getting close to them to take photos
NO ORPHANED ANIMAL SANCTUARIES
We don’t encourage, support or allow the rearing of “orphaned” wild baby animals kept at a “sanctuary”. The conservation value of these types of programs is negligent and would only ethically be used in extremely rare cases
GUIDELINES FOR TOUCHING OR MOVEMENT RESTRICTION
When wild animals are restricted for conservation purposes we follow the guidelines of Fair Trade in Tourism South Africa (FTTSA), approved by the Global Sustainable Tourism Council.
ANIMAL WELFARE GUIDELINES
We ensure that the Five Freedoms of Animal Welfare are followed. These include the freedom to express normal behaviour and freedom from distress, discomfort, hunger, thirst, fear, pain, injury or disease.
LOCAL COMMUNITY EMPOWERMENT
We ensure that conservation efforts are also always locally led, that community needs are front-and centre of any conservation effort and that our participants, projects and partners work to increase local community engagement in local conservation efforts.
A GVI program is an investment in your career. No matter which you choose, you will be working toward improving your employability by mastering new social skills, gaining further technical expertise and earning qualifications in many cases. Most of our staff are, in fact, GVI Alumni, and we have helped many of our Alumni discover, move toward, and earn their own personal dream jobs. Each program includes introductory workshops, ongoing presentations, as well as on-the-ground professional support provided by our very own trained staff members. In addition, our training programs are critical for helping us to ensure the long-term impact of our sustainable development projects around the world.
For All GVI Participants
Orientation: Your Health, Safety and Wellbeing
Learn about COVID-19 pre-departure guidelines, base expectations, personal and area hygiene practices and what we are doing to keep you safe.
Orientation: Travelling Responsibly and Ethically
Learn about the importance of child and vulnerable adult protection best practices and how to apply them while on project.
Orientation: UN Sustainable Development Goals
Introduction to the history and evolution of sustainable development, the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs) and how these related to your project work.
Orientation: Further Opportunities for Impact
Learn about our country locations and further opportunities available to you during or after your program.
For All Participants at Curieuse
Community: Human Empowerment
Learn about our empowerment principles.
Conservation: Survey Techniques and Logistics
An introduction to different survey techniques and best practice guidelines for surveys; introduction to different types of data and how to record information via a datasheet.
Conservation: Biodiversity & Target Species Identification
Learn about biodiversity and how biodiversity is measured, and classifying different species and how to identify species that indicate the health of the habitat.
Marine Conservation: Pollution and Plastics
Learn about issues with plastic and measures that can be taken to help reduce plastic consumption.
Marine Conservation: Coral Reefs
Learn about what a coral reef is, its importance, how it is formed, how this ecosystem works.
Invasive Species Eradication
Learn about how species like cinnamon, cocoplum, and rats cause damage to island flora and fauna and what is being done to remove these species.
Boat and snorkelling orientation
Detailed lessons on the boat procedures, including knot tying, entry and exit procedures, emergency plans.
Participants receive presentations detailing each of our projects. These presentations include background information, Curieuse-specific information, methodologies, the importance of data collection, future plans, etc.
A presentation highlighting the issue with plastic and measures that can be taken to help reduce plastic consumption.
Sea Turtle Beach Surveys
To study nesting success in Hawksbill and Green turtles, collect data such as tag numbers, carapace (shell) measurements and the number of eggs laid or carry out nest excavations to measure hatching success.
Mangrove Mapping (seasonal)
Investigating seedling recruitment and mortality, and further determining species distribution across the mangrove forests. Please note that this is a seasonal activity, so participation depends on the time of year and need for this data.
Tortoise Population Census
Assist in our annual census of the island’s Aldabra Giant tortoise population and keep tabs on the growth rates of hatchlings and juvenile tortoises in the nursery
Sicklefin Lemon Shark Monitoring
Help us track down sicklefin lemon shark pups for our catch-and-release project, gathering population and growth rate information on this understudied species.
Record the rate of coastal erosion with our beach profiling surveys.
Baited Remote Underwater Video Surveys (seasonal)
Participants are shown how to correctly set up a Baited Remote Underwater Video Surveys (BRUVs) with rigging, bait, camera, etc. Correct handling techniques are also taught for safe deployments and retrievals of the frames, and participants may be trained in fish identification to assist with video analysis. Please note that this is a seasonal activity, so participation depends on the time of year and need for this data.
A monitoring induction by our staff on the techniques and best practice for conducting research in the field.
Domestic Duties Orientation
Training is given on the domestic duties around base, including how to cook for large groups, and a fun lesson on how to make bread.
Coconut husking lesson
Participants are shown the correct techniques and have the opportunity to practice husking a coconut to eat or use in a beverage.
If you have a passion for wildlife conservation then this course will provide you with the foundational skills and understanding needed to achieve your conservation-related goals. You’ll learn about the various methods of wildlife monitoring, as well as exploring the delicate balance involved in terrestrial ecosystem management. After successfully completing the course, which you have the option of doing prior to your in-country program, you’ll receive a certificate from the University of Richmond.
This online course, valued at $495, is included in all volunteering programs. Full course details can be found here.
Joining a program not only allows participants to collaborate with communities or work toward preserving unique ecosystems but it also offers plenty of opportunities to explore the surrounding area or travel further to see what other parts of the region have to offer.
Long term field staff are a great source of advice, and have helped us put together the following information on local travel options. Many decide to travel before or after their experience (subject to immigration restrictions), solidifying the lifetime friendships established on program. Please note that the below suggestions are not included in the program fee, and are for the individual to organise at their own expense.
La Digue Island visit
La Digue is the picture perfect tropical island, small and intimate with quaint guest houses and arguably the most beautiful beach in the world – Anse Source d’Argent.
Praslin Island visit
Praslin is home to the Vallee de Mai (a world heritage site) thought by early explorers to be the original “Garden of Eden”, that is home of the famous Coco de Mer palm tree. Praslin has a limited, cheap bus service and taxis are easily available. For further exploration, you may choose to hire a car on Praslin or make use of the inter-island ferry services between the other islands.
Lounge on the local beaches, snorkel in the coral reefs, hike the jungles and explore, or just relax on base.
Other African Nations
Kenya and Tanzania are also only about three hour flight away, and both feature amazing wildlife, exciting adventure activities, and unique cultural diversity to explore. If you are willing to commit to further travel you could also explore destinations like South Africa, Ghana, Malawi, or Morocco.
The only location in the world to spot lemurs in the wild is only a three hour flight away from the Seychelles.
Outer Island Visits
The outer coral islands like Desroche, Bird, Dennis, Farquhar, and the Amirantes group, are further away, but well worth the trip. These locations are much more remote and have been barely marked by civilisation. As such they are in a pristine condition rarely found anywhere in the world today. The opportunity to see unique marine and bird life is unprecedented.
Engaging intimately with a new context teaches not only global awareness but adaptability and critical thinking, skills highly valued in the modern marketplace. Local and cultural immersion is encouraged on all our programs around the world, and is also one of the most enjoyable aspects of your experience. Luckily, there are many activities you can get involved with in your free time, or before and after your program. On our community programs the focus is on cultural topics, while on marine or wildlife programs the emphasis is more on the environmental element. Use your evenings and weekends to explore diverse and eclectic topics like Theravada Buddhism in Laos or how plastic pollution and climate change affects Indian Ocean coral.
GVI’s island conservation program in the Seychelles is based on the island of Curieuse, which itself and its surrounding waters are a national park, managed by our principal in-country partner, Seychelles National Parks Authority. On Curieuse you can experience true island culture, as Curieuse has very few inhabitants compared to most of the other larger islands, making its natural habitat very well-preserved. This beautiful coastal area consists of unique habitats including mangroves wetlands, seagrass beds, and coral reefs.
The Seychelles is a tropical archipelago off the East Coast of Africa, consisting of 100 islands. The main, or so-called inner islands, are made of granite. Researchers believe that they use to form part of the Indian subcontinent. The granite attracted corals and most of the outer islands of the Seychelles are based on coral. The islands are famous for their unique biodiversity and are home to literally thousands of unique land and underwater species. The waters of the Indian Ocean are a haven for coral conservation efforts making the Seychelles a sought-after diving destination.
There are festivals throughout the year, the most notable being the Seychelles International Carnival of Victoria in February, which celebrates the cultures that helped shape the Seychelles. There is also the La Digue Festival in mid-August and the Creole Festival in October, and for those interested in the natural world, there is the SUBIOS Underwater Festival on Mahe’s main beach in October, celebrating underwater conservation.
Seychellois Creole is spoken by the majority of the native Seychellois, roughly 95% of the populations, but as the island country was a British colony, English is the language officially used in government and business dealings. French is also spoken on the islands, by a minority.
‘If only every student could do this. It changes your life in all the right ways,’ says Chris Heritage, parent of Luke Heritage, one of our teen volunteers who has participated on two GVI programs, one in Costa Rica and another in South Africa.
We are a parent-run organisation that is incredibly serious about health and safety, and increasing the impact, as well as the long-term career benefits of our programs. Our programs help young people develop the skills to select a career path that is personally fulfilling, and live a life aligned to the well-being of our planet and the global community.
Ken and Linda Jeffrey, whose son Sam volunteered with GVI in Thailand, talk about how the experience affected Sam. He also went on to volunteer with GVI again in South Africa. ‘I know it sounds like a cliche but in a sense, he did go away as a boy and he came back as a young man. Both of us could recommend GVI without any hesitation to any other parent thinking about exploring an opportunity for their children to explore the world and to see different parts of it.’
Parent Info Pack
Download the Parent Pack and learn more about:
Our staff: All our projects are run by staff, selected, vetted, trained, and managed by our central office. Health and safety: Our safety practices include a child and vulnerable adult protection policy and high participant ratios. Staying in touch: See what’s happening on base, by following a hub’s dedicated Facebook page. Free parent consultations: We would love to talk to you about exciting opportunities available for your child.
Support & Safety
We won’t sugarcoat it — traveling abroad is usually a complex process that carries an element of risk. But this is exactly why we’re passionate about providing extensive support throughout the process as well as the highest safety standards during the in-country phase. We believe that volunteering abroad should not only be impactful, but an enjoyable experience that carries as little risk as possible. This is exactly how we’ve been able to maintain our reputation as the most highly respected volunteering organisations in the sector over the past two decades.
Enhanced cleaning and social-distancing measures are in place throughout each GVI program. Learn more.
Once a participant books, they will be assigned a personal support coordinator who will oversee their pre-departure journey. The support coordinator helps to bridge the gap between program enrolment and arrival at one of our field bases. Your personal support coordinator will ensure that you are provided with all the necessary information required to apply for visas, background checks, and any other documentation.
Upon arrival at the airport, participants will be greeted by a GVI staff member. All GVI staff are our own and all our programs around the world are run by our staff. All GVI field staff are background checked, Emergency First Response and safety trained. The minimum staff to participant ratio on GVI’s programs is one to six, although on several bases we have a ratio of one to three. When finishing the experience, participants will provide feedback on all aspects of their program.
It takes courage to book a GVI program, get on a flight, and head off to somewhere new. Volunteering offers a level of cultural immersion that typical backpacking or holidays just can’t achieve. This is why thousands of people around the world participate in paid GVI programs.
As the saying goes: ‘Expect the best, plan for the worst’. Cliched or not, we take it to heart. This tenet is at the core of how GVI operates when it comes to promoting the health and safety of our participants, staff, and local community members at all of our 20+ bases around the world.
The weather isn’t just a topic for polite small-talk here at GVI. We have emergency action plans in place for all scenarios. So when the weather, or other natural forces, takes a nasty turn, we are prepared to respond to stormy situations.
Once GVI has matched a participant to a program that suits their passions and goals, our team aims to set the right expectations for them. In the event that false expectations around a program are created, the GVI team takes immediate action to ensure that the situation rectified.