Essay "What I have learned about plants and their study"
"My name is Nicole Labiche, I am married with a 7-year old son. I have been working with the Natural History Museum of Seychelles for 7 years as a museum assistant. Over this time I have been given on the job training, but nothing formal. Over time, I have been given the responsibility of maintaining the herbarium. And now everything has changed.
To be involved with the GEF SGP Herbarium project and with PCA, has been an exciting experience for me. I have developed a passion for plants and for exploring the forest in search of discoveries. I have been to places that I never imagined possible before and I have really enjoyed a lot of nice views on the island.
Learning the names of plants was very difficult for me at the beginning; even pronouncing the Latin names was hard. But with practice, I became more used to these names and I have got to know a lot of species. More than before, I am aware of plants that I see when I am out anywhere: by the road, in gardens, in the bus, etc. I make sure that I always have my camera with me and this is helping us to set up the virtual herbarium (photo gallery of plants). What I now really enjoy is to identify new plants that I have not seen before.
The Seychelles Natural History Museum has really welcomed this project, and as I am the member of staff involved, it has created a lot of open doors for me. I have had the opportunity to work with botanists from Sweden, France, Belgium and Japan. They each have their own method of working, so the time I spend with them is a bonus for me to expand in this field of work. The herbarium now has more material and greater capacities to properly manage the plant collections. As time goes by I have really seen how important these collections are to improve our knowledge on Seychelles biodiversity. And I believe that we are moving in the right direction."