Seychelles conservationist, namesake of ‘Katy’s Fern’ is remembered


The beaver was honored in 2017 when a fern was named in its honor. (Nation of Seychelles)

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(Seychelles News Agency) – The namesake Katy’s Fern, a fiery and fierce protector of Seychelles’ green environment, is remembered for her 40 years of conservation work on the islands.

Katy Beaver, who was born in the UK but made her home in the islands, died last week of illness. She is survived by her husband, well-known local environmentalist Lyndsay Chong Seng, two daughters and her siblings in the UK.

Castor was one of the founders of the Plant Conservation Action Group and as an advocate for the environment, he has participated in many types of research and studies. She was also a writer and illustrator.

Jeanne Mortimer said she and Beaver have collaborated on many projects. The latest is a series of studies on the Seychelles seagrass beds. Mortimer told SNA on Sunday that Beaver arrived in the island nation in 1982, a year after he arrived – Mortimer.

“Katy came from Keele, Staffordshire in the UK where she was born and raised. Her father was a geographer and this is where she was exposed to the environment. When she came to the Seychelles, she was studying the worms, but then turned to the study of insects Her brother is an entomologist in Thailand, ”says Mortimer.

Beaver, according to Mortimer, before coming to the archipelago of 115 islands in the western Indian Ocean, had worked in Rwanda and the Pacific islands of Samoa and Fiji.

Mortimer added that Beaver took his role as an conservationist very seriously and had even started walking rather than driving in an effort to reduce pollution and had done all she could to reduce her carbon footprint.

Naturalist Pat Matyot recalled how he met her in the 1980s and accompanied her on a group hike. “I vividly remember hearing Katy scolding another member of the group for uprooting a fern. ‘It’s a nature reserve,’ she said. ‘You’re not supposed to take anything away. either from here. ‘ Over the years, I realized that she was very disciplined about such things, ”said Matyot.

According to Matyot, what stood out about Beaver was that she had principles and supported them. “You could say that she had a ‘progressive’ outlook – she was an ardent conservationist with a strong social conscience. She not only had a passion for natural history and nature conservation, but was also concerned about doing the right things for the natural environment and society in general. You know, things like the three Rs – reduce, reuse and recycle – to reduce the amount of waste that we produce.

The illustration of the ‘fouzer Kati‘. (Seychelles Nation) Photo license: CC-BY

Matyot added that Beaver was also very protective of genetic resources. “She did not like the idea of ​​foreigners coming to Seychelles and collecting specimens of endemic plants and animals in an uncontrolled manner, in case the collected species turned out to be sources of genetic material that could be used in breeding or genetic engineering projects that would benefit others and not Seychelles. “

Charles Morel – the curator of the Seychelles National Herbarium, is another person who has worked closely with Beaver over the years. “She often came to bring with her scraps of plants that she had collected in the field, to identify them. It was the beginning of what was to be a lasting friendship,” explains Morel.

Morel added that projects he and Beaver worked on included upgrading the national herbarium, monitoring bryophytes on dying sandragons, and setting up a permanent exhibit in the Doctor’s House, the Curieuse Island – a land and sea park.

“Katy’s impact is arguably unmatched, yet it is rarely talked about. She remains a trailblazer who has helped bring national attention to environmental issues and raise awareness of Seychelles’ biodiversity at different levels. national and international. A teacher, nature lover, ecologist, mother, wife and true friend has left “, concluded Morel.

The beaver was honored in 2017 when a fern was named in its honor. “Fouzer Kati“(Katy’s fern in English) was in honor of his vast contribution to the study of plants in Seychelles, the popularization of scientific research and the development of educational materials for children and young researchers.

She told reporters at the time: “It is a great honor to have a Latin name given to a plant after yourself. What I like is that it is a very small fern, almost microscopic. It suits my nature very well, “said Castor, who was small herself.


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