On my preschool concert I had to stand on stage and tell the crowd what I wanted to be when I grew up. When I said “I want to be a farmer”, the crowd laughed as this was an unusual career choice for a 5 year old from the city of Johannesburg. But for me, I could only see myself out in nature working with animals.
After I completed my matric I volunteered at Welgevonden Private Game Reserve to see if I had what it takes for a life in the bush. Needless to say, it was. So I resigned from work to study full-time when I completed my diploma in Nature Conservation. During my studies I volunteered to assist researchers and my lecturers with any available field work opportunities. That’s where I was exposed to an Environmental Education Program run on Ndumo Game reserve, where we worked closely with the surrounding schools. I assisted researchers in the field in a termite survey, as well as vegetation sampling on Tembe Elephant Park. Yet my best experience in the field came when I did my practical year on Somkhanda Community Game Reserve, where I worked alongside Wildlife ACT and assisted in a number of different conservation activities, such as monitoring sessions, Rhino dehornings, snare removals, collaring of endangered species as well as water management and fence repairs, just to name a few.
I am now grateful to be in this position as a staff member of Wildlife ACT where I can be hands-on, in the field, on a daily basis contributing to the conservation of wildlife.