Volunteers at the College are spread across various departments and disciplines with some volunteers getting the opportunity to work across different disciplines.
“We have elastic walls in our department as we frequently welcome volunteers for varying lengths of time. Apart from Faneul Nleya our international volunteer, we were recently we were joined by two Environmental Monitors, Ronald Mathebula and Zakhe Masuku,” says Anelle Rautenbach who head up the Academic Support and Quality Assurance Department.
Fanuel Nleya is our international volunteer who is everywhere at once and never turns down a challenge. Fanuel lectures and tutors students “and we’re convinced he never sleeps because he is a dedicated post-graduate student himself, having completed a Post Graduate Diploma in Environmental Management in 2018 and currently working on an MPhil Environmental Management” said Anelle.
Ronald Mathebula is an Environmental Monitor at the College’s Resource Centre where he helps with the distribution and circulation of students’ learning material from the library. A resident of Welverdiend village adjacent to the SAWC, Ronald was selected as part of a programme with Kruger to Canyons (K2C) to create opportunities for members of the local community to gain experience in the environmental field.
Zakhe Masuku joined the College as an Environmental Monitor from Welverdiend. He is now continuing his journey as an apprentice field guide, gaining valuable knowledge and training in the conservation sector.
The department of Academic Policy and Sector Advancement (APSA) has been helping Zakhe get into the rhythm of work at the College whilst he continues to train as an apprentice field guide through our FGASA-endorsed programme . Moving towards the hotter months in the Lowveld, Zakhe is also going to start bird monitoring in earnest, capturing valuable distribution data from the area. He has also taken to visiting biodiversity hotspots in the region, from Mariepskop to the Central Kruger, expanding his knowledge and exposure to the region’s biodiversity.
Eric Norton & Peter Hamming
Eric Norton, who together with Peter Hamming are volunteers in the Applied Learning Unit, encapsulated some though around his experiences at the College during the College’s Founder’s Day celebrations.
What Is Conservation
So I came to the College
With only a little knowledge
Wondering “What would I find?”
Wild dogs, elephants and far too much heat
All of these came to mind.
But in the end, it turns out, I was rather blind
Since what I found was “ponds”, terrapins and mosquitoes, if you don’t mind
However, maybe that’s just the thing
That it’s not supposed to be glamorous, and full of bling?
Would I have learned more, if I found what I sought?
I might have missed the true lesson, I thought.
I have now learned conservation is not what you think
My prejudice, and misconceptions, were then gone in a blink
It is something deeper than just “living in the bush”
It is the challenge to change, and find boundaries to push.
So, if I want to save species, must I dart a rhino every day?
Or perhaps there is another way
I could turn off a tap or switch off a light
There are many more things to do, some are just out of sight
I may not get prizes, or receive lots of praise
But then again, I was never doing it for the accolades.
But maybe, just maybe, I could do so much more
Maybe there is more of an adventure in store
Because the thing that I have found, this I now know
I think what every small thing you can do, do it! Even if the change is slow.
So what is conservation, if it’s not what I thought?
If it’s not just the fancy stories, in the game ranger novel I bought?
It can be just using less resources, and protecting more
But that’s just the beginning, there is a lot more in store.
It could be installing a solar panel, or fixing a pump
It’s really not a big logic jump.
I don’t have all the answers, but now the quest has begun
To find small ways to make a difference, this could be even more fun.
So I hope you are thinking “what small things could I do?”
Maybe I could join in this “conservation” thing too”.