ENVIRONMENT

Belinda Reyers

Lunch spot: Tokara, Stellenbosch; Pafuri picnic site, Kruger National Park

Dr Belinda Reyers received her PhD in zoology from the University of Pretoria in 2001 at the age of 26. She spent the next four years lecturing there and at the University of Stellenbosch, where she led the biocomplexity research group. She moved to the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) in Stellenbosch in 2004, where she heads up the biodiversity and ecosystem services research group.
Reyers is a fellow of the Zoological Society of London and of the CSIR, and sits on the South African national biodiversity institute’s scientific programmes advisory committee and the editorial board of the journal Animal Conservation. She has had more than 30 articles in scientific journals, chapters in books and conference proceedings published. In 2002, Reyers won the University of Pretoria’s exceptional young researcher award and, last year, she was awarded the department of science and technology’s award for the best emerging woman in science, as well as the CSIR’s most promising young researcher award.

Kerry Sink

Lunch spot: Tamboti Coffee Shop, Sodwana Bay; under the flatcrown tree at the NSA Gallery, Durban

Dr Kerry Sink is a marine ecologist with a passion for conservation. She is currently developing a new working group with the Endangered Wildlife Trust to implement conservation methods in marine and coastal ecosystems. She is the chairperson of the Southern African Sustainable Seafood Initiative and is involved in several other marine science and conservation projects. Sink is a research associate of Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife, where she has been working for 10 years. Her research interests range from rocky shores to offshore habitats and biodiversity. She worked for three years on the African coelacanth ecosystem programme. Aged 33, Sink has a PhD from the University of Cape Town. She believes that conservation is really about people, personal relationships with the environment, awareness and everyday actions. She is interested in involving marine and coastal resource users in monitoring and management, and encouraging children and young adults to get involved as custodians of the oceans.

Yolan Friedmann

Lunch spot: Picnic at Lethabo Estate, Lanseria

Yolan Friedmann is the first female CEO of the Endangered Wildlife Trust. She has worked for the trust since 1995 as a volunteer, veterinary assistant, programme manager and conservation coordinator. She is completing an MSc in environmental management through the University of the Witwatersrand. Friedmann began her career as a lecturer in animal health and veterinary technology at an agricultural college in former Lebowa, where she ran a community service veterinary clinic. Her career highlights include establishing the regional network of the conservation breeding specialist group for the World Conservation Union (IUCN) in Southern Africa. Friedmann is also the project manager and editor of the Red Data Book of the Mammals of South Africa (2004). She has chaired the IUCN South African national members’ committee and the regional advisory committee of the IUCN’s regional office for Southern Africa for two terms.

Melissa Fourie

Lunch spot: Not provided

Melissa Fourie is an environmental lawyer employed as the director of enforcement at the department of environmental affairs and tourism. In this capacity, she heads up the enforcement section of the industrial branch of the environmental management inspectorate, also known as the Green Scorpions. Fourie holds an LLB degree from the University of Stellenbosch, a master’s degree in environment and development from the London School of Economics and a certificate in environmental law from the University of the Witwatersrand.

Kerryn Morrison

Lunch spot: Anywhere in Dullstroom

Born in Johannesburg in 1972, Kerryn Morrison’s life revolves around birds, specifically cranes. Her vision is to have healthy wetlands for the coexistence of cranes and people in Africa. She obtained a BSc in zoology and botany before getting her honours degree at the University of Pretoria’s centre for wildlife management. Morrison joined the Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT) in 1995 while still busy with her master’s—and some of her master’s recommendations were adopted, in particular with regard to water and wetlands issues. In 2000, she took over the comanagement of the EWT’s South African crane working group. In August 2004, Morrison moved across to the EWT’s ground hornbill working group and the African wattled crane programme. Here she established a formal partnership between the International Crane Foundation and EWT and was appointed the Africa programme head.

Wanda Mkutshulwa

Lunch spot: Taste, Pretoria; my kitchen or garden

Wanda Mkutshulwa is the head of communications at South African National Parks (SANParks). She joined SANParks at the beginning of 2003 and deals with the challenges of communicating the vision and mission of South Africa’s premier conservation organisation to stakeholders and building its reputation. Mkutshulwa worked briefly in media, print and broadcasting before joining the Commission on Restitution of Land Rights in 1999. Here she headed communications in the Eastern Cape and eventually became national communications coordinator in the office of the chief land claims commissioner. Mkutshulwa completed her BA in journalism and media studies and a postgraduate diploma and honours in international relations at Rhodes University.

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