WIND ENERGY EMPOWERS YOUNG CONSERVATIONISTS
Two young conservationists have found exciting career paths thanks to the internship programme of the Greater Kromme Stewardship (GKS) initiative, demonstrating its success in helping to develop young talent in this important field.
“In its second year of operation the GKS resolved to hire an experiential trainee and selected Nelisa Mpama from a large number of applicants. Both Nelisa and Anele Kumao, who joined GKS as a later intern, demonstrated their passion and effectiveness, which has resulted in exciting career opportunities in the field of conservation,” says Wentzel Coetzer, who is in charge of facilitating the conservation efforts of the Stewardship, as well as training the interns.
The GKS, an initiative of four wind farms and an environmentalist NGO in the extended Garden Route area of the Eastern Cape, aims to conserve and protect important areas of threatened natural biodiversity in their area. With an impressive nineteen sites on their list of potential protected areas, interns are provided with exceptional learning opportunities.
Nelisa joined the GKS in 2017 as the first intern, where she excelled in her role and was later recruited by one of the largest manufacturers of UHT milk in South Africa. Nelisa’s role at Woodlands Dairy was in the Sustainability Unit, managing energy and water efficiency and working on sustainable material procurement. She recently moved on to the facilities management department at Stellenbosch University, as an Environmental Sustainability Speciality.
Anele Kumalo, the second intern recruited by GKS, took over Nelisa’s responsibilities. After only two years with the GKS, Anele secured a job at SANParks. He is currently working at the new North Eastern Cape Grasslands National Park, which is being established in the Eastern Cape grasslands, close to the Lesotho border. As part of his role, Anele is facilitating the biodiversity stewardship process with landowners in order to expand the area of the park.
The Greater Kromme Stewardship initiative, in partnership with Jeffreys Bay Wind Farm, Gibson Bay Wind Farm, Tsitsikamma Community Wind Farm and Oyster Bay Wind Farm, along with an environmentalist NGO, the Kromme Enviro-Trust, is now in its eighth year and it has an enviable track record of not only protecting precious biodiversity but of building human capacity. The contribution of the wind farm members to South Africa’s power supply is complemented by their contribution to conservation and to providing growth opportunities for young people.