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Nokwanda Ndlovu

2023 Intern

Nokwanda Ndlovu from Durban loves to express herself through crafting and working with a wide range of colours, but it is under the green canopy of the indigenous forests of Natures Valley where she hopes to learn more about nature so she can inspire others.  
Nokwanda completed an undergraduate degree in Marine Biology at the University of KwaZulu-Natal and then continued with postgraduate studies in Education. Interning as an environmental educator with the Natures Valley Trust, she will be working with the Adopt-a-Beach Education Programme and the Birding Connect Programme.  
We posed a few questions to Nokwanda to find out more about what inspires her, what she’s passionate about and her plans for the future: 
What are you passionate about?  
I am very much passionate about developing new resource material to make environmental education more accessible. I enjoy learning from others and spreading knowledge, and this has inspired me to be a life-long learner and a good listener. I also enjoy planning events that can be both fun and educational. 
What inspired your choice of study? 
While volunteering in an environmental programme, I was inspired by the potential for education in this field. There are still many people who are ignorant about the challenges we face in conserving nature. I want to make a positive contribution towards protecting the environment. I was also inspired by television programmes in which conservation organisations presented their work. I would like to inspire other young people to become positive advocates and activists for the environment. 
What excites you about your internship? 
I will be based in Natures Valley on the Garden Route for my internship and am excited to be in a new work environment I have not experienced before. I hope to find out more about how environmental problems in that region have been tackled to conserve the ecosystem and keep it pristine. I can then work on applying those strategies to other areas. I am grateful to be joining an organisation in an official capacity that I have already volunteered with for many years.  
What are your expectations of this internship? 
I am expecting to get guidance from my mentors and grow my skills set. I am also hoping to get a chance to educate others about the role they can play in saving the planet. 
What contribution do you hope to make towards a future in which people and nature thrive? 
I would love to educate as many other people as possible about nature conservation. By developing educational resources, I can help change others’ perspective on the role we as human beings can play. I want to communicate with people in a way that is accessible and allows them to feel part of the solution to environmental challenges. Their indigenous knowledge is valuable in this regard, and I want to eradicate any misconceptions about this as the importance of incorporating local knowledge into conservation efforts cannot be overstated. 
Who inspires you most and why? 
I am inspired by Thuso Mbedu, a young woman from a small town who has achieved even more than she dreamed of. She has outdone herself in her career, seizing every opportunity with both hands. I was even more inspired when she involved herself with environmental-related programmes. This shows that she cares about future generations and works with others to achieve a healthy future for all. 

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