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Godfrey Padare

2023 Intern

Godfrey Padare knows that still waters run deep, and that as you dive down, the universe’s cryptic clues will slowly reveal themselves. He loves the nuance of information and how it all ties together when you start analysing it.

Godfrey also knows all about adapting to new surroundings: he was born in Matabeleland in Zimbabwe, grew up in Mpumalanga province in South Africa, studied a Master’s in Zoology at the University of Fort Hare in the Eastern Cape, and now finds himself living among the rich ecosystems of the Garden Route in the Western Cape.
Interning with South African National Parks (SANParks), Godfrey is working as a conservation scientist providing research support on estuarine and marine topics.

We asked him a few questions to gain insight into what drives him and how he sees his future unfolding:

What are you passionate about?

My time as a tutor revealed my passion for teaching and learning. I love engaging with people on contested topics and having meaningful discussions around touchy subjects. An example is resource utilisation which translates, for some, as nature conservation versus ecosystem services to humans. 

What inspired your choice of study?

When I realised how under-appreciated and over-exploited our natural resources are, I was inspired to follow my course of study. I wanted to find ways to retain the benefits of human usage of resources while minimising the damage caused by doing so. 

What excites you about your internship?

I am excited at the prospect of working with my SANParks mentor, Kyle Smith. He is well known in the sphere of conservation science, and his teaching and guidance will make me a better scientist and researcher. The team he belongs to will also be instrumental in my development as they show the importance of research and scientific data in managing the environment.

What are your expectations of this internship?

I expect to grow my sampling techniques and knowledge, gain valuable new skills and sharpen the ones I have. I want to discover my weaknesses too and find ways to turn them into useful tools for my personal development as a young estuarine ecologist. 

What contribution do you hope to make towards a future in which people and nature thrive?

I hope to be able to collect information and communicate it in an accessible way to all levels of stakeholders, from government officials to school kids and non-scientific professionals to indigenous and local communities with little formal education. I wish to bridge the gap between scholars and indigenous knowledge systems so that nature and people can exist harmoniously and benefit both.

Who inspires you most and why?

Alan Whitfield (an aquatic biodiversity expert) and George Branch (a marine biologist) inspire me the most because they are South African and world-class information gatherers and disseminators to the scientific community. I aspire to follow in their footsteps as leaders in their respective fields.

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