Nature Conservation students shine at the Catchment-based Indaba

Sithembile Nkosi, middle, with some of the students that attended the Indaba

Five students from the Department of Nature Conservation at MUT benefited from attending the second Catchment-based Indaba on ecological infrastructure. The Indaba, which was held from 2-4 November at Didima Camp, Cathedral Peak, Drakensberg, KwaZulu-Natal, was in support of the Living Catchment project that is funded by the Department of Science and Innovation through the Water Research Commission as part of the implementation of the Water Research Development and Innovation Roadmap.

The project is aimed at enhancing research, development, and innovation for socio-economic impact through engaged communities of practice in key catchments associated with strategic water source areas. Although the students were attending the Indaba for the first, they were able to make their presence felt.

Kathrine Rose, one of the conveners, commended MUT students for using the Apps that identify plants. This is when the teams went on a field trip. The students had been given a lecture on how to use Apps to identify plants.

Samkelisiwe Mvelase, a third-year student in the Department of Nature Conservation, said the number of plants they identified, using the App, were more than what students from other institutions were able to identify. Other students were interns who were brought by different organisations.

MUT students visited nearby villages and advised members of the community on how to tackle problems like soil erosion. Mvelase said they told the community members that they could use vermicompost to enrich their soil. The organisers of the event work with members of these communities.

Nkosi said the way MUT students participated in the conference has opened many doors for possible collaboration between Nature Conservation and other stakeholders. Mzukisi Kuse, a PhD student from Rhodes University, who was part of the conference, said he wanted MUT students to join a youth programme he is part of in the Western Cape.

Hafuswa Williams, another third-year student in the Department of Nature Conservation, said she learnt that there were other avenues in the profession, other than working in game parks. She highlighted the significance of networking with other delegates in a conference environment and having a mentor.

The other students that attended the Indaba were Sithembile Ngongoma, an Advanced Diploma in Nature Conservation student, and third year students, Winile Dludla and Sandile Shange.