A time full of glee with the NVT
Straight away when I arrived in South Africa I was very well received by Kellyn, an NVT staff member who picked me up from the airport in George and drove me to the intern house in Nature’s Valley.
Right off the bat it was all about getting to know the lovely team members of the NVT and helping out with their different projects. I specifically remember my second day when Brittany took us interns out to Lookout beach for a bird survey. What we found was a white-fronted plover chick, but what I didn’t expect was that within seconds we would all be chasing it and trying to catch it. I guess that’s science in the field, haha.
What I really liked about my time with the NVT was that every day was unlike the other, there was always a new project to get on board with. And I can say this with confident: I have learnt something new every single day! This experience was so amazing in the way the NVT let us do actual conservation work in the field. One day you would be up at 4am or 5am for bird-ringing before the sunrise and the next day you would be out on a boat tracking whales and dolphins, how awesome is that!?
Some of my favorite moments have been being a part of the Boat-based whale watching project (Minke and Chanel were great at educating and making one feel included), dissecting my first African penguin with Hanna Basson, Brittany teaching me how to safely remove netted birds and another project I found really interesting was the one regarding marine debris.
Being a part of an international volunteer project you meet people from all over the world who you’ll make friends with. The team even has a project car that one can borrow during the weekends, if asking nicely. It enabled us interns to meet up and hang out. For example: One weekend we went to Addo Elephant park, another we went surfing and we also went hiking in Plettenberg Bay at Robberg Nature Reserve. I’m really grateful for the friends I’ve made during these six weeks.
The team at NVT are super! No other word can do them justice. It’s been an honor being a part of and helping out with the projects they are involved in. And sure, it’s not always easy work (having to get up early for bird-ringing especially, haha) but it is so worth it! I went to Nature’s Valley not having a lot of experience as a biologist and now I leave with some awesome acquired skills! Again – a huge thank you to the team at NVT and everybody else involved with them.