Broadening the Horizon with Conservation
September 13, 2023

by Elizabeth Esser

Nature’s Valley not only lives up to its beauty but also the experiences that come with it. I came here not knowing what to expect. The memories I would make, the people I would meet and the knowledge I would gain. But I can honestly say that this was a once-in-a-lifetime experience!

As an individual who comes from a psychology background, I was apprehensive about the expertise that I would need for this internship. Nevertheless, with the trust’s devotion to conservation, I had the opportunity to learn about the area’s ecosystem which expanded and reassured my understanding. Our typical month entailed bird ringing, bird surveys, beach clean-ups (microplastics and marine debris), water management monitoring and schooling days. This also included a fun day each week, which was not only compelling, but it meant we could explore the different facilities and hikes within the region.

Additionally, my project helped educate the Covie community through conservation, specifically on topics of mental health and employment. With the trust’s support, four of us interns organised lesson plans, lunchboxes and certificates for the individuals participating in our study. I thoroughly adored the preparation for our lessons and learning about the community’s lifestyle and well-being. It was remarkably special, memorable, and endearing! With this opportunity, I hope to gain further insight and research into community psychology to generate future positive impact on these populations.

The valley’s amiable landscape is captivating and one that I will never forget. From hiking around Storm River to swimming in the lagoon, the various indigenous flora and animal species are breathtaking and full of enrichment. These were made memorable by the wonderful, valiant people I met along the way. Exploring the surrounding area was filled with new experiences. Bungee jumping. Swimming with seals. Horse riding at the beach. Birds of Eden. As well as so many more wild opportunities!

Towards the end of my journey, we were fortunate enough to explore Cape Town and the surrounding area which was further filled with excitement, chaos, and new experiences. However, when it was time to leave and say goodbye to this adventure, I could not help but feel attached to this place. The adrenaline and excitement of what the new day would bring never stopped while I was interning at the valley, and it was upsetting to leave this behind. With the trust support, I can once again say that this was a once-in-a-lifetime experience and one that I will never forget for the rest of my life.

Thank you, Nature’s Valley Trust!

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