Education Centre manager
Originally from Scotland, Clova became fascinated by sharks while working as a diving aquarist in an aquarium that housed ragged-tooth sharks. She came to South Africa in 2005 to work with tiger sharks on the east coast before joining the White Shark Trust in Gansbaai as a research assistant. While in South Africa, she became involved in the wildlife film industry, where she learned the basics of communicating science to a wider audience. Keen to further her education, she went on to complete an MSc in conservation biology and then a PhD focusing on the status and management options for marine species that have invaded South African shores. This applied research made her realise how inaccessible most science is to the general public and how this contributes to the many conservation issues we face today.
Clova loves to travel, but when in South Africa she spends her free time outdoors on the water or in the mountains. She is a certified PADI dive master and South African commercial diver. As a volunteer for several organisations that focus on environmental education and the mother of a nature-loving daughter, she enjoys teaching children about ecology and sustainable lifestyle choices. She is passionate about sharing her love and knowledge of the marine environment, as she believes this is the only way we can change our future.
Wisaal graduated from the University of Cape Town with a Master’s degree in science, specialising in applied marine science. Her subsequent career path took her from WWF South Africa’s Sustainable Seafood Programme (WWF-SASSI) to the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), where she was involved with strategic environmental assessments in support of national strategic integrated projects that further the country’s development goals. She is passionate about sustainability and how to live in harmony with nature.
Wisaal has a keen interest in projects that contribute to the development of communities. Since 2016 she has been teaching maths and science to high school students at an under-resourced school in Mitchell’s Plain, a suburb of Cape Town. Her aim is to help students to grasp new learning concepts, as well as to contribute to their holistic development as they navigate their life path. The challenge is to make learning fun and relevant to the student, using whatever tools are available.
Wisaal lives with her husband and cat in the seaside suburb of Muizenberg. At weekends they enjoy the beautiful Cape Town outdoors: cycling, gardening, hiking, surfing or having a braai (barbecue) at home.
Tom graduated from the University of Cape Town with a BSc degree, majoring in zoology and geography, and then completed a Bachelor of Education degree at Rhodes University in South Africa’s Eastern Cape. He spent his working years teaching natural science and mathematics at primary schools in Grahamstown and Cape Town.
A passionate educator, Tom took as much interest in his learners as he did in their surroundings and enjoyed creating innovative lesson material. His interactive, hands-on investigative lessons in his classroom laboratory and his numerous excursions and camps in the outdoors inspired generations of children to develop an interest in nature and conservation. He co-wrote several series of natural science textbooks for schools and developed a particular interest and knowledge about the seashore ecosystem.
Tom is married with four adult children and four grandchildren. Recently retired, he enjoys family time and spends his spare time gardening, cycling, cooking and hiking.
Zanele was born in the northern part of South Africa’s Eastern Cape. Even as a young girl she enjoyed cooking very much, so when she completed her matric she decided to make hotel and catering management her career. In March 2008 she started working for SOSF as a housekeeper.
By reading SOSF books and watching videos about the ocean environment, Zanele became interested in marine life. In June 2009 she joined Alison Kock on the research boat to Seal Island in False Bay and there she saw a great white shark for the first time in her life. By the end of that trip she had fallen in love with the sea and decided to become an educator so that she can pass her enthusiasm on to the young generations of South Africa.
‘The more “no”s you get, the closer you get to a yes.’ Chinese proverb
Researcher in residence
Read about Lauren and what she does on her project page.