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Environmental Monitors & Interns

Under the guidance of Lindsey Jones, the Umbabat has partnered with the Department of Environmental Affairs and the South African Wildlife College the education and work experience of four Environmental Monitors.

These Environmental Monitors have successfully completed their six month bridged conservation course at the South African Wildlife College and are now contracted to work in the schools of local communities.

The work is all environmental and conservation based where the Monitors work in teams of two, educating learners about the importance of understanding and looking after the natural environment. During school holidays, the Monitors join us at Reserve level, for exposure to Protected Area management, to better understand how Protected Areas are managed and operate on a daily basis.

Christinah Makhubele and Brendan Tshikukulume joined us at Ingwelala for the recent June/July school holidays (21 June – 5 July) to learn more about the practical side of conservation and ecology, as well as work exposure to the various services that a private nature reserve has to offer. Daphne Strydom kindly assisted with coordinating the work programme and mentoring the Monitors, which for all practical purposes, we referred to as Interns for the work experience.

The work tasks assigned to Christinah and Brendan are best summarised as follows:

  • Environmental Lesson Planning with full Power Point presentation
  • Bush Craft (Animal identification and tracking)
  • Reception duties (Reservations, invoicing, tel & fax, e-mails and general queries)
  • Housekeeping (General services and laundry)
  • Shop and Fuel (Pastel point of sale)
  • Elephants Alive (Tracking collared elephants and monitoring elephant behaviour)
  • Solar Energy (Understanding alternate energy sources for a “greener” environment)
  • Game monitoring (Animal population dynamics, animal condition and bird identification)
  • Vuka Ingwe (Environmental education of visiting staff children, all ages)
  • Veld Management (Ecology (veld rehab) and conservation techniques; selected bush clearing, erosion control, alien plant eradication, stone gabion use)
  • Road Maintenance (Drainage alignment, contour use to slow surface water run-off, silt deposition)
  • Human/Wildlife conflict management (purpose of camp fence and maintenance thereof)
  • Counter poaching (A day in the field with Noctuam)

Intern Profiles (Meet Brendan & Christina)

Brendan Tshikukulume is from Thohoyandou in Limpopo and says he first heard about the Internship through the Umbabat Reserve and is really enjoying being an Environmental Monitor. It has taught him to undertake tasks at short notice and he has learnt how to deal with different people.

The Internship involves career based learning experiences in a “real” world work environment says Brendan and like any other job it has standard workplace expectations. The initial part of the Internship commenced with a six-month course at the South African Wildlife College (SAWC) near Orpen Gate. Having successfully passed the SAWC course Brendan now teaches children in school about looking after the environment.

When asked what his favourite animal is Brendan responds that it is the leopard because he finds the rosette pattern beautiful and appreciates the leopard’s cunning behaviour. Brendan’s favourite plant is the Impala Lily because of its hardy nature, surviving on very little, and the flowers are beautiful.

When discussing sport, Brendan enjoys football and is a big Mamelodi Sundowns supporter. Brendan says the Internship has improved his quality of life for three reasons, it has improved his teaching skills, his computer literacy and improved his knowledge of the different animal species.

Christinah Makhubele is from Acornhoek in Mpumalanga and heard about the Internship though her mentor, Lindsey Jones.

When responding to questions around the Internship, Christinah adds that the work experience is invaluable, even without pay at times, but it is important to have these work experiences in order to qualify.

Christinah and Brendan team up together when teaching the learners at school about the environment. They assist the children with their homework and do volunteer work at the Community Youth Centres.

When questioned about her favourite animal, Christinah informs that it is without a doubt a lioness because lionesses are caring and protective mothers and will even suckle a neglected cub to afford it a chance to survive, and this Christinah says reflects her own values about life.

The Silver-clustered leaf is Christinah’s favourite tree because it is a deciduous tree that grows well in tropical and sub-tropical areas.

On the sports front, Christinah enjoys rugby and in particular follows the All Blacks team because it is the All Blacks style of play that prompted her interest in rugby.

Christinah feels the Internship has improved her quality of life first and foremost teaching her to be independent, which she relishes, it has taught her about communication professionally and is confident processing constructive criticism.


A special thank you to John Llewellyn and his management team at Ingwelala for successfully running the Internship program. Well done to Lindsey Jones for initiating this programme.

Environmental education for the visiting staff children at Vuka Ingwe

Playing soccer with the children in Vuka Ingwe