The Wilderness Trust is already acknowledged as a leader in the educational process thanks to innovative programmes that aim to educate the youth of Africa, inspiring and assisting them so that they can continue to preserve their magnificent natural heritage.
In its continuing efforts to educate the youth of Africa, the Trust initiated the Education Bursaries Programme in 2006, funding bursaries for students at the post-graduate level in the wildlife and environmental fields. The first recipient, over 2006-7, was Gayle Pedersen who completed her Master's thesis in late 2008.
Enos Mngomezulu was the recipient of a bursary in 2008. With the funding he duly completed his studies in Natural Resource and Protected Area Management at the Southern African Wildlife College, passing with distinction. The overall aim was to have someone within the Makuleke community trained with the knowledge necessary to manage the resources of the Makuleke Concession in the Kruger National Park.
In 2008, the project was expanded and more funding devoted to it so that more than one student per year could be assisted. It was decided that bursaries would be offered at the following universities in South Africa: University of the Witwatersrand, Pretoria University and University of Cape Town.
In addition, many of the Trust's other projects are assisting researchers - whether directly or indirectly - in completing their MSc. or PhD. studies, so that the Trust is not only helping individuals with their continuing education but aids in the progress or completion of their research projects so that conservation in Africa as a whole benefits.
Bursaries for 2010
In its continuing efforts to educate the youth of Africa, the Trust’s Education Bursaries Programme funds bursaries for students at the post-graduate level in the wildlife and environmental fields. In 2010, the Trust funded Buhle Francis in her M.Phil. degree on Environmental Economics.
Honours student Miranda Muller wrote a paper on “Using spatial distribution and leaf vegetation indices (VIs) of evergreen phreatophyte trees to identify potential sinkholes on dolomitic grasslands.” In this study, Muller looked at methods to map zones of likely sinkhole formation as by-products of mining, but also collected data during the dry season when plants without access to the phreatic zone (via developing sinkholes or other discontinuities) are predicted to show plant drought stress.
Kelly Nesbit completed her Honours in Geography. Her report subject was “The analysis of five wild dog packs by the use of spatial techniques: Northern Botswana.” This paper attempts to quantify the space utilised by five wild dog packs in the northern Botswana region and assesses their movements according to natural and human-associated landscape features. The results yielded that there was a strong tendency towards natural boundaries creating barriers, namely river systems and the associated vegetation as well as extensive evidence to support denning periods through the notion of site fidelity.
Recipient Bakker Manuel attended and passed a B.Tech in Nature Conservation at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University for the 2010 academic year.