20160108_084043I have always been a bush baby, jumping at every opportunity to go on an adventure whether this involved camping, running away from a heard of Gemsbok, following giraffe in the Limpopo bush or just going on a really long hike. Having graduated with a B.TECH in Nature Conservation from the Cape Peninsula University of Technology, my passion for the environment has only grown from strength to strength. I volunteered on Game Reserves in the Kalahari Desert, did community outreach at a village school in Limpopo, contributed to research at the Mogalakwena River Reserve on the boarder of Botswana, helped out at SANCCOB and the SPCA Wildlife Unit in Cape Town, worked as an Environmental Educator at the Tygerberg Nature Reserve, was a project assistant for Crew and now I am currently the Conservation Manager for Muizenberg East under CTEET.

Miss.Earth_SA-43But this all changed last year when I kicked off my Hi-Tec boots for a pair of high heels when I decided to take part in the Miss Earth South Africa Programme. The year was a truly amazing experience and life changing to say the least as I was chosen as a Miss Earth South Africa Ambassador for the Western Cape. The role included undertaking various community projects, conservation awareness initiatives, fundraising, greening projects, community clean ups, media awareness, alien clearing initiatives, environmental education, waste projects, sponsorships and donations to various organizations and working closely with the Cape Leopard Trust and their environmental educators.

The programme has taught me to be an active change maker within the local community and a role model for the youth by leading by example. I recently did the Cape Town Cycle Tour where I raised money for trees (109km for 109 trees) to be used for various community projects in Cape Town (and am still planting these trees).

The Miss Earth South Africa Programme is an amazing platform for younger women to really showcase their passion and be role models for the younger generation in their communities. The programme helps to create an awareness of sustainable development, our environment, wildlife and the conservation of our natural legacy in South Africa, and ultimately the preservation of Mother Earth.

-Celebrating Women’s Month with Andrea Von Gunten, Site Manager for Muizeneberg East Biodiversity Cluster