The WILDTRUST is proud to announce the opening of submissions for the Pierre Neethling Scholarship for PhD candidates in the environmental and conservation fields. Launched in 2016, the Pierre Neethling Scholarship aims to support PhD studies that will make catalytic contributions to our ability to develop and implement benchmark sustainability programmes. Mr Pierre Neethling was a highly respected Trustee and Chairman of the Trust, who dedicated his personal time and resources to promoting conservation as an empowerment tool and a driver of both the aesthetic and economic growth of South Africa.
This award is focused on building the capacity of aspiring South African environmentalists and conservationists across all conservation disciplines. The focus of the candidate’s proposal must be centred around Sustainable Resource Utilisation. All applications must reach the WILDTRUST no later than the 30th of April 2021. Detailed proposals must be sent to Roeliek@wildtrust.co.za.
One of the first Pierre Neethling Scholarship programme recipients and recent PhD graduate, Amy Marshall Blair, completed her PhD degree in social ecology through Wits University. In her thesis, Amy explored the inter-linkages between social and ecological systems, specifically the complex socio-ecological system of the marula bioeconomy catchment, within the lowveld area of South Africa. Amy is a geographer by training, passionate about the natural world and dedicated to making a difference through using systems thinking approaches to tackle complex problems.
“Completing a social ecology PhD has been a dream come true for me as it allowed me to combine my passions for communities and conservation, by studying the marula tree as part of a socio-ecological system. I am incredibly grateful to WILDTRUST for their belief in my project and for helping to sponsor my research through the Pierre Neethling Scholarship. Thanks to this funding, we were able to understand if marula (Sclerocarya birrea subsp. caffra) resource use and reliance within the Phalaborwa and Bushbuckridge communities of the lowveld region of South Africa is sustainable,” she commented. Her study surveyed over 5000 marula trees coupled with over 200 individual household interviews.
Roelie Kloppers, WILDTRUST CEO comments, “we are extremely grateful for the legacy left by Mr Neethling through this scholarship programme. We would also like to thank Dr George Hughes, patron of the Trust for his hard work and dedication in continuing to source contributions towards the Pierre Neethling Scholarship. I would encourage all prospective students interested in sustainable use of our natural resources to apply for this award.”
For more information on the WILDTRUST, visit www.wildtrust.co.za.