It is with great pleasure that we can announce that Christel, Jenna, Nicola, and Tebogo have all been awarded Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research (SCAR) travel grants of USD 750 to attend the upcoming ANTPAS Workshop in Varese, Italy. The workshop will be held on 4 and 5 October at the University of Insubria. Ian will be joining them at the workshop and all will be presenting on their work at the workshop as well. We would like to thank SCAR and ANTPAS for granting us these funds and making our attendance at the workshop possible. Go science!
After speaking at the Studium Apertum, Nicola Wilmot was approached by her teachers at the Junior School of St Mary’s to come and speak to the grade 6 and 7 classes. Yesterday (31 July) Nicola spoke on her experience in Antarctica and explained to the girls that doing something in what you love can be so rewarding. She also explained that being a women in Antarctica is rare as there is this stigma that Antarctica is a man’s place. But as Nicola expressed, women can do the same thing as men, you just have be willing to do it. The students were eager to ask many questions, for example; What food did you eat in Antarctica? What path did you take to get to studying your Master in Antarctica?
It is so great to see young girls become interest in Polar research and what one can do with geography. That is why it is so important to do science outreach with schools so that we can inspire the next generation of Polar scientists.
The presentation portion of the 2017 Biennial SAAG conference concluded on Thursday 27 July, followed by a dinner at Malandela’s Restaurant, attended by delegates from Rhodes University, the University of Pretoria, the University of the Free State, the University of Fort Hare, iThemba Labs, the University of Cape Town, as well as other delegates. Friday’s events included a practical workshop during the morning, focusing on bio-engineering and vetiver grass for managing soil erosion and rehabilitation of areas. This was followed by a visit to the Elangeni erosion site, as well as the Ezulwini sewerage works to view environmental work stabilising side slopes using vetiver grass planted some 13 years ago. Both the workshop and post-conference field trip were facilitated by Heinz Beckedahl of the University of Swaziland, Paul Truong from the Vetiver Network International, and Roley Nöffke from Huydromulch (Pty).
We would like to than all the Society of Southern African Geomorphologists, the conference organizers, Kruger & Associates, all the sponsors, and all the delegates for a successful conference. We can’t wait for the next one in two years time!
Day 2 of the 2017 Biennial SAAG conference has concluded. Today was a day of presentations focused very much on erosional effects and control measures, fluvial erosion and case studies thereof, as well as wetlands and wetland rehabilitation. For more on these presentation have a look at the program. The day ended with an engaging and informative discussion on geomorphology and its role in the current curriculum of various universities within South Africa.
Prizes for the best student oral and poster presentations were also awarded. Ms Namso Nyamela from Rhodes University received the prize for the best student presentation. Mr Abu Nguna from the University of Fort Hare and Ms René Grundling from the University of Pretoria were the recipients of the prizes for the best student posters.
Day 1 of the 2017 SAAG Biennial Conference concluded with Jay le Roux (the outgoing president of SAAG) handing over the reigns to David Hedding (the current president of SAAG). The new Council and President Elect (Christel Hansen) were elected during the General Meeting, which took place before the start of sessions and a plethora of fascinating and exciting presentations. More on the sessions and presentations can be seen in the conference program and book of abstracts. We would also like to thank the Swaziland National Trust Commission for sponsoring the delegates dinner, which was held at Esibayeni Lodge.
The 2017 Biennial Society of Southern African Geomorphologist’s (SAAG) conference has started. Venue is the University of Swaziland in Manzini (Kwaluseni) and delegates were welcomed the conference by the minister of Tourism and Environmental Affairs of Swaziland, the Honorable Christopher Gamedze, who also opened the conference. The next two days will be jam-packed with exciting presentations on everything ranging from erosion research to cold climate studies. A workshop on the use of bio-engineering and Vetiver grass will be held on Friday. Have a look at the program here.
One of our Master students, Nicola Wilmot has been invited to speak at the Studium Apertum. This event is held at St Mary’s School for Girls Waverly which is where Nicola went to high school. The event takes place on the 22nd of July and it is to showcase talks from a variety of fields from science, humanities, art, philosophy and more. Nicola will be speaking in the 10:10 session along with 5 other speakers (see program below). The event is open to anyone and tickets are available from the website. Also have a look at the full 2017 Programme.
This past weekend Ian Meiklejohn and three current Masters students (Tebogo Masebe, Nicola Wilmot and Jenna Knox), attended the 2017 SA Agulhas II Open Day on the 23th and 24th of June. Friday was aimed at both primary and high school children, with the intention of inspiring, exciting and educating young minds in the fields of science, Antarctic research, oceanography and various logistical expertise. Saturday was aimed at the general public, with attendance in the thousands, with over 60 tours of the ship being completed throughout the day.
The Open Say is a fantastic method of outreach, to both the public and children with various activities on offer for each demographic. It was great to see how interested the general public were with the ship and the research which is conducted on board. Some members of the public knew about our research, which was awesome to hear, while others were more concerned about climate change and others were just keen to chat. One of the main questions asked was, “Why do we study in Antarctica“, and “Is it very cold”? Overall, it was a great two days interacting with those interested in the South African National Antarctic Program (SANAP).