Flower Valley partnered with the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and their graduate internship programme aimed at youth pursuing a career in conservation or biology. Shaquille Benjamin is the successful applicant for the position of Ecology Intern and we are excited to welcome him to our team.

A bit about Shaquille.

Shaquille decided to become a biologist, because while growing up he was fascinated with a natural patch of bush close to his house that had so much diversity, but unfortunately was ploughed, leading to a complete loss of biodiversity. This event led him to become curious and show a keen interest in protecting the environment, whether it is terrestrial, marine, or freshwater based.

He completed his undergraduate degree in biodiversity and conservation biology at the University of the Western Cape and his honours degree in biodiversity and ecology at Stellenbosch University.  His honours thesis looked at how coastal communities in Mozambique influenced mangrove invertebrate diversity, and which invertebrate species could possibly be used as indicator species to track the impact of excessive land use within the mangrove system.

Outside of work Shaquille’s interests include any physical activities such as hiking, diving, surfing, and football. He also partakes in an ocean initiative, called SeaTheBiggerPicture, as a volunteer and mentor, which takes kids snorkelling for their first time and teaches them about the intertidal zones found along our coast.

What will he being doing at Flower Valley?

During his internship at Flower Valley, Shaquille wants to improve his faunal and floral identification skills and learn more about the relationships between the different species that occur within fynbos, especially on the Flower Valley Farm. He is extremely interested in learning from the different projects at Flower Valley and hopes to gain valuable experience for his future endeavours. Most of his time will be spent implementing the farm management plan.

The Flower Valley team look forward to working with Shaquille, and seeing his journey of learning and future contributions on the Farm.