Helping a Non Profit in Cape Town adapting to Climate Change
Robby is a second year student Conservation Biology at Colorado State University. His Urban Greening NGO internship in Cape Town with nonprofit Greenpop allowed him to make a positive impact on this world. In addition, being able to experience the beautiful city of Cape Town gave him the experience of a lifetime.
Make a positive Impact during my Non-Profit Internship
Besides getting practical working experience from the internship he also hoped to learn things he can take back home and make a difference. “Interning with non-profit organizations is an incredible experience. These organizations are dedicated to bettering the world in very different but equally important ways. You can choose what impact you want to make on the world. The earth is our only home and climate change is a problem that is threatening us all. Greenpop allowed me to make a positive impact on how we are dealing with climate change.”
Robby worked as an urban greening intern for the planting department of Greenpop. In their Urban Greening Programme they plant indigenous and fruit trees in the under-greened areas of Cape Town. The mother city is however, experiencing severe drought and there is a looming water crisis due to less rain in the past two winters. As a result, Greenpop wants to expand their urban greening projects to include indigenous water-wise plants such as fynbos and renosterveld.
During his Urban Greening NGO Internship in Cape Town Robby poured over the South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI) BGIS Maps to compile a complete list of the fynbos biomes and their individual species in the Western Cape. He developed multiple maps and data sheets to map out where each species of Fynbos vegetation occurred. After having done that he matched this with the current planting sites of the Urban Greening Programme. According to his supervisor and Urban Greening Programme Manager Farrah Schwab ‘no leaf was left unturned. Greenpop is now able to access the species lists as we plan our indigenous gardens. And we can choose the correct eco-types for our programme.’
An international Internship is a once-in-a-lifetime Opportunity
Days at Greenpop were never dull for Robby. The project took up most of his time during his three-month internship. He worked with QGIS during this time, which I was less familiar with than ArcGIS, so building this skill was a challenge but extremely rewarding. But he also had time to go out on plant days, visit planting sites for monitoring visits and join the weekly nursery days on Tuesdays.
“The time I spent in Cape Town was phenomenal. There are few words that can accurately describe it to those who have not yet had the privilege to visit. Taking an international internship where you don’t know anybody is extremely difficult and nerve-wracking but the reward is beyond worth it. It’s difficult to pinpoint any one thing that I am most grateful for about my internship so I’ll just list them all. Greenpop gave me the opportunity to work and develop my skills with them on a project that suited my background. I am beyond thankful to and I will never forget the wonderful people I met. They all changed my life for the better. Cape Town has so much to offer and I can’t wait to return someday.
To anyone who is even remotely on the fence about deciding whether to take an internship abroad: do it. The friends you make will stick with you forever. You will be pushed beyond what you thought you were capable of and when you succeed, it will be a feeling like no other. You will learn things about the world, and yourself, that you never even knew existed beforehand. It is the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that you need to experience while you are young. Once you go, you will feel on top of the world.”