Climbing trees as a young girl to live in my own world between the leaves and birds, and visits to game reserves in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, were the sparks that ignited my passion for nature. Little did I know that as an adult I would be climbing thorn trees to retrieve vulture chicks from their nests as part of a team doing research on White-backed Vultures near Kimberley. Over the past 30 years I have actively campaigned for the conservation of South Africa’s biodiversity. The first half of my career (24 years) was spent in the government sector at the McGregor Museum in Kimberley, working as a natural scientist. This is when I completed a Master’s degree on the plant diversity of an inselberg in Bushmanland, Northern Cape. Working with vultures and flamingos in collaboration with teams led by Mark Anderson increased my curiosity and deep love for these birds.
I love exploring new places and adventures, especially with my husband and children. My husband Mark Anderson is CEO of BirdLife South Africa and a skilled photographer and birder. My son Ryan Anderson is a product manager with a degree in engineering and an MBA, and my daughter Stephanie Anderson is a creative game designer and artist. I am eternally grateful for their love and support of my work.
I believe it is vital that we leave to future generations a planet with resilient, intact ecosystems, intact habitats and a rich biodiversity. As a global community, we need to prioritise the health of the living systems we rely on for our lives and pursue a healthy quality of life for all. Instead of wealth production, the priority of many people. A healthy earth means healthy humans.