Dr Mariëtte van der Walt
My passion for wildlife and the natural world comes from a childhood immersed in National Geographic magazines, David Attenborough shows and exploring South Africa's beautiful National Parks. Since completing my undergrad and Master’s degrees in Zoological and Ecological Sciences at the University of the Witwatersrand, my life has been pretty adventurous! Through my PhD at the University of Pretoria, I learnt about the mysterious world of bats, crawling through many caves to study and catch these weird and wonderful creatures. As a post-doctoral researcher at the University of Pretoria, I teamed up with virologists and worked on identifying bat conservation hotspots in South Africa, giving me opportunities to visit exciting places and learn new skills. Alongside my research, I explored the power of storytelling and filmmaking in science communication with Nature Environment and Wildlife Filmmakers (NEWF); I learned the art of filmmaking and even how to SCUBA dive and explore our beautiful oceans! This experience was transformative and inspired me to shift gears. Now, I’m an African Refocused fellow in collaboration with National Geographic, pursuing opportunities to conserve Africa's natural beauty through filmmaking. I’m also thrilled to be a science communication officer at GENUS, which allows me the freedom to combine all my passions of science, adventure, storytelling, writing and engaging with cool people!