Conservation remains biggest driving force
An undying passion to motivate and educate others has led to Uitenhage resident Marietjie van der Walt being nominated for The Herald GM Citizen of the Year 2016 award.
Van der Walt, 76, has been a pioneer of nature conservation and philanthropy in Nelson Mandela Bay for more than three decades.
She has selflessly given her time to set up a number of conservation projects.
Born in Gauteng in 1940, Van der Walt was raised in the Lichtenburg district where she matriculated as head girl of Nylstroom High School in 1958.
Speaking from her Levyvale home, Van der Walt said her passion for nature conservation was undying – something glaringly clear when looking at the extensive programmes she works on.
“It is my mission to do something in order to motivate other people to save our beautiful earth,” she said.
Her background in nature conservation goes back to her days as a student at the University of Pretoria where she attained a BSc majoring in zoology and botany.
Van der Walt and her husband moved to Port Elizabeth in 1975 before relocating to Addo in 1992 where they operated a citrus farm.
It was in Addo that her first project, the Ollie Olifant nursery school, was born. The nursery school cared for youngsters whose parents worked in the orchards.
She also began a project to train young jobless women on the farm to obtain the skills required to practice as nursery school teachers.
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