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WOMAN OF THE WIND

Megan Murison, Project Officer, EWT Wildlife and Energy Programme (WEP), meganm@ewt.org.za

Ju-Ann Joseph is a field officer for the EWT Eskom Strategic Partnership, stationed at the Sere Wind Energy Facility (WEF), located along the west coast of South Africa. The WEF became operational in March 2015, and biodiversity monitoring activities began in May 2015 by four local EWT staff members. Still working with a team on Sere WEF, Ju-Ann is one of the original four staff members and has participated in the full five-year post-construction impact monitoring at this site.

Ju-Ann hails from the small town of Lutzville and works alongside her female cohort on Sere WEF. Not only is the work being conducted by this team remarkable, but it is truly a feat in terms of the strenuous activity that the position requires. The job consists of repeated transects through dense, spiny vegetation on soft dune sand. Environmental obstacles are often encountered, such as the near-daily presence of snakes, howling wind, and extreme temperature variations (0˚C to 43˚C). But she doesn’t let this get her down. Ju-Ann’s positive attitude is evident when asked about her role at the wind farm: “We are always learning something new, and we are passionate about nature. A personal benefit is that our exercise is included in the work!”

Ju-Ann’s dedication to conservation is living proof that a women’s place is everywhere and a much-needed part of conservation. As of June 2020, Ju-Ann has:

  • Walked over 6,500 km under turbines during searches
  • Completed 60 power line surveys (totalling 2 640 km on a sand track)
  • Worked a total of 1,196 days
  • Travelled 107,640 km between Sere and her home
  • Completed various training courses facilitated by EWT:
  • Bat and Bird Searcher Efficiency
  • Snake Awareness, First Aid for Snakebites, and Venomous Snake Handling
  • General office admin for computers and electronic devices
  • First Aid Level One
  • AND she received her Code 10 Drivers’ Licence!