The Academy for Environmental Leadership SA (AEL) is an accredited academic institution, which offers matriculants the opportunity to partake in a one year course of environmental and conservation studies.
After the successful completion of the course, students receive a NQF level 5 qualification, which enables them to enter a number of jobs or to proceed with further academic ventures.
Eight microscopes have recently been donated to the academy by Stellenbosch University. Professor Karen Esler facilitated this donation.
Prof. Esler worked for the Botany department from 1995 up until 2004, after which she took the role of assistant professor in Conservation Ecology. In September 2008, she upgraded to Professor. Prof. Esler was appointed as head of the department of Conservation Ecology and Entomology in 2015.
Prof. Esler’s work is on the forefront of transdisciplinary research. It is also the core and vision of her academic home, Stellenbosch University. She also frequently pays the Uizip campus a visit, where she steps in as a guest lecturer.
“The overarching aim of my research is to understand how certain factors that bring about changes (eg. Climate change), influence the population and community structure, as well as processes in South African fynbos, karoo and riparian vegetation.”
The microscopes will be used to identify certain organisms like insects, grass and plankton. It will also be used during lessons regarding insect and plant morphology.
“AEL’s academic programme is focused on conservation research and the donation from Stellenbosch University makes a big difference,” says Dr. Matthys Strydom, head of academics at AEL.
The academy is situated on the banks of the Orange River and has extensive grounds, sport-fields, a swimming pool, gymnasium, library and laboratory. Besides what is offered academically, students are also exposed to a wide variety extracurricular activities like canoe trips, 4×4 driving skills, field art and trips to Kgalagadi and Namibia.