Susan Lochner - Head of Green Futures
Born in Namibia and raised in South Africa, Susan has been with the Grootbos Foundation for over 11 years. Touting a long list of educational experience, she earned her Teacher’s Diploma for Junior Primary in 1982, her Nature Conservation Certificate in 2003, a Higher Certificate in Adult Basic Education and Training in 2009, and her FGASA Level-1 Nature Guide certification in 2011. Before becoming the Head of Green Futures at the Grootbos Foundation, a position she has held since May of 2003, Susan was a teacher at the primary schools in Humansdorp and Gansbaai, and worked as a Horse Guide at Grootbos Private Nature Reserve for three years.
Sharlene de Villiers - Nursery & Horticulture Manager
Sharlene de Villiers studied Horticulture at the Cape Town Technicon. She worked for Stodels Nurseries for 7 years and moved to Gansbaai in 2000 with her husband. Sharlene started working for Grootbos Private Nature Reserve in September 2000 as a receptionist, and in 2004 took up the position of Nursery Manager at Green Futures. She teaches the students about plant identification, sowing seeds, caring for seedlings, watering, fertilizers, soil types, pruning, pests and diseases and many more. According to Sharlene, the best part of her job is witnessing the development of her students as they transform from uninformed citizens to skilled professionals.
Sharlene has a daughter, Marissa, and loves to read, go to the beach and camp in her spare time.
Cilena Danisa - Nursery Supervisor
Nompikiso Celina Danisa grew up in the Eastern Cape where she matriculated. She completed her one-year learnership at the Foundation’s Green Futures Horticulture and Life Skills College. Before Celina came to Green Futures she was working as a sales lady at the spaza shop in the Eastern Cape. Prior to Green Futures, Cilena worked in a spaza shop and as a cleaner in a restaurant. In August 2006 Celina was employed by Green Futures as a nursery assistant and in 2008 she became a nursery supervisor. Her role at the foundation is to manage the nursery, staff and to mentor the students during practicals. Celina feels that the Foundation has provided her with so many invaluable benefits, such as education, job opportunities and especially the chance to travel to England for the Eden Project. Celina likes being independent and going to church.
Sicelo Fundakubi - Nursery Assistant
Sicelo was born and raised in the Eastern Cape and began working for a cleaning company in Johannesburg. In January of 2007, he moved to the Western Cape and joined the Green Futures programme as student. After graduation he was employed by Green Futures, and today Sicelo is responsible for planting, transplanting and watering various trees and plants. He is very thankful for his job at the Grootbos Foundation because it allows him to provide for his family and is extremely proud of the work that he does here.
Viola Siyotywa - Green Futures Facilitator
Viola was born in the Eastern Cape, where she attended school and matriculated. She came to Gansbaai in search for a job and worked for a Shark Diving company as a waitress, working closely with guests. But Viola has always wanted to further her career and joined Green Futures as a horticulture student. She was a shining example of determination and focus as she continued to study after completing her one year Horticulture training, intent to become a facilitator to help others. In 2012, she earned her Higher Diploma in Adult Basic Education and Training in the University of South Africa. Now Viola works for the Grootbos Foundation as a Life Skills Trainer, a position she has held since 2008. The Foundation is special to Viola because it has given her the skills needs to succeed in the future and has prepared her to face the challenges that she meets. Thanks to Grootbos, “I now know who I am”. She likes sharing ideas, reading and being honest with herself.
Sean Privett – Conservation Director
Sean has a Masters Degree in Botany from the University of Cape Town and an enormous passion for the conservation of the Cape’s unique flora and upliftment of its people. Sean has been involved at Grootbos since 1997 and was instrumental, together with Grootbos owner Michael Lutzeyer, in initiating and developing the non-profit Grootbos Foundation since 2003. Sean assisted in establishing the South African flora display at the Eden Project in Cornwall, U.K., played a pivotal role in establishing the 15 500 hectare Walker Bay Fynbos Conservancy and designed the fynbos sustainable harvesting program of the Flower Valley Conservation Trust. Sean’s involvement with the Grootbos Foundation is currently focused on developing our Green Corridor project and mentorship of young conservationists.
Rebecca Dames - Research Botanist and Sustainability Officer
Growing up on a small farm in George, Rebecca always had a passion for the outdoors and nature. She went on to study Nature Conservation at Nelson Mandela University in George, where her passion for plants bloomed. Since joining the Foundation team in January 2016 as a conservation intern, she is now responsible for various aspects of conservation, botanical research and management within the Foundation, conservancy and Agulhas Biodiversity Corridor. Her role also includes assessing and recording the carbon footprint and sustainability for Grootbos Private Nature Reserve.
Mike Fabricius - Biodiversity Researcher
Mike went to school and university in Grahamstown where he studied a BSc in Zoology and Entomology at Rhodes, and a further BTech in Nature Conservation at Saasveld. Conservation and biodiversity research roles: wildlife monitoring, ecosystem condition assessments, conservation research, liaising with landowners regarding human-wildlife conflict and conservation friendly practice, environmental awareness among the general public, and the establishment of wildlife movement corridors linking protected areas. His passions include bird watching, surfing, playing music, hiking, and nature photography.