A Conservationist Recalls His Beginnings

About the Author

Edwin Tambara is African Wildlife Foundation's Director of Global Leadership. He works with multilateral organizations such as the United Nations and the World Bank, as well as the U.S. and Canadian governments, to influence sound conservation policies and encourage development financing that… More

Two contrasting scenes stand out in my mind when I remember my past as a young boy herding my father’s cattle in the former wildlands of Domboshava, Zimbabwe. Mountains covered with forest full of diverse, juicy wild fruits—this was the common scenery in my early days as a herd boy, unforgettable, and one I cherished and so dearly loved. I remember the scenery changing, my beloved forests and flowing rivers were slowly replaced by bare mountains, lethargic rivers and leafless remnants of bushy trees still standing.

Even as a young boy back then my changing environment silently conveyed the cost to our natural resources of pursuing our economic interests. The two scenes that of green forests and that of an exhausted environment have stayed with me over the years and continue to remind me why it is so important to conserve our biodiversity and protect the environment.

Before I get carried away let me introduce myself. My name is Edwin Tambara I was born in Zimbabwe, (imba yemabwe meaning “The House of Stones”). My passion for nature stems from my childhood and upbringing. This passion and will has always informed my career ambitions and academic curriculum, from high school through to university. In 2008, I graduated from the University of Zimbabwe with a Bachelor of Science Honors degree in Biological Sciences and completed my MPhil degree in Ecology and Conservation in December 2012 with Tropical Resource Ecology Programme at the same university.

Edwin Tambara, AWF Conservation Management Trainee (CMTP)

After I completed my masters, the easiest thing was to do a PhD and exciting offers were already lined up for that matter, thus everything was set for me to go for a PhD at Stellenbosch University in South Africa. In the midst of all that I come across, and applied for, the African Wildlife Foundation Conservation Management Training Program (CMTP), and I found myself thinking and questioning myself again about my passion, career ambitions, and how best to achieve both. I chose CMTP, because I realized it is a platform to gain valuable on-the-job conservation expertise and a chance for me to indulge my creative side in the conservation world.

Zimbabwe/Southern Africa AWF scoping trip

What I have experienced thus far is awe-inspiring way beyond what I expected from AWF and CMTP. Indeed I find myself in a community where my enthusiasm is shared by experts who have the knowledge, resources and experience to help me flourish in this field. For the two months I have been with AWF, I already have a lot of stories to tell but enough for now — this blog will be about the exciting and fascinating things that I get up to and experience. Stay tuned for more.

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