Zimbabwe & University of Cape Town, 2020
Merlyn grew up in Bulawayo. She is an Ornithologist by profession and attained her undergraduate degree in Forest Resources and Wildlife Management from the National University of Science and Technology (NUST). She is currently a volunteer graduate researcher with two grants awarded to her. The first is an African Bird Club (ABC) grant 2018 for research on the vulnerable Southern Ground-hornbill in the Matobo World Heritage Site, and the second is a Hawk Mountain Sanctuary Project SOAR grant 2019 for Vulture research in Shangani Zimbabwe. She is the youngest member of the BirdLife Zimbabwe committee in the Matabeleland branch where she serves as secretary and mentors the BirdLife Youth Chapter in her city.
Merlyn interned at the Vulture Program (VulPro), a non-profit organisation conserving and rehabilitating injured vultures in Hartbeespoort in 2015. There she developed a passion for vulture conservation especially for the education and awareness of African communities on conservation issues. To this end, Merlyn has created various initiatives that educate people which include an annual museum seminar. She was selected as a trainee on scholarship in 2017 by Hawk Mountain Sanctuary in Pennsylvania USA and recently to be part of the Tropical Biology Association cohort of 2019.
Merlyn is passionate about bridging the gap between science and communities for the development and implementation of socially relevant policy frameworks, and the adaptation of communities to climate change and natural resource sustainability. In her spare time, she is a blogger, photographer and loves to read and travel.