Once again, it was time for the Two Oceans Aquarium to celebrate the achievements of the enthusiastic young people that make up our class of Young Biologists. On the morning of 27 October 2018, the class assembled at the Two Oceans Aquarium for their final graduation - these kids had completed their marine sciences training with us, which included an eco-camp, science course, volunteer service and an environmental improvement activity.

This Young Biologist course was made possible by the generous support of long-time Two Oceans Aquarium partner I&J. Thanks to this sponsorship, the course could be offered for free to 50 youths from schools across South Africa, and we are incredibly proud to have the support of I&J and other wonderful partners for our Marine Sciences Academy. We can all smile, knowing that we are part of inspiring a generation of ocean-caring South Africans.

Kirsty du Plessis of course sponsor I&J opens the graduation ceremony and congratulates the 46 graduates on their wonderful achievement.

Of the 50 learners who took part in this course, 46 returned to graduate. Here are some of the incredible achievements of this group:

  • The class attained an average score of 85% with the top score of 101% being achieved by Natalie Gelderblom and Josua Wenzel.
  • 41 of the learners have chosen to continue as volunteer aquarists and floor educators at the Aquarium
  • These learners have spent a combined 2 160 hours volunteering since their course
Natalie Gelderblom addresses her fellow Young Biologists.

The graduation ceremony was opened by Kirsty du Plessis of I&J, followed by a talk from guest speaker Talitha Noble - the Aquarium's Conservation Coordinator (and previous generation Young Biologist). Once the adults were done, the floor was handed over to Natalie Gelderblom who had the opportunity to address her fellow Young Biologists about their achievements, and the road that lies ahead of each of them as ocean ambassadors of the future. It was then time to get to the good stuff - the graduation.

Award recipients

Book prize

The Young Biologists of 2017 who remained to volunteer as helpers for the next generation of YBs were thanked. We are really grateful for all your help and hard work - Abdur Raaziq Firfirey, Savannah Anderson, Keraleigh Hodson, Khanyiso Makeleni, Michael Scott, and Amy Arendse.

Course Director Kirshia Koumbatis thanks the volunteers who assisted on, and made possible this Young Biologist course.

The Education Award

The Education Award is awarded for excellent presentation skills and commitment to educating visitors, young and old of the Aquarium. This year the award goes to Praise Mapswayi.

The Director's Award

The Director's Award is awarded at the prerogative of the Aquarium CEO to a Young Biologist who has been a hard-working and enthusiastic volunteer both behind-the-scenes and on the Aquarium floor, who has been reliable and who has excelled at educating the public. Abdulmuhaymien Malick was this year's award recipient, completing the most volunteer hours of his class - 440.

Young Biologist Dive Challenge

The Dive Challenge is awarded to the previous year's Young Biologists who had completed the most volunteer hours to date. This year's awards went to Azhar Azeez and Adbullah Asif.

Charl Vogt Award

Awarded to a Young Biologist who completed a year of volunteer work both inside and outside the Aquarium and has gone above and beyond to inspire others to volunteer. It was awarded to Abdur Raaziq Firfirey.

UCT Bursary

This bursary is awarded by UCT to a grade 11 learner who is involved at the Two Oceans Aquarium as a Young Biologist and a volunteer and plans to study marine biology at UCT the following year. After receiving letters of motivation, the recipient of this bursary chosen by UCT was Christina Monteiro.


Diamond Certificate

The Diamond Certificate is awarded to Young Biologist graduates who start or actively participate in an eco-club, organise an environmental or beach cleanup and score 80% or over in their course assessments.

  • Aaliyah Marcus
  • Abdulmuhaymien Malick
  • Azraa Esack
  • Badr Dramat
  • Cheyenne Nel
  • Courtney van Wyk
  • Dylan Marx
  • Dylan Stoll
  • Ella Hosking
  • Emily Bates
  • Engracia McTavish
  • Faatimah Kherekar
  • Gabrielle Niepage
  • Jamie Yip
  • Josua Wenzel
  • Lilita Limba
  • Lizzy Makhubela
  • Mia Boshoff
  • Michael Maynard
  • Michaela Faulconbridge
  • Mishka Simon
  • Muhammad Imtiyaaz Isaacs
  • Natalie Gelderblom
  • Praise Mapswayi
  • Ralita De Wee
  • Rameez Akoojee
  • Reece Frantz
  • Rezah Hassan
  • Roché de Wet
  • Sarah Bagley
  • Sobaagh Zoutenberg
  • Tamzyn van Druten
  • Taylor Carnie
  • Tegan Duke
  • Tonicia Hendricks

Gold Certificate

A Gold Certificate is awarded to Young Biologist graduates who start or actively participate in an eco-club or organise an environmental or beach cleanup, and who score 75% or over in their course assessments.

  • Cassidy Motto
  • Jamie Benjamin
  • Waldo van Zyl
  • Zubair Hamilton

Silver Certificate

The Silver Certificate is awarded to Young Biologist graduates who start or actively participate in an eco-club or organise an environmental or beach cleanup, and who score 70% or over in their course assessments.

  • Ay'dn Tities
  • Buhle Makosa
  • Enrico Frebius
  • Leah Petersen
  • Tristan Tomlinson

Bronze Certificate

A Bronze Certificate is awarded to Young Biologist graduates who complete the course and score 65% or over in their course assessments.

  • Bayanda Mbatha

What was the Young Biologist course about?

In April 2018, this class of future Young Biologists selected from schools across the Western Cape, gathered for a week-long course sponsored by I&J. The Young Biologist course has been designed for grade 10 learners to be introduced to the scientific method, and how they can conduct scientific investigations - with the intent of exposing them to the basics of a career in ocean science.

The first component of the course was to learn the basics of marine biology through classwork at the Two Oceans Aquarium Environmental Education Centre. This would prepare them for the ecosystems they would later be exploring in person as part of their project.

The learners worked in groups to investigate the organisms that inhabit the Cape's rocky shores. Do certain animals prefer certain zones? How does the height of the tide affect where the animals choose to live? These types of questions were at the core of what these groups would be working on together.

The course took the Young Biologists away from the Aquarium to a field camp, where they would not only have the time and space to conduct their science project, but where they could build an appreciation of nature.

Following the course, the kids would need to carry out their own environmental projects, so the camp gave them a chance to learn about the correct way to conduct environmental cleanups, and how they could use data from these types of projects to draw conclusions about the nature of marine pollution.

The course was a marvellous opportunity for young people from different walks of life to come together to explore a shared love of the ocean together. This remarkable group would take these lessons home and will hopefully be carrying them forward into careers in environmental science and conservation.

More educational opportunities

The Two Oceans Aquarium offers a variety of free courses and educational opportunities for learners from grades 6 to 12 - keep an eye on our Marine Sciences Academy for the full listing of these courses and information about how you, your friends or your children can apply.

We also offer curriculum-aligned lessons during the school term for everyone from Foundation Phase and up – perfect for teachers who want to get out of their classrooms and into ours. Our travelling Puppet Stories and our sponsored Outreach programmes are also available for schools who can’t come to us.

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