On 8 May 2017, 16 penguin lovers will set off for #Waddle2017: The seventh installment of the Penguin Promises Waddle for a Week event. Walking – or waddling, like penguins might – from Gansbaai to Simon’s Town, this six-day walk is all in honour of the endangered, endemic African penguin. Along the way, we hoot, educate, and inspire. We want people from all waddles of life to pledge to make a small change in their daily lives that'll make a big difference in the long run. Here are the penguin people joining the inspirational journey this year:
Hayley McLellan – Two Oceans Aquarium Environmental Campaigner
As “veteran” Waddler and co-ordinator of this event since its beginning in 2011, I’m thrilled to be bringing together another inspiring group of conservationists to “walk the talk” with coastal communities. By empowering individuals to realise that they can make a positive environmental impact, we strengthen the global move towards protecting the earth, which is our life support system. Adding value to this year’s event, by bringing our Two Oceans Aquarium Smart Living and Puppet Stories programmes to join us, is a dream come true!
Gabby Harris – SAAMBR Animal Behaviour Management & Guest Experience
“Veteran” Waddler number two! I was asked why I am back for the seventh annual event. Well, I love this Waddle and feel terribly lucky to be doing it again. Because Hayley and SAAMBR said yes. To inspire where I can. Because I love this week as it is a true “walk our talk” week. For penguins and the planet.
Renée Leeuwner – Two Oceans Aquarium Communications and Media Executive
This will be the fourth Waddle I take part in. I somehow managed to be on the very first one, and since then, the Waddle has always held a special place in my heart. Even though I do not do a lot of walking during that week, I get to talk about the Waddle and interact with very many people – media and general public. Every minute spent on the Waddle is worth it and somehow enriches one’s life.
Devon Bowen - Two Oceans Aquarium Online Content Coordinator
Our planet is the greatest gift we've ever received, but it is a gift that we need to share with all its inhabitants (including its feathered and fuzzy ones). I've always been passionate about exposing others to the wonders of Earth and nature, and I am excited to take this a step further by being part of #Waddle2017 and using social media as a catalyst for change. Let's create awareness, inspire fascination and ensure that nature’s treasures, even the little ones, are preserved for generations to come.
Colette Bodenstaff – SAAMBR Communications
I am passionate about marine life and especially fond of seals, having worked with them for over 20 years at SAAMBR. I'm very fortunate to be waddling again this year to do social media for SAAMBR and assist in creating a greater awareness of Penguin Promises as an environmental awareness campaign. The Waddle allows us to connect with people and hopefully inspire them to also take action in promising to care for the environment. This week takes us through some of the most beautiful parts of the country. It allows time for introspection and confirms, for me, our need to become more mindful consumers in order to conserve our natural heritage.
Mbali Mtshali – SAAMBR Guest Relations Guide
I'm a 25-year-old vibrant female residing in Durban! I am waddling because I love African penguins. The Waddle has been on my bucket list for three years now. I am fit and I just want to challenge myself. I want to make a difference and know and say that I made it with like-minded people.
Martin Reed – SAAMBR Assistant Dolphin Trainer
I love nature for what it is and all it has to offer. I am passionate about our planet and I therefore desire to contribute towards saving it. I can convey important educational environmental messages in a fun and funky manner! I enjoy meeting new people and would love to share this internal flame of passion with everyone in order to save our African penguin buddies. I feel that by participating in this specific event, I am serving my purpose on Earth and that is to love, share and preserve its beauty.
Ramini Naidoo – SAAMBR ORI Administrative Officer
I have always been intrigued but never brave enough to try new things. I am so looking forward to getting hands-on experience by doing the Waddle. I can only imagine the satisfaction one gets in participating in an event of this stature. I am looking forward to meeting different people and promoting the awareness of penguins. This is something I will treasure for the rest of my life!
Martine Viljoen – Two Oceans Aquarium Volunteer
I’m a casual Animal Keeper at the Two Ocean Aquarium, working with the penguins, having recently completely a year internship at SANCCOB. I have an absolute passion for nature and wildlife, penguins in particular, therefore I truly look forward to being a part of creating further awareness for this species. I have joined in on the Muizenberg to Boulders stretch for the past three years and now I'm joining the team for the full 2017 Waddle! Over the past few years, my Penguin Promise has been to say no to single-use plastic bags and straws, and I hope I can influence many more to do the same.
Siyambulela Mafunda – University of the Western Cape PhD student
I am a PhD student at the UWC Department of Medical Bioscience as well as a PDP student at the National Zoological Gardens of South Africa. My research project focuses on aspects of the reproduction of male and female African penguins, with special reference to sperm biology and cryopreservation. The main goal of my study is to assist in the conservation of this species by increasing our knowledge on their reproductive system. As the Waddle is for creating awareness about the endemic, endangered Africa penguin and our environment in general, I was very happy to have been chosen to waddle!
Lisel Dryden – Old Mutual Finance Properties Department
My best friend is my Chow Chow puppy Bruce, together we enjoy attending dog shows. Doing this walk for the penguins is so amazing – being the voice for animals who can't speak for themselves. I was so happy when I was chosen for the Waddle. It's going to be great to meet all the amazing people joining the walk and to listen to their stories about working with animals! Thank you for the opportunity to waddle along! Long live the penguins.
Katie Zenz – Two Oceans Aquarium Curatorial Intern
I want to protect the penguins because they are a unique and special animal in our environment. Each animal deserves to live in a clean, healthy habitat and it is part of our responsibility to help protect them. Also, just because I love them and think they are adorable funny little birds.
Frieda Geldenhuys – Stellenbosch University researcher
I am an environment enthusiast who loves challenges that involve making a difference. I love spending time outdoors, hiking or scuba diving in beautiful Cape Town. I'm studying in the field of Mathematical and Theoretical Biosciences and my current project is called “Using Species Distribution Models for Spatial Conservation Planning of African penguins”. I'd like to raise awareness about the many human-caused problems contributing to the penguin population's decline. I'd like to interact with learners, the public and environment enthusiasts, knowing that every single person makes a difference, to the penguins' plight and our own.
Saskia van Geuns – environmentally passionate youth
I am an 18-year-old living in Cape Town. I matriculated last year from St Cyprians School. This year I am channelling my passion for environmental conservation and sustainability into activism. I am waddling because I would like to be part of something inspiring, greater than myself that will create change for our planet and the future of the endangered African penguin. I believe that it is with great importance and urgency that my generation takes action.
Alex Rogers – SANCCOB Education Assistant
I am an open-minded person, but very grounded in my beliefs and values. I believe in balance in all things. I believe that we have to protect the lives that cannot defend themselves. I believe that, with this capacity to affect the environment, we should be more responsible with our actions and be aware of their consequences.
Freddie Roets – De Kat Safaris Driver
Hayley says: “As our superstar driver for this week, Freddie certainly has no idea what he is in for! We welcome him and thank him for saying ‘yes’ to whatever may unfold. We do guarantee that this will be like no other group he has ever spent time with, he will learn so much about African penguins, he will gain insight into the dedicated world of animal and environmental care, he will remember this week for ever more and he will make 15 wonderful new friends – some probably a bit crazy!”
Education Outreach Team:
The #Waddle2017 is proud to be able to make a new addition to the programme - an education outreach component that will be visiting five schools along the route. Interactive outreach activities are planned at each of these schools, made possible by SPAR. With the theme of African penguins at heart, the goal is to nurture an appreciation and respect of our oceans and environemnt in the learners. Meet our experienced Education Outreach team who will be carrying this out in parallel with #Waddle2017.
Anzio Abels - Two Oceans Aquarium Smart Living Outreach Educator
I am the Smart Living Outreach teacher at the Two Oceans Aquarium who visits primary schools around the Western Cape and teaches lessons on sustainability. I give lessons around the themes of conservation of biodiversity, waste minimisation as well as water and energy saving. Having the opportunity to raise awareness by teaching children how they can conserve and protect the environment through their daily activities is something I really enjoy doing. I have always had a passion for nature conservation and I believe in helping others understand that we are all part of the nature we protect.
Rafee’ah Ismail - Two Oceans Aquarium I&J Children's Play Centre staff member
I am pleased that hundreds of school learners, who would otherwise not have had, will receive quality and fun environmental education during the Waddle Week. Just another way for us to spread the importance of marine life!
Aisha Martin - Two Oceans Aquarium I&J Children's Play Centre staff member
Children visiting the Aquarium visit the play centre and after playing or doing arts and craft they rush up to the first floor to go and see the penguins. They do love and adore these birds and are always excited to go and visit them. Through our puppet shows we try our best to make learning fun. In one of our shows, I Live Smart, they promise the character Peter the African Penguin that they going to save water and keep it clean. Being able to join the Waddle with our Mobile Puppet Show gives us the opportunity to teach them in a fun way about African penguins and how they can make a difference.
Zingisa Mgumane - Two Oceans Aquarium I&J Children's Play Centre staff member
“I love welcoming children and their parents to the play centre - to see them smiling and feeling welcome. I have so many priceless memories... Every day is priceless to me!"
When asked about the Waddle Zingisa said: "I am excited to create awareness about the penguins and that they are only found here in Africa."