By: Mbali Mshali

On the 19th of January 2020 the best thing for my career as a Marine Educator happened, I flew down to the Western Cape, not on vacation but to attend the MCEN 2020 conference.  The only conference of its kind where delegates from all over South Africa who work in the marine environments, educators and scientists show case how they apply their biological and scientific knowledge to  promote sustainability and to conserve our natural areas and resources.

It was great seeing that we have a lot of young educators whom are not just employees in their relevant organisations but whom are true conservationists at heart. Apart from intense learning and idea sharing sessions, we were able to explore marine and coastal environments in the Western Cape (so different to the ones I am used to in Kwa-Zulu Natal), this was hugely beneficial as an environmental educator to learn through exploration and to be inspired by how privileged we are as ambassadors for our precious natural world.

During the Gala dinner evening where 20 years of marine and coastal education was celebrated, I received the award for the best novice presenter as it was my first time presenting at this prestigious event. My presentation focused on my journey as marine educator and how we can use our personal journeys and growth to inspire our audience to care for the sea, like I have learned to.

I will recommend for everyone who is seeking self growth, not just at work but in life in general to be a part of the Marine and Coastal Educators Network in future, even as an environmental educator, this was a life changing experience and I have gained so much more than I can fit into this post.