“This internship was more than I could have ever hoped for, we’ve done so much in a month, it has been and adventure of a lifetime, I’ve grown so much as a person and certainly learned the skills in photography and environmental writing to help me become a conservationist.” Says Charlotte Bond, recent graduate from Coastal Carolina University during an on camera interview.

I had just completed my first Conservation Wildlife Photography and Environmental Journalism Internship, attended by four students from the USA. They had arrived with little to zero experience in photography and creative writing skills, both these being my passion and tools I use to reach the public with important conservation messages. Earlier in 2015 I had made the decision that it was time for me to impart my knowledge, share my skills with the next generation of budding conservationists. What is clear to me is that we need an army to fight the environmental battles that threaten. I aim to help grow that army by inspiring others to take up the weapons of photography, filmmaking and writing, which have helped me in my success as a conservationist, helped me to BECOME THE VOICE FOR THOSE WHO CANNOT SPEAK.

I was delighted that the course was a great success, the students learnt so much, which was evident when on the last day they gave a presentation on their work achieved during the course. I was very proud of them, I loved watching them exude excitement and personal pride while sharing their results achieved both in photography and creative writing.

On a daily basis ‘the girls’, as I called this group of young, passionate, beautiful women, would repeat with uncontained smiles how they had never been so happy in their entire lives, how they were growing in skills and personally within, how they loved Africa! It made me happy. Being a conservationist for me took on a new meaning. I was finally teaching again, and this time on my terms, in my own space, from my beautiful home overlooking the ocean, False Bay.

In conversation with the students, the success of my course they believed was not only the quality of what they were learning from me, the amazing adventures they were experiencing, the subjects they were photographing, the interesting people they were interviewing and meeting, or how their graph in photographic and writing skills had spiked, but they loved being guests in my home, a part of my family, they loved Snowbell, my lovable cat, moving into their apartment with them, getting to know my beautiful daughter, Tamera, being a part of my life for those 28 days. It was special indeed.

This course is for university students, for grad students, for gap-year students and even their parents! But is this course right for everyone? Let’s put it this way, there are many internship courses on offer, many of which are attended by students looking for a jol (a local word for party time 24/7). My course is not for this type of student. My course is unique in many ways, it’s exclusive, and it is only meant for students who are passionate about the environment, who are sincere about learning skills from me that will assist them to help save our beautiful planet. I expect excellence from them, because that is what it takes to succeed out there and what our environment needs, people serious about taking up the fight, giving of their best. But I also expect them to have fun while learning and experiencing my beautiful country, after all I believe learning must be fun! Only this type of student will be accepted onto my course. In return, I will promise them, as I did this first group, an adventure of lifetime that will go beyond their expectations!

I will run only one or two courses a year since much of my time is taken up with my many other commitments. Groups will remain small to ensure the quality of my courses exceeds what else is on offer in the market – this is my commitment, quality before quantity. The next course will be sometime in May/June/July, dates are being finalized and will be announced next week – keep a look out for the dates, and for the promotional video I will soon be releasing. In the meanwhile, to reserve your spot, if you are interested in the course fill in the online form on the Shark Warrior page here.

Watch my space, Lesley