Profile: Anuradha Rao

Anu was already a graduate of Memorial University in Newfoundland (MSc in Biology, 2006) when she applied to the Robin Rigby Trust. She had done her Master of Science research on wildlife ecology and conservation in South Africa in 2004 and 2005 and wanted to build on her previous coastal conservation work in that part of the world.

Anu’s project with the Trust focussed on improving both the condition of public coastal areas and public access to the coast around Kommetjie (located in the greater Cape Town area). Her partner groups were the Kommetjie Environmental Awareness Group (KEAG) and the Wildlife and Environment Society of South Africa (WESSA). Capacity building and employment for local people were priorities. Local residents were hired to remove invasive plants and trees and to plant hardy indigenous gardens. Pathways and bridges were created to allow public access to previously inaccessible areas. Community members participated in on-the-job training on many issues, including organic gardening, river health, and sand dune stabilization.

Upon completion of the project, Anu was told that there was “a new spurt of interest in community gardening [and] pathways” among Kommetjie residents.

“This was an excellent opportunity for me to carry out a number of hands-on coastal restoration projects in a multicultural setting,” she says. “I learned as much as I contributed.” In 2012, Anu had an opportunity to return to Kommetjie where she reconnected with KEAG members and learned about their current restoration projects.

Following her research in South Africa, Anu worked in Vancouver as a Technical Planner with the Pacific North Coast Integrated Management Area and as a volunteer with the Robson Bight Marine Warden Program and the Marine Mammal Rescue Centre. She is completing a certificate in Restoration of Natural Systems part-time through the University of Victoria, and currently works as a consulting biologist and writer based out of Vancouver. Anu collaborates with organizations and communities on conservation, restoration, research, and stewardship.

Rao Midterm Report (pdf)
Rao Final Report(pdf)

Rao's Briarpatch article(pdf)
Diary from Robson Bight (http)
Anu's experience at the Robson Bight Ecological Reserve, Summer 2011