Kayla Webster

Kayla’s fascination with nature began at a young age and has since evolved into a deep connection to, curiosity and respect for, and dependency on the natural world. Growing up in Cape Town provided a vast playground of natural wonders and incredible diversity to entertain her curious mind. It is therefore no wonder that her love for the outdoors has greatly influenced her passions and hobbies, including hiking, trail running, surfing, rock climbing, slacklining, camping and travel. Through these passions and hobbies, it is easy to say that nature has played an imperative role in defining Kayla, making nature conservation incredibly important to her. In realizing the importance of and growing need for conservation, Kayla decided to pursue her studies in nature conservation, beginning her journey with a BSc in Conservation Ecology at Stellenbosch University in 2017.

Through her studies, Kayla developed an interest in many avenues of conservation-related topics, with invasion biology, restoration ecology, human-wildlife conflict, the relationship between environmental, social and economic issues, and climate change taking the forefront. Kayla completed her Honours year in 2020 with a project that explored restoration in the presence of extralimital species in fynbos, an emerging concept that she hopes to publish her work on soon.

For the year of 2021, Kayla had originally planned to travel and volunteer abroad, but with Covid-19 complications, she saw it as the perfect opportunity to take her studies further and pursue her Masters. Kayla is very much looking forward to building on her knowledge and experience in the field of conservation to create positive, lasting impacts in the future.

Thesis: Viability analysis for investing in ecological infrastructure to secure water supply: a case study of South Africa. (Supervisors: Dr Jane Turpie, Dr Martine Visser, Dr Sheona Shackleton)