We are thrilled to welcome Matthew Cocks to WESSA.
Matthew takes on the role as Centre Manager for Umgeni Valley.
Matthew spent his youth catching snakes, lizards, chameleons and any other critters he could get his hands on in the Valley of a Thousand Hills.
After university, he followed his parent’s example and moved into the teaching profession. Having taught in both the formal and informal sectors of education for the past 12 years, and through his experiences, he developed a passion for hands-on, experiential learning.
Matthew completed his Bachelor of Science at UCT and a PGCE through UNISA. He taught for 1 ½ years at Kloof Senior Primary School, before starting out on a life-changing journey to the United Arab Emirates lasting 11 years. During this time, he completed his Environmental Management (HONS-Cum Laude), which led him to change career paths and move into outdoor education.
Matthew taught IPC, IGCSE and IB subjects at Emirates International School for 5 years before literally stepping out into the desert, and setting up the first ever outdoor environmental education camp in the Middle East. Located in the dunes, with access to desert, mangrove, wadi and rocky shore habitats, he developed and delivered a number of cross-curricular and transdisciplinary education programmes to children and adults of all ages, and realised the potential of teaching numerous subjects and concepts using the natural world.
More recently, Matthew started his own business, ‘E2Consultants,’ writing curriculum-based environmental education programmes in exotic places like Borneo, China, UAE, and Oman. This led to a 2.5 year consulting contract at Al Ain Zoo, developing multi-subject education programmes for local and international students using the Zoo’s fantastic learning facilities.
After 11 years of being out of the country, the decision was made to return to South Africa. It has always been a dream of Matthew’s to work for WESSA, and he explained how truly privileged he feels to join an organisation whose legacy and vision has provided so much inspiration to him throughout his own life.
He is extremely excited to bring his international experience and passion for outdoor experiential learning to Umgeni Valley Nature Reserve, and to work with such a competent team to make this unit a ‘Centre for Environmental Education Excellence!’
Matthew has been married to Miranda for 9 years, and they have two beautiful children, Oliver 4, and Annabelle 2, both who already love the outdoors and are barefoot wherever they go.
Matthew, we are delighted to have you on board with us.
News supplied by Wessa.