TBA Birder gets BOU scicommer award

Alumni | Individual Alumni News
9 March 2021
Mery Nomsa is an ornithologist, Tropical Biology Association field course participant and now the BOU Best social media scicommer (science communicator). Very active on social media and blogging as “BigBirdie” Mery is passionate about birds and communicating this passion. She says “Birds are a beautiful part of my life. They are intriguing, a wonder of creation that can mesmerize, captivate and also soothe you from just watching them.”

Merlyn Nkomo (Mery Nomsa) with her BOU SciComm certificate

Having done her undergraduate degree in Forest Resources and Wildlife Management, she has worked with vultures and carried out research into the vulnerable Southern Ground-hornbill. She is secretary of the Matabeleland branch of BirdLife Zimbabwe and mentors the BirdLife Youth Chapter in her city. A highlight of her career came in 2019 when she participated in the TBA field course in Botswana.  As well as learning new field skills and approaches to conservation science, she carried out a research project with 3 other participants on the potential for hybridisation between two species of African bulbul. “TBA has redefined what can be possible in my professional career and life. I have met so many incredible conservationists here on this course. TBA has the magic touch. Kevin Wallace, TBA’s course coordinator says “she is an awesome ornithologist – I learnt so much from her.”

Merlyn Nomsa with Martial Eagle

The blogs that Mery is so passionate about and other social media postings and activities convey her determination to communicate the importance of birds and the need for conservation. She is convinced of the value of carefully communicating conservation messages and explains that “People support people first before they support brilliant ideas. More science communicators need to contribute to make science, ornithology and conservation relatable. It is the best way to seek and be in community with like-minds and expand your influence with different minded communities.” The ‘Best Social Media Scicommer’ is one of BOU‘s  2020 science communication awards. For Mery, the award “represents the hope that ecology and conservation fields are beginning to recognise the work of science communicators”. As a young woman ornithologist she is an influential role model to women of all nationalities who wish to make an impact in the fields of conservation and communication.  The Tropical Biology Association is proud of her achievements and wishes her the best with her future career in conservation.

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