This past week we bid farewell to our dear friend and colleague, Kaggie Orrick, who is pursuing Conservation Biology post-graduate study at Columbia University, New York. Kaggie came to GVI as a volunteer on the long-term internship in July 2010. She was placed on Karongwe as the Mountain Intern, assisting with the research at our satellite camp on Mariepskop Mountain. It became clear that Kaggie’s combination of science background, passion, work initiative and amazing personality was a perfect match when the Mountain Coordinator position became available. Kaggie went on to thrive in the mountains and took our relationship with the provincial parks’ board and Pretoria University to new heights. While still in charge of the Mountain project, Kaggie developed into a fully fledged research assistant on Karongwe, leading research drives when not on Mariepskop. In October 2012, Kaggie was promoted to Karongwe Base Manager before accepting an amazing offer from Columbia University at the start of this year.
On top of her professional achievements, Kaggie’s huge ‘Cheshire cat’ smile and sense of fun will always be remembered by all who had the pleasure of working with her or volunteering at GVI Karongwe in the past 3 years. Always up for introducing team building games, fancy dress themes, celebrating American holiday s and fostering an obsession for musicals, Kaggie often took it upon herself to keep base life spontaneous and fun for all staff and volunteers.
Kaggie fell in love with Karongwe’s hyaenas and can be considered an authority on them at the moment, especially on their identification! In terms of wildlife sightings, Kaggie sure did have her fair share of luck. She was one of the first to see Ketswiri’s 5 cubs in 2011 (Read all about that here
), got to see the Cheetah boys make an impala kill right in front of her when she was on foot, saw two pangolins in her last two months and nearly took a ‘bush pee’ on Tsavo the leopard who emerged from the bushes mere seconds later.
Kaggie, we can’t wish you enough luck on your next adventure – and what a contrast ‘The Big Apple’ will be to Karongwe! We will miss you dearly and hope to have you as a research partner in the not-too-distant future.
Enjoy the following photos of Kaggie in her element!