Meet Our Team
Christina Tholander - Volunteer Coordinator and Lab Technician
Christina first joined AERU as a volunteer for 3 months in April 2016. She brought with her huge suitcase of laboratory equipment and a keen passion for elephants! It soon transpired that Christina with her biochemistry degree and the AERU onsite lab were a perfect match and after a few weeks, our Danish dung scientist was starting the compilation of the still ever-growing “Dung Library”.
Christina returned again in September for another 3 months and then again in December 2016, officially becoming a permanent part of the AERU team. In amongst all her lab and dung duties, she helps with the welcoming and settling in of new volunteers, and organizes and oversees the volunteers’ activities on a daily basis.
Nikki Peresino - Assistant Volunteer Coordinator
Nikki Peresino our assistant volunteer coordinator was born in Namibia and moved to Knysna 12 years ago from Gauteng. She worked as a veterinary assistant / anaesthetist for small animals for 22 years, before starting with AERU in September 2016.
She assists with all aspects of the volunteer programme on a daily basis – training, behavioural data collection and house-keeping in the volunteer accommodation. She loves animals and spending time with our 3 cats, who share the bunkhouse with the volunteers.
Laurè Myburgh - Administration and Research Assistant
Laurè is our newest staff member and originally from Cape Town. She has always had a love for all animals and nature in general since she was a little girl. She went on to obtain her BSc Agric degree in Animal Science and Nature Conservation at the University of Stellenbosch. She started her working career in the conservation field, rehabilitating African penguins and other seabirds.
She then took a 10 year detour into the Financial Services industry before returning to her original passion. Laurè handles all volunteer bookings and enquiries, helps with training of volunteers and also assists the Research Officer with data collection & processing.