One of the Karoo BioGaps digitisers, Tebogo Ledwaba, was fortunate to be sent to New York for some Karoo BioGaps project work. Tebogo started her digitising work at Ditsong National Museum of Natural History (formerly Transvaal Museum) in Pretoria towards the end of 2016, where she assisted with bee and grasshopper imaging (both from Ditsong and the Agricultural Research Centre).
Once her work was completed there, in September this year she jetted off to New York for six weeks, to assist with digitising important South African scorpion specimens curated at the American Natural History Museum. She was supervised by scorpion expert Dr Lorenzo Prendini. Here is what she has to say about her exciting trip:
I am a digitiser with the Karoo BioGaps Project, based at the Ditsong museum. During the months of September and October 2017 the project gave me an opportunity to visit and work at the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) in New York. I was hosted by the Curator of Arachnida & Myriapoda, Division of Comparative Biology, Dr. Lorenzo Prendini. He went out of his way to make me feel at home and was supportive the entire time.
The purpose of the visit was to digitise the South African scorpion specimens in their collection. In the six weeks spent there, I checked and verified 2 210 data records as well as inventoried 1 389 new records.
This trip was truly an amazing experience for me. I got to experience the big apple live and visited many places. I met and made contacts that will forever be useful in my career. I lived in New Jersey, East Orange and traveled for about an hour to the AMNH by the NJ transit. I was able to visit, amongst other places, the New York Time Square, The Madison Square, Brooklyn, Manhattan parks and the art museums. I also discovered that I love Asian food.
I wish to express my gratitude to the Karoo BioGaps Project, the AMNH and the relevant staff members who were all very helpful and eager to help in any way they could.
My visit would not have been a success and as enjoyable without all the generous support provided by all these people. Special thanks to Barbara Green, the director of Government Grants at AMNH for all the help offered with regard to visa related issues.