Melandri Rafferty is highly passionate about environmental conservation and the impact of threatened freshwater ecosystems on the well-being of communities. She is originally from the Eastern Cape and chose the Western Cape to further her studies as it provided more work and research opportunities. She obtained her BSc in Conservation Ecology at Stellenbosch University in 2015. She decided to follow a persistent passion of bringing scientific aid to local farming communities and pursued an MSc degree at Department of Conservation Ecology at Stellenbosch University in 2016. Her thesis focused on the effects of climate change on small-scale rooibos production in the Northern Cape and how local indigenous knowledge can be used to offer potential mitigation strategies in the face of a changing climate. Upon completion of her MSc, she enrolled in the DST-NRF internship program to work as an intern with the Freshwater Research Centre. The internship provided the opportunity to deepen her knowledge and exposure in the freshwater field and develop the necessary skills for environmental consulting. She has a keen interest in social ecology and strongly believes that you cannot separate ecological crises from the social conditions that led to it. She also strongly advocates the involvement of local communities and civil society in sustainable environmental management.