Jonathan Foley

Jonathan Bernard Foley

Doctoral Student

Jonathan Foley

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Horticulture lecturer Durban University of Technology

Mtech (DUT) Post Grad Environment and Development (UN) NHD Horticulture (TN) ND Graphic Design (TN)

Study focus

Jonathan’s focus is Nature Communication and his study examines the attitudes, perceptions and value systems of the so called Millennial or Generation Y towards local Biodiversity. ‘Biodiversity’ describes the richness of plant and animal life.  The audience is South African young people between the ages of 18-34 currently studying at the University of KwaZulu-Natal and the Durban University of Technology. He is investigating the innate attraction and affinity towards nature that some people demonstrate (also termed ‘biophilia’ or love for living things) and is seeking for ways to sensitize more students to the intrinsic value that local biodiversity can provide. The study sites are Pigeon Valley and the Durban Botanic Gardens, both within walking distance from each institution. One of the key areas of investigation is establish the nature of the existing connection between students and local biodiversity and to propose suitable communication solutions using interpretive strategies such as print, film and social media. The study also examines social, cultural and historic constructs of Nature that may influence opinion and shape behaviour. Western environmental paradigms are critically examined and contrasted with traditional Zulu beliefs.

Hobbies:  Fine art, history, hiking and Church

Other accomplishments

  • Head of Department Horticulture (DUT) 2000-2006
  • Academic leader/facilitator  School of Horticulture (DUT) 2007 to date
  •  SALI (South African Landscapers Institute) approved landscape designer

Jonathan’s horticultural experience and landscaping work has exposed him to a wide range of activities within Botany, Conservation and the Natural sciences. As an educator for some nineteen years at a career focused institution he has shared these experiences and passion for Nature with young people.  During this process of igniting connections with plants he realized that most people were simply unaware of the natural world around them, there was no apparent deeper connection or link.  Further investigation led him to believe that this perception gap could be filled in part by creating a bridge between sciences and the humanities using communication strategies people can easily understand and relate to.

As a newcomer to the field of academic publishing he wishes to interact and collaborate with other suitable like-minded individuals or institutions. He can contribute in terms of natural sciences, environmental history and graphic communication skills.

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