Jono grew up in Gauteng and Kwa-Zulu Natal and every wild place he could get to in the vicinity of these two provinces. He always preferred to be in the outdoors, whether it was hiking in the Drakensberg, driving in a game reserve, or scuba-diving in the ocean. He began studying Marine Biology and Oceanography at UCT, but changed one major to Ecology and Evolution due to his interest in the whole ecological realm and the other major to Applied Biology because of his passion in global change and conservation. In 2018, Jono completed his Biological Sciences Honours degree, with a project focusing on the restoration of small mammal and vegetation biodiversity after the removal of livestock in the Nama Karoo. In the same year, he attended an African Ecology and Conservation program in South Africa with the Organisation for Tropical Studies. There he experienced refreshing research perspectives and exciting projects and field work.
In 2019, Jono volunteered at the SANParks Cape Research Centre and worked as a field assistant on the Table Mountain Ghost Frog Project for the Endangered Wildlife Trust. Working as a field assistant exposed him to freshwater ecology and herpetology, and he was able to gain field experience with camera traps, and research experience on climate change related studies, while at SANParks. Jono wants to get as much experience as possible in as many biological and interdisciplinary topics as possible, so that he can develop as a well-rounded conservationist. He believes that this program will equip him to help conservation efforts in South Africa and abroad. In the meantime, you can find him hiking on Table Mountain!