Growing up at Isipingo Beach, CJ or ‘Roddy’ Cecil Ward as he was better known, developed a love of nature from a young age. However, ccology was hardly known as a word let alone a subject when starting at University in 1946.
Later at the University of Durban Westville, Roddy was the epitome of what a lecturer should be – intelligent, patient, kind and always willing to share his time and expertise with students. In the 50 years to follow, he had a profound impact on thousands of students and colleagues who have sat in his lectures and joined him in field. In his last 25 years as a consulting ecologist, he concentrated on the KwaZulu-Natal coastal vegetation and its associated environmental factors.
He also worked inland and in Namibia, Nigeria and Swaziland. Cecil Ward had been registered with a number of professional bodies and also had vast experience in aerial photography and photographic interpretation. Publications include the Plant Ecology of the Isipingo Beach Area, for which he was awarded the Captain Scott Memorial Medal, as well as countless papers in scientific journals.
With his soft-spoken words and ‘get-on-with-it’ attitude, Cecil Ward continued to investigate, report and advised on the changing landscape of our environment, in the hope that it would motivate others to follow his example of talking less and doing more. Ward was the first recipient of the John Medley Wood Award from the Durban Botanic Gardens Trust. Cecil passed away in 2015 at the age of 88 years.