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Trevor Ankiewicz grew up on a highveld farm in the Bronkhorstspruit district. Having completed secondary school at Belfast High School he furthered his studies at the Saasveld School for Foresters on the outskirts of George. Upon graduating in 1966 he was transferred to the South African Forestry Research institute in Pretoria. There, as a research forrester, he was tasked with collecting the fruits of ornamental trees in the streets and cemeteries of the capital for the central seed store.
He worked for several years in the Department of Agricultural and Technical Services as a horticulturalist at their Horticultural and Botanical Research Institute in Pretoria. He returned to Saasveld in 1983 and continued working as an extension forester until completing his career in the civil service as a public relations officer for the Department of Nature and Environmental Conservation in the Southern Cape Regional Office in George. He later became involved as an environmental educator for the South African Forestry Company Limited (SAFCOL) with regards to the accreditation by the Forestry Stewardship Council (FSC) of native forests and commercial plantations.
During collecting trips as a pupil forester, he realised the fruits and pods were often an easy way of identifying the trees. Here the idea was conceived of producing a field guide concentrating on these diagnostic features to supplement the many excellent publications already available on indigenous South African trees.
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