Posted: March 13, 2017

I was chopping lettuce for our burrito lunch while listening in on the students interviewing Ben and Sharyn (the founders of a community forest) when Molly, a pileated gibbon, appeared outside the window. I wrote that first sentence casually because a semi-wild (previously rescued and rehabilitated) gibbon making an appearance when you are chopping lettuce is not a casual thing… at all. But, as all the students and I were all googly eyed and pretending not to be distracted by this primate eating our leftover breakfast papaya, Ben and Sharyn just kept on chatting away answering questions without batting an eye. Maybe I’m not doing this scene justice, but Ben just kept on passionately talking away while there was a semi-wild gibbon messily eating papaya right outside the window. Times like this, I truly wonder how I find myself in these situations. I honestly thought that after graduation I would be in a big city at a big company quietly eating lunch at some nearby cafe instead of eating homemade burritos surrounded by the sound of wild peafowl and macaques in a dry deciduous forest in rural Cambodia. If you told me this is what I would be doing a year ago, I wouldn’t have believed you. But now I know there’s nowhere else I’d rather be chopping lettuce.


Molly the Pileated Gibbon soaring through the trees. All photos courtesy of Peter Wedell


Students hiking through the dry deciduous forest


Students having class underneath one of the bungalows they stay in


Center Director Georgina Lloyd observing a Green peafowl at BeTreed


Molly the Pileated Gibbon hanging out in the trees near the bungalow

→ Conservation, Ethics, and Environmental Change in Cambodia