First tree Emily and co-volunteers planted into a
disturbed forest patch Photo: Courtesy Emily Strautins
Emily Strautins - C3 Biodiversity Research Group, Honours student
Where did you go?
Kinabatangan River in Sabah, Borneo
What did you do there?
Volunteered for a locally run community group that will help restore, utilise and protect the forest while providing a source of income for members of the rural village, by establishing sustainable tourism.
Best experience? Something that really amazed you?
On an afternoon off, going for a cruise on the lake and chancing upon a wild male orang-utan. Also the passion of the local people, many of who had worked as volunteers themselves before the centre could afford to pay them and yet sticking around due to their love of the forest.
It was an amazing experience, which probably toughened me up and pushed me to carry on even when it comes to hard, physical work out in the middle of the wilderness. It also made me realise how much there still is to learn about the natural world particularly in less developed areas, and how change for the betterment of the environment can occur.