Conservation and Environment in Cambodia: Monthly Updates
Conservation in Cambodia – Monthly Update November – December 2013
Although the November and December period involved some extremely windy weather, the volunteers still managed to successfully complete 39 seahorse surveys, with 22 seahorse sightings.
When the weather made it difficult to dive in the seahorse study area, everyone was more than excited to go diving at the reef sites and help out our long-term volunteer, Niki, with some Nudibranch research. The volunteers were also responsible for a hive of activity at the Khmer school; cleaning, painting, demolishing, and rebuilding the classrooms to give the school a much needed revamp!
The volunteers conducted 39 seahorse surveys throughout November and December, which given some strong winds, was a big achievement. In November, we had a lot of volunteers keen to be involved in data analysis and report writing, which has been a great help in producing the yearly report. A lot of our longer term volunteers have also stepped up and have been conducting the more senior roles in the survey and helping teach new volunteers, which is great to see.
In December, a lot of our longer term volunteers finished their time with us and so we have had a lot of new volunteers to train, but due to their fast learning most were part of the survey team very quickly and were willing to try out new survey roles whenever needed.
In December, the volunteers have also enjoyed getting involved in the nudibranch research work of our long term volunteer, Niki. At the beginning of the month, the volunteers were involved in a number of training dives aimed at learning how to identify nudibranchs and common habitats they are found on. While at the end of the month, the volunteers learnt a new survey methodology and we conducted our first set of nudibranch surveys at the different reef sites around the island.
Some more strong winds and currents have brought a lot of rubbish onto the shores of Koh Rong Samloem. Being able to see the rubbish being carried through the water to the shore has motivated the volunteers to do a lot of clean ups at Longbeach and Sunset Rocks.
We have also been doing some clean ups on a beach of the nearby island, Koh Koun, which the volunteers are enjoying as they get to go snorkelling on nearby Boatmans Bay after the clean.
With our teaching volunteer, Giovanna, we have been doing some English conversation lessons for some of the older children in the village. Seeing their older brothers and sisters learning English has also sparked greater interest in the younger children, who have been coming to the bungalow in the afternoons for English.
With the Khmer school open again, the playground is seeing a lot more activity from the kids this month and needed some maintenance. The volunteers went to work fixing the balance beam and rope bridge, as well as giving the playground a general clean and topping up the sand.
Khmer school refurbishment
The teachers at the Khmer school have asked us to help refurbish the school in December. The volunteers have been very helpful and have had a lot of fun cleaning, painting, gardening and getting involved in a little light construction. The activity attracts a lot of attention from the kids as well, so there is always a little time made for playing games.
When they weren’t in the water, this month the volunteers added a new mural to the dive shed. When the paint finally ended up on the walls, and not each other, the end result was a beautiful jungle scene.
Our new staff members, Rachel and James, also started up a volleyball tournament in which the volunteers competed with, and against, some of the local village boys and staff.
Conservation Coordinator, Cambodia