Raised in a rural area outside of Philadelphia by a reporter and a photographer, Jason was fortunate to be exposed to the larger world from an early age. From a student exchange in Mexico City at age twelve to a fairly multi-cultural Quaker high school education, his curiosity in the diversity of human experience has only grown. As a biology undergraduate at Earlham College, Jason focused primarily on ecological and evolutionary ornithology while gaining a broad liberal arts training, and he studied biology and anthropology abroad in Kenya and Ecuador. During his first job out of college conducting fire ecology research and management for The Nature Conservancy, his interest in ornithology began to wane as the first shoots of his work in ecosystem ecology took root. As a volunteer teaching high school science with in northern Ghana, his initial exposure to agricultural development in the tropics was in co-founding a peanut cooperative.