Environmental sustainability students conduct research in Guatemala
2017 Aug 24
It's one thing to read about water resource problems and environmental issues in the developing world. It's an entirely different experience to see these issues - and the people they affect - first-hand and work toward solutions.
Sixteen environmental sustainability students from SUNY Oneonta recently returned from a summer international field course where they did just that. In its fourth year, the field course, called "Water and Environment of Guatemala," brought students to Guatemala for two weeks, where they took water samples and analyzed water quality data from Lake Atitlan and the surrounding drainage basin. The course is led by Associate Professor of Geography and Environmental Sciences Tracy Allen.
Based on their observations, interactions with local residents, and data collection, students worked to identify sustainable solutions to the area's water resources problems. Students were also able to learn about agriculture while touring a coffee plantation and, later, take in the area's natural wonders, including the Pacaya volcano, which is active.
The students went into a Guatemalan elementary school to teach fifth and sixth graders about the lake and water quality, and they also installed water filtration systems into some of the area homes.
Students said these interactions were particularly meaningful and rewarding, and the trip was eye-opening.