While studying Environmental Science at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth Texas, I have amplified my knowledge and passion for studying the ecosystems around the world. By having the opportunity to work with Wetlands International through the TCU Global Academy, I was immersed in the Panamanian culture and enabled to learn an immense amount of knowledge on the local wetlands. Through hard work and dedication, Wetlands International provided an educational experience that was both exciting and interactive.
Until communicating with Julio Montes de Oca L. and Sander Carpay, I was not educated on some of the challenges and setbacks that Panamá is facing with the destruction and harmful impacts on the wetlands in the Bay of Panama. By taking my group into the field, Wetlands International was able to give us firsthand experiences and allow us to identify issues on our own with their provided guidance and direction. Some of locations we visited were the Metropolitan Park, the mudflats and mangroves, the water treatment plant, and Cerro Ancón. These locations not only allowed for us to learn about the important wetlands in Panamá, but experience some of the locations that exhibit Panamá’s culture and beauty.
Before working with Wetlands International, I understood that Panamá was increasing economically, but I was unaware of the severity of how the environment and local people are being deleteriously affected. I believe this is partly because people get caught up in their everyday life and rarely take a step back to look at situations with a broader view. By seeing damages that the wetlands face, I have been given a new perspective on how to address and aim to fix those challenges. While walking the boardwalk through the white mangroves and seeing the sea of plastic, it enabled us to capture the disheartening image of people harming the environment; it personally makes me never want to buy plastic products again. I did not understand the severity of how some of our actions hurt the environment, but the field experience was eye opening. With the visual aid and vast amount of knowledge that Julio and Sander provided, I was able to expand my understanding on the topics and become intrigued with learning more.
This experience has positively impacted my view on wetlands, and has given me a new perspective. I feel that I can now confidently address situations that Panamá is facing with regards to the wetlands, and plan on furthering my education on the topic. I hope to be able to continue to stay in touch with Wetlands International and become a resource that they could utilize in the future.
Environmental Science Major 2016
Texas Christian University
Additional photos by Sander Carpay
Other blogs & articles:
Jimmy Greene – Culture Quest Seeking Global Sustainability
Janette Quezada – Exploring the Truth
Katherine Pfeiffer – Exploring Panamá
Devin Rayburn – Learning and Fun in the Wetlands
Ciudad del Saber – Presentación de estudiantes de TCU para la comunidad Ciudad del Saber (Spanish)