Final Thoughts on My Trip to Panama

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I have never been one to have great concern for the environment. I would recycle when I remembered and I would pay attention to climate change, but I never took much interest in environmental concerns. After working with Wetlands International and traveling in Panama I have completely changed my mind.

In preparation for this trip, I researched mangroves and learned about their benefits and the threats endangering this species; however, I had never fully grasped the true importance of the work. Once I saw the mangroves in person, the work I was doing became more real. I fully understood the need the local people have for the mangroves and the real, devastating effects of mangrove destruction.

After learning that one of the biggest threats to mangroves is trash from locals not having a good trash system and waste washing up from the sea, I am inspired to recycle more. Working with Wetlands International, I am committed to increasing awareness and promoting education for the environment, and specifically the mangroves.

In addition to my work directly with Wetlands International, just exploring Panama in general has changed my opinion on the environment. When we visited the canal, we learned that the canal wastes 52 million gallons of fresh water is needed per transit through the canal, before being dumped into the sea.

Later in the week my group saw the rainforest, mountains, Caribbean Sea and the Pacific coast. Seeing all of these luscious, vibrant, green areas allowed me to see the pure, raw beauty of the earth. In an era of mass innovation, construction and industrialization, it is very rare to see so many different shades of green, or pure blue water. I saw these colors and more in Panama. Seeing the beauty of the earth has motivated me to better protect it.

The environmental concerns have become a reality for me. I am grateful for this experience and for the change of perspective. We must protect this earth for it protects us, and one way to accomplish this goal it to protect the mangroves.


These are entries by students from Texas Christian University (Fort Worth, TX, USA) Roxo students traveling to Panama for Spring Break to work with Wetlands International on the Mangrove Project.

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