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After living in the wilderness of Wisconsin during the summer of 2009, I discovered my passion for fieldwork and aquatic ecosystems. I followed this passion to the tropical areas of Costa Rica and to the dry, rural communities of Nicaragua. After immersing myself in the diverse culture of Central America, I decided to build on my environmental science background by integrating social science into my research. As a National Geographic Young Explorer I plan to continue researching the relationship between science and society while exploring the awe-inspiring Lake Atitlan and working with the Maya fishing community that relies on this changing lake.

Chajil Ch’upup: Modern Guardians of a Life-Giving Plant

The Chajil Ch’upup fishing association in San Juan La Laguna get together to plant reed beds along the Atitlan shorelines promoting a healthy environment for their Tz’utujil village.

Adaptability 1–Detailed Itinerary 0

Abandoning the detailed itinerary she went in with, a young researcher learns to adapt to local conditions as she interviews traditional Guatemalan fishermen.

Students and Scientists Unite Around a Beloved Lake

During the past two weeks I have been fortunate to coordinate with a project funded by USAID, United for Atitlan. This group of local and international scientists has been integral in developing a lake monitoring system for Lake Atitlan and I’d like to bring to light some of their project goals and my experience working with such a dynamic crew.

A First Look at the Daily Life of an Atitlan Fisherman

Follow along as Young Explorer Grantee Sarah Calhoun discovers the rhythms of live among traditional fishermen, hoping to use their knowledge to better monitor and protect their beautiful natural environment.