Ecological and Social Issues at Lake Atitlan, Guatemala
Eliska Rejmankova is a Professor of Aquatic and Wetland Ecology in the department of Environmental Science and Policy. She has been teaching ecological field and lab courses at UC Davis for over 20 years. In 2002, while taking a Spanish language immersion course located on the coast of Lake Atitlan, she became enamored with the rich cultural and natural ecology, and began studying Lake Atitlan. Since then, she has co-lead three Atitlan research expeditions (2010, 2012 and 2013; see blog). She is dedicated to improving the current lake situation and has been very passionate about fighting to save the lake.
A Message to Students and Parents
I have been working with Guatemalan and US student groups as well as researchers during three longer expeditions and countless shorter trips. This has been more than scientific experience. In studying Lake Atitlan, I have been exposed to the tremendous complexity of human and nature relationships. The fight to save Lake Atitlan (in many aspects paralleling the fight to save Lake Tahoe) is more than just a local issue. It is a crystallization of much wider global problems.
During these expeditions, there is always a very special atmosphere. Participants bond over the common goal to improve the lake ecosystem, while being immersed in the local culture. Many of the former student participants return back to assist as experienced teaching assistants.
In addition to leading this Summer Abroad program for several years, over the past 20 years, I have organized and led several University research expedition programs in Central America, mentoring countless students and educators, and interested stakeholders.
What Students Are Saying
- "An amazing experience to learn about real problems and actually have the capacity to help."
- "Eliksa is an amazing professor. She is so passionate about her work and has a way of really instilling a thirst to learn."
- "I think that I speak for everyone on this trip when I say that we have fallen in love with Lake Atitlan, the local people, their culture, and made lifelong friends in the process."