Trent University Students Embark on Ten-Day Mexican Tour to Showcase Research on Local Watersheds


Geography Professor Dr. Raul Ponce-Hernandez to Lead
Nine Undergraduate Students on Upcoming Tour

Thursday, April 29, 2010, Peterborough

Trent University Geography professor Dr. Raul Ponce-Hernandez will lead a group of nine undergraduate students on a ten-day Mexican tour to showcase their research project regarding the sustainable land use of two watershed systems located in the states of Tabasco and Campeche in Mexico.

The project is part of a fourth-year "Integrated Watershed Management" course, cross-listed between the Departments of Geography and Environmental and Resource Studies at Trent. As part of the practical component of the course, students undertook the research and development of an integrated watershed management plan. This approach to the teaching of this course is part of a paradigm of “learning-by-doing” while gaining practical experience in a real situation.

“In order to make this exercise as real as possible, we have been soliciting projects from institutions with responsibility for watershed management in different jurisdictions, both national and internationally,” explained Professor Ponce-Hernandez. “This year we engaged the offices of the Ministry of the Environment of Mexico in the States of Tabasco and Campeche in Southeastern Mexico as well as the local university and a postgraduate college as clients.”

As a result of completing a comprehensive Integrated Watershed Management Plan for the Candelaria River Watershed (State of Campeche) and for the Usumacinta River Watershed (State of Tabasco), the students were invited to share their findings with the local Mexican communities.

On May 3 and 4, 2010, Prof. Ponce-Hernandez and the students are scheduled to deliver two presentations of project results at auditoriums in those neighbouring states in Mexico with the presence of government authorities, academics and students from both university and college and public at large. They will also hand over a copy of the report to Mexican environmental authorities from both States.

“This exercise will provide valuable real world experience for the students as well as benefit the local areas that are the topic of discussion,” said Prof. Ponce-Hernandez. “We hope the results from the project will help contribute to sustainable planning of resources in those watersheds.”

In speaking about the advantages of being involved in this hands-on learning project Amber Brant, one of the undergraduate student researchers taking part in the project, said: “Creating a project like this one allows us as students to solidify concepts of the coursework in a professional sense. The integrated approach to ecosystem management is increasing in credibility and popularity in the scientific community.”

Prof. Ponce-Hernandez and the students leave for their ten-day trip on Friday, April 30.


For more information, please contact:
Dr. Raul Ponce-Hernandez, Associate Professor, Geography and Environmental and Resource Studies, Trent University, (705) 748-1011 x7646 or x7965