In May, Kanatous’ class visited schools to discuss marine science. Involvement from Zenteno-Savin, who has worked at CIBNOR for 16 years, was incredibly beneficial in making connections with the students as well with CSU students by offering a different cultural perspective, as she helped create a cultural bridge and translated the science aspects of the project, Kanatous said.
“I had the benefit of Tania as a colleague. If it was just us going in to local schools, it still doesn’t seem attainable because we are still ‘the U.S.’ We had Spanish speakers, but no one else fluent enough in science, Kanatous said, noting that science has a language of its own and Zenteneo-Savin was able to translate the science for local students.
The CSU group also visited with younger students and created fish prints as part of an art project. Zenteno-Savin’s presence was once again critical in connecting with local students. “You can see the students,” Kanatous said. “They react differently when Tania is present than when she is not.”
Zenteno-Savin was helping CSU connect with local researchers, as well. CIBNOR is a research partner of CSU and she is helping to connect CSU researchers with other researchers located in Baja California Sur.
The marine biology course is an annual focus for Kanatous, but he is exploring new research opportunities.
“With climate change, we are seeing the available fish changing, so local communities have to change their diets because the fish they are getting are different,” Kanatous said. How local residents replace the specific nutritional elements lost by the change of fish available in local waters is a question the CSU team would like to explore.
Beyond teaching his students about marine biology in a marine environment far from Fort Collins, allowing students to learn within a culture different from what they may have experienced has created the opportunity for dynamic learning experiences.
“I think it’s a game-changer, quite honestly, for students and for faculty. I think the Todos Santos Center could be a game-changer for Colorado State University if it continues to be set up the way it is,” he said. “The ability to understand and learn how to interact with different cultures are prime situations that Todos Santos offers.”
The Biology Department is grateful to Hach Chemical Corporation of Loveland, CO (http://www.hach.com/), for donating about $30,000 of water monitoring equipment used by students in the field!