Mariana Rodriguez Valencia

Project Info

Role GESA 2013 participant
Nationality Mexican

Project Description

During my master studies I assessed the social and cultural elements that sustain and foster a group hunting Mayan practice (batida) in Los Petenes, an indigenous community of the Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico. Thanks to the several visits I made to the community and the trusting relationships I established with the hunters and their families, I understood that the batida (a livelihood practice) applies three types of interactions with the environment – rich worldview, deep knowledge and several restrictive resource norms. The results were discussed from a social and ecological perspective and were published in a M.Sc. Thesis and in the Journal of Ethnobiology. Through this research experience, I learnt the importance of working respectfully with holders of traditional knowledge and the role of their environmental knowledge in creating conservation strategies for biological and cultural heritage.

At the present time, I work as a museographer with the Environmental Science Museum Project of the University of Guadalajara. This project aims to facilitate an understanding of the city and inspire conservation of the ecosystems that sustain it by creating a world-class science and technology museum that explores the confluence of environmental, cultural, social, and economic influences on the ecosystems of Western Mexico. Alongside my regular employment, I have also been collaborating as an external consultant by carrying out non formal educational programs related to environmental issues in two NGOs: Environmental Defense and Human Rights (DADH, AC) and Lectobus Conocimiento en Movimiento A.C. These experiences have reinforced upon me the necessity of analyzing the environmental problems from a multidisciplinary approach and to recognize the importance of the educational process in achieving a better quality of life for local communities.

My future short- and long- term career goals are to start this September my studies of PhD in Natural Resources and Environment Management at the University of Manitoba, where I have been accepted. I am particularly interested on the subjects of Natural Sacred Sites (NSS) and community-based conservation. Following the completion of the Ph.D., I plan to conduct a research program at a Mexican University in the area of Human Ecology, which in a Mexican context refers to the study of the inter-relationships between society and environment.


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