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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Students find more than party town in Rocky Point

    Students often travel to Rocky Point, Mexico for their spring break vacation, long weekends, or just as an excuse to party. Besides the commonly heard excuses to travel there, some UA students are also going to study marine biology in estuaries along the Gulf of California.

    The Center for the Study of Deserts and Oceans, or CEDO, is a non-profit organization that provides students with resources to study the environment in Rocky Point. The UA sends students to the CEDO field station in order to get hands-on experience in these estuaries.

    “”One of those kids talked about changing the tone of going down to Rocky Point from being a party beach town,”” said research associate for CEDO Alyssa Rosemartin. “”If kids just went down and talked to a local, or thought about the changes they’d seen in the community over time, I think that would be really cool.””

    UA students from all different majors are taking trips down to Rocky Point to study the coast and participate in service projects.

    “”A lot of groups go down purely for research and for group experience of spending time together,”” said Rosemartin. “”About 25 percent do some kind of service project and when I was an intern, I was always trying to promote it.””

    Ellen McMahon, president of the board of directors at CEDO, has taken around 120 students down there in her art, design and illustration classes. These students participated in volunteer projects such as painting a mural on the outside of a small oyster restaurant.

    “”They are applying their skills that they’ve learned as students to real life situations,”” said McMahon, “”It’s very good for them to see their work and to make a difference in the real world.””

    McMahon also mentioned that she hasn’t taken students there since the recent UA travel alert cautioning against Mexico travel due to violence on the border.

    “”There isn’t really any violence in the town we cross the border in,”” she said. “”I don’t know if there are any instances of tourists being involved.””

    Assistant director of CEDO Alejandro Castillo says there are ways of being a responsible tourist.

    “”Respect the local identity, respect the culture, try to understand how the community works,”” he said. “”There are so many things that are special about this place, so just profit from it.””

    The high level of tourism in the area has put the estuaries in danger of being destroyed, Castillo said. Condominiums and other developments are quickly taking up much of the coastal region.

    Castillo said some of the issues the coastal area faces are littering and water consumption. He also mentioned that people like to take shells, and they don’t realize that the shells and their residents are alive and part of the system.

    “”Go and enjoy it and drink your beer,”” he said. “”There’s no better way to enjoy nature than having a beer but appreciate it while you are doing it.””

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