My name is Lauren Zatkos, and I am currently working as a Faculty Research Assistant in the Arismendi Freshwater Ecology and Conservation Laboratory in Oregon (U.S.). I gained my Master’s in Fisheries Science while working with aquatic food webs and Coastal Cutthroat Trout, which strengthened my already deep appreciation and passion for freshwater ecosystems and the organisms that live there. The area I live in is a drainage that feeds into the Columbia River, and the great rivers of this valley have been dammed for flood control and electricity. Being in the U.S. Pacific Northwest, these dams are a point of fisheries conservation concern as they have blocked the movement of valuable species such as Pacific salmon, Pacific lamprey, and sturgeons. My awareness of impacts caused by alteration to these rivers has continued to grow as I have spent more time living and working here, and I hope to continue learning about and working with these freshwater systems and for the fish that inhabit them.
I hope to use my art to convey how valuable and precious our aquatic ecosystems are. Through art I believe we can share an appreciation for the natural world that can bridge divides between cultures, ages groups, and backgrounds. To be able to share the beauty I see in fish with both the public as well as current fish enthusiasts is a gift that I appreciate more every day, and I hope to use this gift to make a contribution to aquatic conservation in the future.