Education and Engagement Team celebrates a successful school year serving over 10,500 students

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River Authority Educators hold up signs

“In the end, we will conserve only what we love; we will love only what we understand, and we will understand only what we are taught.”Baba Dioum

Teaching is a Work of Heart! The River Authority Education and Engagement team’s mission is to inspire citizens of all ages to take action in their communities toward the stewardship and sustainability of the San Antonio River and its tributaries. Our team aims to accomplish this mission by utilizing the best environmental education practices and tools necessary for students of all ages to create and carry forward their own innovative ideas for preserving the health of our local creeks and the San Antonio River!

School Year 2023-2024 Outreach

This year was a big one for this small but mighty Education and Engagement team! The team travels extensively throughout the watershed, from the northern edge of Bexar County to the riverside town of Goliad, to bring river-centric field trips with water quality topics into classrooms and local parks.

This 2023-2024 school year, the team served over 10,500 students in grades K-12 across the four counties of the San Antonio River Basin as well as surrounding counties and out-of-state groups. These classes came from 13 school districts in Bexar County, 8 districts in the Southern Basin, 2 in surrounding counties, and 2 from out of state. Additionally, the team served 4 charter schools, 4 private schools, and 6 homeschool groups.

The team also worked directly with 102 university students from classes at UTSA, UIW and OLLU.

Field Trips

Student walk along the path towards San Pedro Creek Culture Park

Teachers often work closely with the River Authority to bring students to the banks of the San Antonio River for hands-on field experiences at nature-based parks including Confluence Park, San Pedro Creek Culture Park and Acequia Park in San Antonio, Helton Nature Park in Floresville, Escondido Creek Parkway in Kenedy, and Branch River Park in Goliad. These educational field trips offer water quality lessons, nature-based explorations, and science-themed games to uncover the influence of personal and collective choices on the San Antonio River and often include collaborations with many of the River Authority’s departments including Engineering, Environmental Sciences, GIS, Information Technology, Utilities, and Watershed and Park Operations. These experiences give students the opportunity to get out in nature and learn from experts while participating in their community—which also helps build ownership of their landscape.

This school year, the River Authority hosted 47 fields trips for 3138 students and their teachers.

Classroom Presentations

Student gather around lab bench for demonstration

The River Authority also offers TEKS-aligned, inquiry-driven classroom presentations for 1st through 12th-grade students in Bexar, Wilson, Karnes, and Goliad Counties. These presentations can be conducted either virtually or in person and explore topics ranging from aquatic biology to engineering for flood control and non-point source pollution.

This school year, the River Authority conducted 27 classroom presentations for 3491 students and their teachers.

A Big Year for Events!

Classroom watches a movie

The River Authority’s Education and Engagement team hosted and participated in a number of large events this past year including the NASA In-Flight Educational Downlink (pictured above), a collaboration with the Advanced Learning Academy (ALA) and NASA astronaut Loral O’Hara that drew a whopping 2,699 participants both in-person at the ALA’s NASA STEAM Fair and virtually as classrooms and partners tuned in throughout the basin. If you missed the livestream, no fear—you can now watch it online!

A teacher receives an achievement

The team also joined creative forces with the River Authority’s Environmental Sciences and Engineering departments and the San Antonio River Foundation to pilot the first inaugural San Antonio River STEM Challenge for students at NEISD STEM Academy at Nimitz Middle School. Students visited flood control infrastructure across downtown San Antonio and engineered their solutions to solving the twin problems of pollution and flooding in their community.

A young girl scout talks to a River Authority educator

That’s not all! The River Authority was proud to take part in the Girl’s Inc. RockIT Into the Future Science Festival, Goliad ISD’s 2nd Annual “Let’s Get Healthy Together” Family Night, CAST Schools Speak Up Speak Out San Antonio Civics Fair, and SA Smart Mayor’s K-12 Smart City Challenge. The team interacted with 659 students and family members who attended these events!

Thank You Educators!

Students observe the flood model

Thanks to educators and school staff that came out to visit our team at the San Antonio River, invited us into your classrooms, conducted a campus cleanup, used online curriculum, volunteered with our River Warrior team, or attended an educator workshop! These astounding numbers are only achieved through the positive relationships fostered between the agency’s educators and classroom educators whose passion, hard work, and dedication to earth stewardship inspires us all. Thank you for going above and beyond to nurture the future generation of environmental stewards and encourage action for healthy creeks and rivers. We appreciate you today and every day!

Thank You Partners!

Two boys reach out to touch aquatic organism

The work of the River Authority’s Education and Engagement team would not be possible without our fantastic and dedicated local partners, including the San Antonio River Foundation, who is a key ally in our efforts to provide cost-free field trip opportunities at Confluence Park. This year, we have also partnered with the Alamo Area Master Naturalists, Texas Children in Nature Network, San Antonio Missions National Historical Park, Texas A&M AgriLife and 4H partners in Wilson, Karnes, and Goliad Counties, Texas Wildlife Association, Region 20, Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority, Mitchell Lake Audubon Center, Outdoor Learning in Texas, San Antonio Botanical Garden, The Witte Museum, H.E. Butt Foundation Outdoor School, and the Texas Floating Classroom.

Learn More

Whether you represent a gardening club, a K-12 school, or homeschool group, we look forward to working with you on providing information about the San Antonio River. All presentations are free, and they are booked on a first-come, first-serve basis. If you’d like to receive information about teacher workshops, field trips, and presentations, sign up for our educator contact list!

River Authority Educators hold up signs

Have a wonderful summer and we’ll see you in the fall!

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Alerts

San Pedro Creek: Rains from the Heavens

The Rains from the Heavens water wall at San Pedro Creek will be shut off due to maintenance Tuesday, June 18th. There will also be some road closures that day, so please be mindful if you are in this area. We apologize for the inconvenience.

Acequia Trail Notice

The Acequia trail will have heavy traffic near MROC starting May 22nd until further notice. The SAWS Acequia project will be bringing in crews to work on the lift station site and across the street. There will have flaggers to stop traffic, please use caution. 

SASPAMCO Paddling Trail

The SASPAMCO paddling trail is open from River Crossing Park to Helton Nature Park.
*Please Note: Paddling Trail from Helton Nature Park to HWY 97 is still closed due to blockages. 

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