Recapping 2023 Events with the San Antonio River Foundation

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A tall puppet under a pavilion surrounded by people.

Last Updated on February 1, 2024

This piece is contributed by the San Antonio River Foundation, a nonprofit organization that supports scientific and educational activities that promote and encourage the conservation, stewardship, restoration, preservation and enjoyment of the land and water resources of the San Antonio River Basin.


The River Foundation sponsors programs and initiatives that help to preserve, enhance, and transform the San Antonio River Basin and cultivate the next generation of environmental stewards. As the programmatic managers of Confluence Park, we strive to provide experiences that are diverse, equitable, and inclusive for all members of our community. Since the River Foundation’s founding in 2003, we have hosted 286 arts and culture programs, 592 educational programs and field trips, 446 ecological programs, and 565 recreational programs. Here is a look at a few of our favorites from this year!


On July 16, 2023, Confluence Park hosted the inspiring event “Agua es Vida: Water is Life,” a profound exploration of the significance of safeguarding the San Antonio River and its vital role for various species in partnership with Marissa Ramirez of Books in the BarrioRosie Torresan indigenous dancer and choreographer, led the program centered around the award-winning book “We Are Water Protectors” by Ojibwe author Carole Lindstrom.

A woman and child admire the river.

Torres initiated the event with a Land Acknowledgment, incorporating movement, song, and a call to the four directions. A bilingual reading of “We Are Water Protectors” followed, emphasizing the importance of water conservation. The program continued with a riverbank water ritual and a nature walk guided by the Urban Bird Project. As a meaningful takeaway, children received free copies of “We Are Water Protectors” and shared turtle conchas and aguas frescas under the concrete petals of Confluence Park.


On October 15, 2023, Confluence Park came alive with a captivating celebration of the monarch butterfly’s 3,000-mile southern migration.

“Flutter” brought Houston-based Open Dance Project‘s theatrical approach outdoors as they responded to Confluence Park’s natural and architectural beauty. The performance incorporated painted textiles and artistic props by Natasha Bowdoin, inspired by the exploration of humankind’s connection to the natural world.

Three dancers pose on top of rocks.

Choreographic director Annie Arnoult, drawing inspiration from butterfly gestures and movement patterns, assembled a cast of characters that were simultaneously human and butterfly-like, inviting viewers to follow these enchanting “butterfly creatures” on mini-migrations throughout Confluence Park and along the San Antonio River Walk.

Between performances, the River Foundation, in collaboration with The Nectar Bar, offered guests a unique opportunity to tag and release monarch butterflies. Attendees learned about the fascinating journey of these butterflies and the importance of their migration.


On Sunday, October 22, Confluence Park hosted a touching event featuring Little Amal, the beloved 12-foot puppet representing a 10-year-old Muslim girl and Syrian refugee. Amal, meaning “Hope” in Arabic, highlights global immigration challenges, fostering awareness, empathy, and dialogue on the refugee crisis.

A tall puppet under a pavilion surrounded by people.

As part of her 6000+ mile walk across America from Boston to San Diego, Confluence Park became the canvas for “A Place to Call My Own,” a community project by artists Ashley Mireles and Anthony Rundblade. Attendees followed Little Amal through the park, picking up intricately crafted cardboard houses to create a village—a symbolic gesture of unity and support. The event, supported by the River Foundation, San Antonio Area Foundation, City Council District 3, City of San Antonio Department of Arts and Culture, and numerous members of the San Antonio community, delivered a visually captivating experience and emphasized collective action for refugee advocacy.

Stay tuned to the River Foundation’s events calendar and social media channels for updates on the exciting programming and events throughout the year. Don’t miss out on the next round of fun! Follow us on FacebookInstagram, and X, formerly Twitter.

San Antonio River Foundation Promotional image


Are you interested in helping the River Foundation achieve our mission? As a nonprofit, we are reliant on donations from supporters like you! Your donation helps to amplify our impact of providing world-class stewardship for the San Antonio River Basin, reviving native landscapes, repopulating native species, and providing nature-based, river-centric community opportunities for arts & culture, education, ecology, and recreation. These efforts have positively impacted over 99,250 community members at Confluence Park and tens of thousands more enjoying our creeks and rivers.

We invite you to pledge your support to the conservation, restoration, preservation, and enjoyment of the land and water resources of the San Antonio River Basin and follow along (and join in) our adventures in 2023!


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