Curriculum

The River Authority Curriculum

The River Authority has many resources for educational needs regarding topics including the San Antonio River, water quality, watersheds and erosion. The River Authority also works closely with partner organizations to extend resources that can fit any classroom’s needs regarding aquatic science topics. All River Authority lessons and resources provided are TEKS-aligned.

Scientific Research

WATCH HOW SCIENTISTS STUDY PLANTS AND ANIMALS TO HELP AN ENDANGERED BIRD

The engaging and STEM-related video (9 minutes) discusses the ways that your students are connected to and impact the 240-mile San Antonio River and the endangered whooping crane that winters near the river’s terminus in San Antonio Bay. The video examines scientific research projects that demonstrate how aquatic and marine biologists use wildlife species in the river and bay as indicators of water quality. Students will learn how their voluntary actions can create a sustainable river resource for not only the wildlife but for everyone’s use into the future.

Virtual Field Trip

LEARN HOW S.T.E.A.M. AT CONFLUENCE PARK PLAYS A ROLE IN PROTECTING THE SAN ANTONIO RIVER

Take a field trip to Confluence Park on the banks of the San Antonio River. You will learn how engineers and architects designed the park to be more like a sponge. Learn why using Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math practices is important to working with our land and not against it to protect the San Antonio River.

Spanish Captions Available

Watersheds

BUILD YOUR OWN WATERSHED

Learn how to create a very simple, yet educationally powerful, 3-dimensional watershed model with your students using foil and cups.

TEXAS AQUATIC SCIENCE*: CHAPTER 3 - WHAT IS YOUR WATERSHED ADDRESS?

Appropriate for middle school and high school students, this on-line tool offers an informative video, literature for both students and teachers, rigorous questions and teacher lesson plans.

Water Quality

WATER QUALITY TESTING

In this hands-on activity, students will learn about how abiotic factors, such as pH, temperature, nitrates, and dissolved oxygen, are evaluated to assess water quality. They will also learn how land use and human activity in the watershed will alter these factors. 

WATER QUALITY ASSESSMENT USING REAL-TIME DATA

Students will use the online and GIS-driven dataset and interactive map, using real data that is collected across the San Antonio River watershed to evaluate how rainfall, and other abiotic factors, relate to the overall health and water quality of the San Antonio River and its tributaries. Appropriate for high school students.

COLLECT AND ASSESS MACROINVERTEBRATES

Whether you go outside to a local creek or pond, or bring samples back to lab, this hands-on lesson asks students to identify the biotic factors, such as larval insects and small aquatic organisms, which can be evaluated to assess water quality.

Bays and Estuaries

WHOOPING CRANE STUDENT ACTIVITIES

The International Crane Foundation offers activity packets for ages preschool through high school, along with select activities in Spanish, for use in your classroom! 

WHOOPING CRANE LESSONS

Whooping cranes are an important species of the San Antonio Bay and the estuary ecosystem at the mouth of the San Antonio River. To discover more about this endangered bird species and how humans play a role in their population with educational lessons and activities, visit the International Crane Foundation’s website.

TEXAS AQUATIC SCIENCE*: CHAPTER 11 - BAYS AND ESTUARIES

Appropriate for middle school and high school students, this online tool offers an informative video, literature for both students and teachers, rigorous questions and teacher lesson plans.

ESTUARIES IN THE BALANCE: THE TEXAS COASTAL BEND

A multimedia learning adventure that is an interactive journey following four key species in and near the San Antonio Bay – whooping cranes, blue crabs, oysters, and redfish. You will also investigate how humans can positively and negatively intersect with their fascinating world. Includes educational videos, interactive models, and teacher’s guide.

Volunteerism

The River Authority River Warriors are volunteers that serve as community defenders of the flora and fauna of the waterways. River Warriors give of their time and energy to advance the sustainability of the watershed. Individuals 15 years and older may become one of the River Authority’s volunteers.

You can also volunteer in the Citizen Science Program which is fun and important work for any age, and no experience is necessary! Data collected using the online app iNaturalist on the flora and fauna along the river and around the San Antonio River watershed is important for monitoring the quality of the environment that leads to a healthy river. You can create a project around your campus or even a rain garden. Go to www.iNaturalist.org to learn more, locate San Antonio River projects and take part in this significant, yet simple, data collection.

*Information courtesy of Texas Aquatic Science partners: Texas Parks and Wildlife, The Meadows Center for Water and the Environment, and the Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies. More information at www.texasaquaticscience.org.

Nonpoint Source Pollution

STORMWATER RUNOFF AND POLLUTANT TRAVEL THROUGH WATERSHEDS

Use this hands-on activity to model the distribution of pollutants across land and into our creeks and waterways.

TEXAS AQUATIC SCIENCE*: CHAPTER 14 – WATER FOR PEOPLE AND THE ENVIRONMENT

Appropriate for middle school and high school students, this online tool offers an informative video, literature for both students and teachers, rigorous questions and teacher lesson plans.

BE WATERSHED WISE!

Use these public service commercials and educational posters to showcase how a change in voluntary actions can create a healthier watershed and river. Perhaps have students create their own videos, public service announcements and posters that try to affect positive and informed choices in their community.

Making Informed Decisions and Taking Action

rain gardens

Building a rain garden at your school. Rain gardens are a great way to learn the value of keeping rainwater where it lands, before it can runoff and pick up pollutants on the way to creeks and waterways, as well as beautify your campus and even support pollinators and migratory birds!

Learn about the Water Cycle

If we take care of the water cycle, the water cycle will take care of us! Learn more about the water cycle from the free online curriculum Watt Watchers supported by KLRN.

LEARN ABOUT NATIVE PLANTS AND POLLINATORS

The San Antonio River Authority frequently holds educators professional development. In 2020, in partnership with the Texas Butterfly Ranch and part of the 2020 Monarch Butterfly and Pollinator Festival. Teachers learned about the importance of native plants and the support it provides towards pollinator and bird diversity. Watch the video to virtually take part in this presentation with prize-winning author Dr. Doug Tallamy titled A Guide to Restoring the Little Things that Run the World.

Alerts

Riverfront Parkway – Acequia Lift Station

Thursday, June 20 – Sunday, June 23, Riverfront Parkway is partially closed. Expect delays in traffic due to construction work. We apologize for any inconvenience.

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. 

River Reach Newsletter and Blog Signup

River Reach is offered as a printed, physical mailing to your residence or business. The Blog is a weekly electronic email with news and updates in order to be more environmentally conscious. Please fill out the form below and indicate your preferred method of delivery.

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