Read Time: 4.5 minutes
The “My River POV” series provides readers the opportunity to learn about the unique insight and experiences of the San Antonio River Authority (River Authority) staff and their personal connection to the San Antonio River in hopes of inspiring stewardship of area creeks and rivers.
Julen Navarrete, Public Art Intern
I major in geography and environmental sustainability, with a minor in civic engagement, at The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA). I want to go into urban planning and focus on environmental restoration, so the River Authority is where I want to be!
During my previous internship with the City of San Antonio’s Global Engagement Office (COSA–GEO), it became a personal goal to work with the River Authority. While planning for the opening of the North American Friendship Garden at Confluence Park, I saw partners from the River Authority take a leading role. I realized the organization was an important catalyst for environmental restoration and conservation efforts in San Antonio and the global community. It was inspiring, and I hoped to someday emulate them.
In my role as Public Art Intern, I help with artist selection processes, artwork installations, booking talent, video production, and program development. Together we work to promote events and programs at the San Pedro Creek Culture Park (Culture Park).
The San Pedro Creek itself holds incredible personal significance for me. When my grandparents moved to San Antonio in the mid-70s, they found a small house on L Street and Kingsbury Street, steps away from the creek. My mother has memories of splashing around in the creek with her cousins and siblings and walking with her grandma down Camaron Street to watch movies at the Alameda. My parents also met alongside the creek attending Fox Tech High School— the school my cousins, brother, and I would eventually attend.
In the short time that I’ve been an intern with the River Authority, I have had many opportunities to contribute my talents and skills. Some of my ongoing projects include planning for the “Get Creative” and “Creekside Chats” series on the Culture Park’s YouTube channel and helping facilitate tours to community groups and local media. I have also been working closely with the Branding and Public Communications team to provide content for social media outlets. Through the River Authority, I also had the opportunity to attend the American Water Works Association’s Annual Conference and Exhibition. It was my first large-scale professional conference and opened my eyes to all the professions that encompass the water industry. My favorite days are when I walk the portion of the Culture Park set to open in October and get a sneak peek at the last stages of a project I have followed since I was a little boy.
Interning with the River Authority has been an amazing opportunity. I love telling people what I do and get excited when they ask me questions about the Culture Park. It is an incredible honor working behind the scenes and being a small part of the creek’s revitalization.
Liliana Nelms, Education and Engagement Intern
As a local San Antonian and environmental science major at UTSA, I thought I knew everything I needed to know about the San Antonio River. I knew about the downtown River Walk, the blue hole near the University of the Incarnate Word campus, and that the River Authority oversaw the water quality. I thought there wasn’t much else that I needed to know. Becoming the Education and Engagement Intern at the River Authority showed me that I had much more to learn.
Going into this internship, I was looking to further my experience in conservation education. Although I had worked with children before, I hoped to have more opportunities to teach adults. I felt the need to broaden my knowledge of environmental education to include educating adults on environmental issues. I experienced a wide variety of events and programs that the River Authority’s Education and Engagement Team had to offer, including school field trips and classroom presentations. Our focus at these events was to teach students at local schools about our local creeks, the San Antonio River, and the environmental issues within our watershed. We also facilitated a series of events called “3rd Grade WaterFest”. These events are an engaging opportunity for 3rd graders in Wilson, Karnes, and Goliad counties to bolster their learning and relationship to water, from the headwaters to the San Antonio Bay.
In addition, I participated in various volunteer events
, such as the building of “beaver dams” at the Medina Natural Area. No beavers were involved, but the idea of these dams was to build them as beavers do—piling up large piles of tree branches—to help prevent erosion. This was an exciting event because it allowed me to observe how volunteers are coordinated and how events that depend on these volunteers are run. I also attended a Speaker’s Bureau event where the focus was on engaging adults by showing them all the projects occurring within the River Authority and how they can help our river going forward.
The Education and Engagement Internship at the River Authority has allowed me to grow and learn a lot about my career path and environmental education. I have gained experience working with people of all ages and educating them on topics I am passionate about. I have had the opportunity to see how volunteer events are run and organized and how they engage with our community. This internship has reaffirmed my passion for conservation and environmental education, and I plan on using the experience I have gained at the River Authority to continue my career in these fields.
The River Reach is back!
River Reach is a quarterly, 12-page newsletter that is designed to inform the San Antonio River Authority’s constituents about the agency’s many projects, serve as a communication vehicle for the board of directors and foster a sense of unity and identity among the residents of Bexar, Wilson, Karnes, and Goliad counties.