Photo Credit: Cate Bradshaw and Stuart Allen
This is a contributed piece by our non-profit partner, the San Antonio River Foundation.
Did you know that the San Antonio River Authority (River Authority) has a non-profit partner organization called the San Antonio River Foundation? Established in 2003, the San Antonio River Foundation’s efforts focus on four main pillars that guide our work: education, ecology, arts and culture, and recreation. Each of these pillars directs the projects we embark on and ensures that we are continually striving to achieve our mission of increasing environmental equity and promoting environmental stewardship of the San Antonio River Basin.
Photo Credit: Daniel Gambassi
With environmental education as its core purpose, Confluence Park is an interactive teaching laboratory that inspires a greater understanding of Texas ecotypes and watershed dynamics. Partnering with the River Authority’s award-winning education team, our educational efforts encourage the conservation, stewardship, restoration, preservation, and enjoyment of the San Antonio River Basin’s land and water resources. Programs offered include Nature of Art summer camps, school-based field trips, Ghostwire Academy cyber security classes for teens, and nature-based educator workshops.
We are proud to support equitable access to nature through our education programs by helping to defer the cost of buses and substitute teachers so that every student, no matter their background, can experience and learn about our natural world and the role we all play in its preservation.
Ecology and Habitat Restoration
Photo Credit: Casey Dunn
Tied in with our educational efforts at Confluence Park, we strive to demonstrate and educate visitors and students about the importance of native ecology and the importance of biodiversity. In partnership with the River Authority, our latest project is The North American Friendship Garden. This 2,500 square foot pollinator garden will serve as a landmark of trilateral cooperation and dedication to sustainable practices between the U.S., Mexico, & Canada. Amenities such as art benches, a seed library, and a “bug hotel” will also be included in the garden. Once installed, thousands of families and students who visit Confluence Park every year will find even more value in learning about all types of pollinators and the importance of biodiversity and wildlife conservation. We can’t wait for it to open in the spring of 2021!
Not only is the San Antonio River important to the native plants and animals that call it home, but it is also an important recreation spot for families and individuals to get moving and stay healthy! Especially during this challenging year, we have tracked that the number of people spending time outdoors at Confluence Park and using the trails along the river increased by 83% compared to the same time last year! We encourage, promote, and offer free family-friendly activities that can be done safely including, walking, hiking, biking, kayaking, and free virtual yoga on Sunday’s with our partner MobileOm.
Arts and Culture
Whispers along the Mission Reach: Artist Arne Quinze
Photo Credit: Larry Servin
Along with our education and conservation efforts, our vision is for the San Antonio River to be a vibrant and active cultural corridor that plays an integral role in the lives of the communities through which it runs. Many of San Antonio’s beloved art pieces along the Mission and Museum Reach of the San Antonio River Walk, like the Grotto, Whispers, Árbol de la Vida, and F.I.S.H., are each projects that we, along with our partners and talented artists, have commissioned, installed, and continue to maintain. These art pieces inspire exploration, creativity, and make the San Antonio River an extra special place to visit for residents and visitors alike.
As you may know, the end of the year is an important fundraising time for all non-profits, including ours. This critical effort to ensures that we can continue our work to provide world-class education programs, unique recreation opportunities, restored habitat and ecology, and one-of-a-kind public art pieces along the San Antonio River. Each of these initiatives bolsters our mission to make the river vibrant, healthy, and accessible to ALL. We hope you will join us and donate by December 31, 2020!