What do River Watchers do?
Our student participants — the River Watchers — start out by learning the basics of water-quality monitoring. As trainees, they learn skills and knowledge from their fellow students, visiting scientists, and our staff of professional educators. Many River Watchers stay in the program throughout high school, eventually becoming peer mentors themselves.
Austin Youth River Watch combines environmental education with drop-out prevention. It is a safe place for teenagers to grow and gain confidence while learning to be active stewards of our planet. We strive for every one of our River Watchers to finish high school and prepare for a successful, fulfilling life.
How do students get in to River Watch?
Many of our new River Watchers are referred by current River Watchers, friends, and family members. We also have liaisons, typically teachers or counselors, at each of our partner high schools in Austin. Right now, we primarily serve high schools in Austin ISD — we have plans to grow to others soon.
We are especially interested in students who are early in their high-school career, and who would benefit from additional support along the path to high-school graduation and college admission. If you know someone who might be a good fit for our programs, contact Program Director Elisabeth Welsh at (512) 708-9115 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
How’s the water quality in Austin?
We get this question all the time! Like all cities, Austin has its share of pollution. However, our water quality is surprisingly good for such a large urban area. Our students find that the pollution levels in our streams are somewhat variable, and that pollution tends to peak after a large rainfall, when rain washes motor oil, fertilizers, and other dangerous substances into local storm drains. It all ends up in the river! For recent data on water quality, visit our data page here.