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Amplify Austin, 2014

By March 19, 2014No Comments
On March 20th, every nonprofit in town is asking for your donation, and there’s MANY great causes to pick from. I hope you’ll choose River Watch.

Here’s my pitch: If you donate right now, through Amplify Austin, we’ll use your money to help us launch a new program, focused on student-led, stream-restoration projects around town. (More info about this new program below.)
Click here to help us launch a new program. 
You don’t have to wait for Amplify Austin to “launch” — you can schedule your donation right now, using this link. In fact, over half a million dollars have already been pledged!

Want to help? Action items for you, right now:
Info about our new program: Starting this fall, each of our nine student “crews” (one from each of the nine high schools we serve, including approximately ten students each) will take on at least one, week-long, service-learning project each year, in addition to their weekly water quality monitoring. These stream-restoration projects will be after school and will include a weekend “work day” to involve community volunteers, led by the students. In addition to the students in our school-year program, approximately 30 more students will have the opportunity to participate over the summer.
It will be a powerful experience for our students to take the lead on enhancing, restoring, and maintaining stream and river areas throughout watersheds in the Austin area. Every participating student will work in a small group to plan, execute, and evaluate at least one project per year. Examples of projects will include bank stabilization, vegetation management, and trail building. Together, these efforts will result in at least 10 projects per year, benefitting Austin-area streams and the ecosystems they support, along with the quality of water that is drawn out by municipalities. In addition to evaluating the successful completion of each project, students will monitor various water-quality indicators, including nitrates, temperature, conductivity, dissolved oxygen, turbidity, and pH. Vegetation growth will also be monitored, as relevant to each project. As a function of this work, students will learn about riparian ecology, habitat functionality, and stream restoration.
Since 1992, River Watch has taught teens to monitor water quality in streams across Austin, and now our students have asked for the chance to do projects that IMPROVE the water quality, too. Our students helped shape the idea for this program, and our feasibility study indicated that 92% of them hope to participate. Elsewhere, a 2006 study found that 81% of dropouts might have stayed in school if they had been offered more real-world learning opportunities. Thus, we are launching this program to improve local streams, engage our young people in environmental work that has a long-term impact, and deepen our core program’s purpose of drop-out prevention.

Thanks for considering a donation to Austin Youth River Watch.
See you out there!
R. Brent Lyles, Executive Director
Austin Youth River Watch

P.S. Don’t forget about our Open House coming up next Saturday, the 29th! More info on that here.

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