On Wednesday, April 25th, we hosted our annual fundraising event, Take Me to the River, at Mercury Hall. Friends and supporters of River Watch enjoyed cocktails and hors d’oeuvres as they learned about the important work we do for underserved youth and the environment through personal stories from current students, alumni, and River Watch staff. We also honored 3M with the Dragonfly Award for being our largest supporter last year and Jennifer Quereau with the Full Circle Award for her dedication to AYRW, from River Watch student to Board President. Finally, we held a fun paddle raise activity and auction where we were able to secure support for future programming, thanks to the generosity of everyone who attended. It was an exciting and successful evening! A special thank you to our board and staff for your hard work organizing this event, to all of the local businesses and individuals for your donations for the bar and auctions, and to our emcee’s Ruben Cantu and Koy McDermott for making the event extra fun!
Through this fundraising event we were able to raise almost $20,000 from the paddle raise, silent and live auctions, sponsorships, ticket sales, and various donations. With this amount we can help improve the environmental conditions around Austin and continue to train, develop, and inspire at-risk youth to succeed and become our future environmental stewards! If you did not have a chance to attend or donate, you can always do so here: http://riverwatchers.org/how-y
Thank you again to our sponsors, donors, attendees, and all of River Watch’s board and staff for making this event a success!
December 11-14, 2017 | End of Semester Celebrations
All of our River Watchers took time off of environmental monitoring this week to celebrate the end of the semester and start of the holidays. Five student groups had the opportunity to visit Zilker Park to see the lights while playing games and enjoying hot chocolate and pizza. The other five student groups visited the capitol building, something we had not done before, and enjoyed seeing the Christmas tree and had Pizza and treats.
December 4-7, 2017 | Financial Aid Workshop
Fifty-one River Watchers had the opportunity to attend a financial aid workshop this week, led by Aida and Jaime from Foundation Communities. Foundation Communities is a local nonprofit dedicated to providing affordable, attractive homes and free on-site support services for thousands of families, veterans, seniors, and individuals with disabilities. They offer an innovative, proven model that empowers their residents and neighbors to achieve educational success, financial stability, and healthier lifestyles. During the financial aid session, students learned about FAFSA preparation, TASFA preparation for DACA students, the financial aid process, and general information regarding how to get into college and where to find help.
December 2, 2017 | Tree Climbing
Seven River Watchers participated in a tree-climbing activity led by TreeFolks!! They were able to climb into the very high limbs of a gigantic bald cypress tree, called Teddy Tree Bark. This activity gave our students an opportunity to engage with the outdoors in a new and exciting way! We all had a blast!
November 13, 2017 | Creek Show
Taking a day off from being environmental heroes, Fourteen River Watchers had the opportunity to visit the Waller Creek Conservancy‘s Creek Show. The Creek Show is nine nights of free light-based, site-specific art installations along Waller Creek in order to “captivate visitors through visionary art that illustrates the intersection of natural environment, innovative design, and urban life”; It is an outreach program of the conservancy that supports and celebrates outstanding design that in turn sparks conversation about the transformation of Waller Creek.
November 9, 2017 | Planting and Harvesting Native Grasses
Fourteen River Watchers planted 16 Switchgrass and 12 Eastern Gamagrass plugs at the EcoHouse with a couple students from the Camacho Activity Center – Growing Outdoor Leaders program. The students learned how to plant grass plugs and harvest the seeds for future restoration projects and activities with Shoal Creek Conservancy and The Trail Foundation. The students also learned how these deep-rooted native grasses are important for riparian health as they help improve water quality and increase groundwater filtration.