Austin Parks and Recreation staff join “Groundwater to Gulf” Summer Institute for Educators.

Jun 28, 2012 - 10:35 am

How can 41 school teachers paddling around Barton Springs Creek help preserve our Central Texas lifestyle?

Through these first hand experiences, educators acquire the skills to teach their students the importance of protecting our watersheds and conserving our aquifer.

Teachers in canoes on Ladybird Lake

Austin Parks & Recreation Department's stewardship of over 19,000 acres involves maintaining the natural ecologies, and assuring its easy access to the public. As part of this effort, one of our roles is to provide resources to educators to help pass on this legacy to future generations.

On this occasion, Austin Nature & Science Center staff was part of a collaboration with over a dozen agencies and organizations providing a comprehensive learning experience for educators.

What is the Groundwater to the Gulf program?

Map of Colorado River to Gulf of Mexico

 

This 3-day, field-based institute for Texas educators emphasized techniques for teaching water-based curricula to 9-14 year olds.  Participants followed the path of water in Central Texas from aquifer recharge to its final destination in the Gulf of Mexico. Covered topics included hydrology, groundwater, urban watersheds, water quality, native vegetation, water protection, and water conservation.

Teachers gather at the  Eliza Springs pool

Teachers at Eliza Spring (in Zilker Park near Barton Springs Pool) study the endangered Barton Springs salamander in its natural environment.

Barton Springs salamander

The Barton Springs salamander makes an appearance.

Teachers with young lady dressed as a salamander

A young lady dressed as a salamander showing innovative ways for teaching the younger students a love of nature.

Teachers boarding canoes

Our group preparing to board canoes in Barton Springs Creek.

Laminated sheets that served as guides to help teachers identify natural plants and animals

Laminated sheets that served as guides to help teachers identify natural plants and animals.

Barton Springs Edwards Aquifer Conservation District (BSEACD) members demonstrating the measurement of water flow

Barton Springs Edwards Aquifer Conservation District (BSEACD) members demonstrating the measurement of water flow.

Robin from BSEACD showing how the aquifer's flow measurements tie into conservation efforts.

Robin from BSEACD showing how the aquifer's flow measurements tie into conservation efforts.

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