Get Involved Spotlight: Austin Youth River Watch
About Austin Youth River Watch:
Our high-school students — the River Watchers — lead Austin’s efforts to understand water quality in the Colorado River and the streams that feed into it. Twenty years ago, with initial funding and long-term support from the City of Austin and LCRA, Austin Youth River Watch began teaching students to collect and track water-quality data. The River Watchers also learn leadership skills, mentor each other, and work toward high-school graduation and beyond. Through our after-school and summer programs, Austin Youth River Watch now intensively serves about 120 students per year from 10+ high schools in the Austin area. Our success rate speaks for itself: The graduation rate of our River Watch Seniors is nearly 100%.
- Four iPads to conduct in-the-field data entry
- A new or nearly new 12-passenger van
- Four new or nearly new iMac desktop computers for student use
- Cash to help us serve more kids! Find out about monthly giving at www.ayrw.org/how-you-can-help/donate
Austin Youth River Watch volunteer opportunities:
Five or six times a year, Austin Youth River Watch participates in events like the Clean Water Festival, Earth Day festivities, and World Water Monitoring Day. Volunteers staff our River Watch table, talking to the public about our programs, teaching kids about water quality, and helping with event logistics.
Visiting scientists and professionals
In order to spark our students’ interest in career paths, we look for volunteers who want to share their life stories with our River Watchers. For instance, scientists from the City of Austin’s Watershed Protection Department have shared adventures about chasing aquatic bugs, teachers have talked about their passion for education, and Nature Conservancy staff have talked about their work in land protection.
Ongoing program volunteers
Program volunteers are folks who want to “get serious” with our students, accompanying them once a week for a semester or a summer. These volunteers help us test water, supervise activities, and help with program logistics. Program volunteers have told us that this is an especially rewarding experience. (Interviews and background checks required.)
EcoHouse yard maintenance and light housecleaning
Our base of operations is an old farmhouse, and we host work days two or three times a year to help us clean and maintain the yard and the house itself.
20th Anniversary Celebration volunteers
On November 10th, 2012, Austin Youth River Watch will celebrate its 20th anniversary! We need a lot of help with planning and executing this fun day of celebrations.
In the next few years, Austin Youth River Watch will likely recruit 5–7 new members for our Board of Directors. If you have a passion for youth and the environment, and you’d like to help with fundraising, organizational growth, strategic planning, and governance, you may wish to apply for a position on our Board. (Interviews and background checks required.)
Austin Youth River Watch has volunteer positions to meet every level of commitment and experience, including group projects. Volunteers age 17 and younger must be accompanied by an adult. For some activities, prior to volunteering, an interview and a criminal background check may be required. You can find more information about upcoming opportunities on the volunteer page of the Austin Youth River Watch website, www.ayrw.org/how-you-can-help/volunteer, or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 512-708-9115.
Video and audio for this post produced by Mike Lee