Texas River School

Organizational Overview

Texas River School
2000 S. 7th Street
Austin, Texas 78704

Mission Statement

Our mission is to teach young people how to love, protect, and safely enjoy Texas waterways through educational canoeing, kayaking, and camping; foster personal growth and civic responsibility in youth who are suffering from a severe nature deficit; and strive to bring our community together through a common respect for our rivers so we can all work to preserve them for generations to come.

Texas River School teaches young people to love, protect, and safely enjoy Texas waterways through hands-on educational outings that include canoeing and camping.

We continually work toward reducing nature deficit in the lives of area youth through our river trip programs, like River Sense, Discover the Source, Find & Capture, and Overnight Canoe Camping. Incorporated into these half-day, day-long, and overnight excursions are tools we use to inspire, educate, and nurture students' experiences and imagination - tools such as environmental education, camping, canoeing, kayaking, orienteering/geocaching, nature photography, and open-water swimming.

Funding for our trips comes from generous donations during Amplify Austin, grants from Texas Parks & Wildlife and Save Barton Creek Association, and various annual fundraisers, such as, Rowing Dock and Texas Rowing Center.

2016 In Review

This year we implemented a new program called Find & Capture, held at Zilker Park, that incorporates kayaking, nature photography, and orienteering activities, as well as related environmental education, based on the TPWD Project WILD "Mircotreck Treasure Hunt". In this program students are given the challenge of navigating to kayaks on Barton Creek, with the help of compasses and overhead maps, while discovering hidden supplies along the way. The goal of this trip is to introduce students to the idea that 'deciding to look' is the first step in exploring the natural world.

TRS was able to give 840 students an unforgettable river experience, in spite of persistent raining and flooding this past spring. Our half-day River Sense program, now in its third year, helped assess 545 students on their knowledge of canoeing and river safety with our "River Sensibles" quiz. How much River Sense do you have? To test your knowledge go to www.texasriverschool.org/quiz/review-sense/

Remember, your donation makes it possible for us to continue getting kids on the river. Help us keep our kids and rivers healthy.

Impact Statement

Texas River School has made a real difference for Austin youth since 1992, especially those from underserved schools and youth programs. Many of our students experience, for the first time, the skill of interacting safely with nature. Quite often we hear from students that their day on the river was their "favorite field trip ever!" They have fun but, more importantly, they learn respect for Austin's precious resources, making for happier, healthier students and safer rivers.

Students who go through our programs experience many of the following skills:
• Trip planning
• Trail etiquette
• Water safety
• Leadership
• Canoeing
• Orienteering
• Kayaking
• Basic photography composition
• Scavenger hunt
• Pack and haul equipment
• Canoe-over-canoe rescue
• Erecting tents
• Breaking down camp
• Eating outdoors
• Fire building
• Nature photography

Needs Statement

Texas River School would not be able to function at the level it does without the support of our generous donors. Every dollar raised is used toward getting more students on the river; many of whom would not otherwise have the opportunity to paddle a boat, learn to pitch a tent, or appreciate the natural beauty that is all around us.

Help us reach our goal of $20,000 and become a Friend of the River. A donation of just $30 will put one student on the river. Help us keep our kids and rivers healthy!

We had a group of 5th-graders from Sanchez Elementary experience the River School's half-day River Sense trip last spring, and here are some of the responses we received when asked to reflect on what they liked best about the river trip…

"I thought it was going to be scary and when I went it wasn't scary. It was so fun I liked it. I had never gone in to a canoe because I thought it was going to sink." -Wilder

"I liked the water fight the most because we got to get wet and because our canoe almost tipped over. If you didn't have taught me how to move the canoe I would have flip the canoe right when I got on." -Marley

"You taught us very well and we also get to see different plants and different animals." -Monica

Ms. Mireles, Sanchez 5th-grade teacher said, "I love this trip! It provides an opportunity for our students, who would otherwise never get it, to see all the Life Science concepts in action. They also get the opportunity to be social and work together to accomplish a task. It is not to canoe correctly. They struggle and in the end they figure it out together as a team. My students return from the trip in a better mood and excited to talk about the living things they saw on the river. They can't stop talking about how scared they were at first but how proud they felt to accomplish a goal of learning how to canoe and overcome their fear of being out on the water."
TRS outfitted a 4-day, 3-night river trip on the lower Colorado for 17 high school seniors and three instructors from British International School of Houston. BISH is a private school whose students are required to conduct an adventure in preparation for a final excursion, as part of their curriculum, called the Gold International Duke of Edinburgh Award and Expedition.

Instructor Stephanie C. said of the trip, "We had an amazing trip with you guys and were so well supported by [Linda], Joe and Spider. Nothing was too much trouble and despite a strainer, a dam, and a couple of other hiccups the trip was absolutely brilliant!"

Student Emillie stated, "Overall, I found the trip was a good experience, as we came across a lot of challenges which will provide good experience for the real expedition."

"It was an incredible experience that really opened my eyes to what real teamwork is like…" -Margherita

"One of the things I enjoyed the most was sitting around the campfire with my friends after a day of canoeing and having a mini sing-along session!" -Anna

"The four-day, three-night canoe trip was absolutely amazing. The sunny, warm days and the starry nights are something that I will never forget." -Luisa
Amount: $4,000
Sponsored By: Rowing Dock &Texas Rowing Center

Rowing Dock will match every dollar up to $2,500.

Texas Rowing Center will match every dollar of their membership's donations up to $1,500.