OUR COMMUNITY PARTNERS
Colorado River Alliance
Texas Colorado River Mobile Learning Experience
The Colorado River Alliance (CRA) supports natural science education and outdoor recreation programs that encourage the stewardship, awareness, and protection of the Colorado River, particularly to at-risk youth. The foundation also partners with other organizations to organize clean-ups of the lakes that make up the Colorado River. The CRA is the only non-profit in Texas dedicated solely to the protection and conservation of the Texas Colorado River. As our population increases, and severe drought conditions persist, water conservation is critical to Austin's future.
CRA has partnered with the Austin Independent School District and Austin Water to create the Texas Colorado River Mobile Learning Experience, an environmental education program focusing on water conservation, which will reach over 5,000 7th grade students annually. The mobile classroom will use interactive exhibits to enhance learning and reinforce the link between personal behavior and the environment. Since the classroom is mobile, it will also be used at community events, bringing the conservation message to the broader Austin community.
The Impact Austin grant award had a significant impact on CRA because it provided capital funding to construct the Mobile River, which significantly increased the number of youth served.
Overall project goals were consistently met, notably in relation to the enhancement of education about the Texas Colorado River watershed’s key features as well as critical issues regarding water use, water conservation and pollution in Central Texas. This experience has encouraged students to take active roles in promoting a clean watershed and helping to keep the Texas Colorado River flowing clearly for future generations.
Prior to the grant awards, CRA’s only educational effort was the Redbud Education Program near the Tom Miller Dam in Austin offered to 3rd through 5th grade students. The Mobile River classroom was designed to reinforce and build upon the initial experience by reaching students again at the 7th grade level.
Additionally, the Redbud Program was limited in its capacity and scope due to larger class sizes and tighter school budgets. The Mobile River classroom’s ability to travel directly to the students easily accommodated more students.
After nearly two years of planning and development, the Mobile
River rolled out in the spring of 2015 and before the school year ended, roughly 600 students visited. These youth got to experience interactive exhibits and games teaching them about water conservation in the 42-foot trailer alongside 3D models of streams, floodplains and ecoregions. Both teachers and students said they had never experienced anything like it before.
During a full school year, CRA expects to reach at least 10,000 local 7th graders, quadrupling its reach thanks to the Impact Austin grant.