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The Mobile River delivers aquatic science to 30,000th visitor

Austin, TX – Over 30,000 students and other community members in the Texas Colorado River basin have learned the importance of their water resources and how to preserve them, thanks to the Colorado River Alliance’s Mobile River program.

The 30,000th person to enter the aquatic science-center-on-wheels will be a 7th-grade student from Murchison Middle School.

The Mobile River program delivers hands-on water science and river-stewardship education directly to 7th graders, at their schools, across the Texas Colorado River basin. Launched in 2015 in partnership with the Austin Independent School District and the City of Austin’s water utility, Austin Water, the program features interactive models and engaging, educational videogames inside a futuristic 42-foot trailer.

Last year, the Mobile River program won TCEQ’s prestigious, statewide “Environmental Excellence” award for innovation in education programming: See the 2-minute video here.

“Not only is 30,000 a big milestone, but these kids are really learning – our program evaluations show consistent and sizable jumps in knowledge about both water science and caring for our state’s dwindling water resources. I’m especially proud of that,” said R. Brent Lyles, Executive Director of the Colorado River Alliance.

In the weeks before a Mobile River visit, students build their core water science knowledge with four customized, in-classroom lessons about water conservation, Texas ecoregions and weathering, watershed precipitation and runoff, and watershed pollution.

“The Mobile River is a wonderful example of public and private organizations working together to help provide meaningful learning experiences to our students,” said Charlie Gutierrez, Science Administrative Supervisor at AISD. “The fact that the Alliance and the City of Austin worked directly with AISD from the start to plan and implement this project is what helped make it so successful. We look forward to continuing these partnerships so that the Mobile River can reach many more students.”

The Mobile River visits every middle school campus in AISD and travels across the basin to other schools each year. In the coming school year, the Mobile River will also visit schools and public events in Bastrop, Bay City, Columbus, Lake Travis, and other communities that depend heavily on the Colorado River for their social, environmental, and economic well-being.

“The long-term vitality of the Colorado River depends on our actions today,” Lyles said. “This program is critical to helping our communities make well-informed, science-based decisions about their water resources now and in the future.”

The Mobile River’s development, operations, and programmatic success would not have been possible without the support of our partners, Austin Water and Austin ISD, and the program’s financial supporters, especially Samsung, 3M, CH2M/Jacobs, Forestar, Impact Austin, the Institute for Museum and Library Services, LCRA, the Texas Pioneer Foundation, and the Texas Water Development Board — and the Alliance’s many corporate and family members.

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