Hands on Activities take place at 10:45, 11:45, 1:45 & 2:4
Water Quality Testing
Robin Havens Gary, Senior Public Information and Education Coordinator Barton Springs/Edwards Aquifer Conservation District
Students will take water quality measurements from buckets of water right out of Barton Springs and Barton Creek. They will learn about differences in water quality between interconnected areas, water characteristics and pH and conductivity.
Nico Hauwert, Ph.D., P.G., Program Manager Balcones Canyonland Preserve City of Austin, Austin Water
Attendants will simulate a dye trace from the surface to see if it appears in a simulated cave. One team will inject dye and measure the flow. A second team will crawl into a simulated cave, measure a drip rate, measure air quality and collect samples to see where the dye discharges. Attendants will learn scientific data collection associated with groundwater protection, and see examples where dye studies are used to better understand and protect water supplies our cave heritage.
The Importance of Local Endangered Species
Justin Crow, Fish Biologist, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Featuring two 20 gallon aquaria that houses several endangered Barton Springs salamanders and San Marcos salamanders, students discuss endangered and threatened species and their importance. There will be several non-listed preserved specimens, including a river prawn, sturgeon, channel catfish, and armored catfish for individuals to handle and discuss basic fish biology.
Live Austin Bats!
Austin Bat Refuge
Dianne Odegard & Lee Mackenzie Founders
Get up close and personal with Austin local bats. Veteran bat rehabilitators and educators with extensive experience in urban wildlife issues educate students about these fascinating animals. Bats are highly beneficial, harmless, and vital to the balance of nature. The Austin Bat Refuge gives bats a second chance through rehabilitation and release, conflict resolution and education.
Eliza Springs Amphitheater Tour
Nathan Bendik, M.S., & Donelle Robinson, PhD, Austin Watershed Protection Department
The Eliza Spring Daylighting Project is complete. This is a rare opportunity to see the beautiful new stream and salamander habitat up close. The amphitheater is usually closed to the public. Biologists will give a tour of the amphitheater and answer all your salamander questions. Eliza Spring is home to the largest known population of the endangered Barton Springs salamander. This project increased the amount of salamander habitat, improving the potential for the long-term recovery of the species. The project re-established a stream that once flowed from Eliza Spring. In the 1920s, this stream was enclosed in a concrete and metal pipe. When the pipe began to fail, the city took the opportunity to convert it back to an open stream, a process known as “daylighting.”
Guided Snorkel Tours
Save Our Springs Alliance Guides
We will be offering guided snorkel tours of the Barton Springs directly experiencing how Barton Springs flows from the Aquifer into the pool and discovering the plants and wildlife of the pool. We will provide snorkels and masks. Participants will be in the water for 15-20 minutes and must know how to swim.
Scooter Cheatham, Founder of Useful Wild Plants, Inc.
This mini field trip is a tip-of-the-iceberg version of an intensive class taught by Scooter Cheatham, founder of Useful Wild Plants Inc. and director of the Useful Wild Plants Project, the largest economic botany research project in the world. This introduction to ethnobotany and economic botany will give students a taste of the history of plant uses by prehistoric peoples, current uses, and the vital importance of botanical research for the future. Participants will be walking through vegetation and are strongly advised to wear sturdy shoes and long pants.
Austin Parks and Recreation- Aquatic Division
Join Barton Springs Lifeguard leaders for this session to see what it takes to try out to be a lifeguard.
Attendees must know how to swim. Attendees will attempt to:
-Try a 300 yd swim
-Try 2 minute no hands tread
-Practice feet first and head first surface dives
-Practice retrieving sand manikin from the bottom with and without goggles
-Teach/practice compact and stride jumps
Splash! into the Edwards Aquifer Exhibit Tour
Michael Adair, Exhibit Coordinator, City of Austin
The Splash! Exhibit offers a fun and exciting learning experience deep inside a simulated limestone cave. Multimedia displays and interactive exhibits demonstrate how the aquifer was formed and how it maintains its average daily flow of 32 million gallons of water at Barton Springs. The endangered Barton Springs salamander and other native aquatic species on display illustrate the diversity of life dependent on the water quality of local springs, creeks and rivers.
*Activity at 10:45 & 11:45 Only