Protecting the Waters You Swim In

I have had the amazing opportunity to intern with a very well known and local non-profit called Save Barton Creek Association (SBCA). This nonprofit citizen group was established in 1979, and has worked throughout the years to preserve the watersheds of the Barton Springs Edwards Aquifer (Barton, Bear, Little Bear, Onion, Slaughter and Williamson) through public education, advocacy, and conservation programs. SBCA has been one of the lead conservation organizations in Austin, working to ensure that future generations may enjoy the cool, clean waters of Barton Springs. This year I was glad to apart of Save Barton Creek Associations celebration of 40 years of action for Austin’s creeks and the Barton Springs Edwards Aquifer!

Before interning with SBCA, I had the opportunity to meet my supervisor, Angela Ritcher, a year before through a field trip taken during Dr. Concilio’s Natural Resource Conservation and Management class. During the guided hike, and conversations with Angela, I was able to get a feel of what SBCA is all about, and became curious about the organization which led me to apply for the internship. I am very glad I reached out because I have made so many great connections with the SBCA members, and other organizations.

At the start of my internship, I was immediately introduced to the No Dumping Sewage Campaign. This campaign was created by SBCA, a number of other nonprofits, and citizens who are interested in a less polluting future for the Edwards Aquifer and Texas Hill Country. For this campaign, I have educated the public about the problems associated with direct discharge to our wells, aquifers, springs, and streams. I have informed them of the threats it poses to human health, property values, wildlife, and the Hill Country’s economic future. I have also informed them on the benefits of sustainable alternatives, such as land application, beneficial reuse, and newer decentralized technologies, all which allow growth without threatening our water supply. While educating the public on this information, I have also educated myself, and have taken it upon myself to become more aware of local environmental issues. Now that I have informed YOU on this issue, please click the image below and sign the petition!

Image result for no dumping sewage

Aside from advocating and educating on these local issues, my primary job for the organization includes:

  • maintaining SBCA’s social media presence and increasing their following
  • helping draft the SBCA monthly e-newsletter called the Creek Chronicle
  • taking photos and videos at events
  • helping create, edit, and write up annual reports, the Explorer’s Guide, awards,
  • other task that may be requested

My tasks while maintaining the social media accounts of SBCA including planning three or more post to each platform (Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook). I must be aware of current nation wide/local environmental issues, holidays, keep up with the social medias of other local organizations, and constantly promote the different events we host. For the Creek Chronicle, I am assigned a topic, which I must briefly discuss, which is added to the newsletter then sent out to members of SBCA the beginning of every month. I have participated in 3 monthly newsletters so far. I have also helped create an annual report for the organization, and serval graphics used at various events.I have been the photographer for out organization during our happy hour events, guided hikes, No Dumping Sewage event, and our Annual Membership party.

St.Edward’s alumni Jackie Vay receiving her “Rising Star” award from Angela Ritcher, the executive director of SBCA.

SBCA’s booth at the Bluegrass and Beer: Keep Sewage Out of Barton Creek event.

Guided hike of Sculpture Falls hosted by Sarah Larocca

One project I am excited to be apart of is the Explore’s Guide to the Hill Country Oasis. This is a guide that the board of SBCA has been working on for the past couple of months, and I have had the opportunity to edit this guide for final reviews. It is a field guide to our eco-region. It aims to get people outside while learning about and connecting them to the ecology, hydrology, geology, and history of Central Texas. You will be able to access the guide online soon through savebartoncreek.org.

Something I noticed while working with SBCA, having been able to attend various events held by the organization or by others, was the lack of attendance in the younger generation. This didn’t come as much of a shock to me, but more of a disappointment with my peers. I know that there is a lack of interest in my generation when it comes to attending public social issue events that aren’t popular in the eyes of the media. As I continue this internship, I hope to find a way to increase the amount of youth attending SBCA events, through dealing with the various platforms. Improving my knowledge on these issues as I am educating the public, and making more connections with people in the environmental community, is why I am excited to continue my internship with SBCA through the new semester.  My team may be small, and all new to the organization but, we have a lot more planned for 2020.


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