Sample Sidebar Module

This is a sample module published to the sidebar_top position, using the -sidebar module class suffix. There is also a sidebar_bottom position below the menu.

Sample Sidebar Module

This is a sample module published to the sidebar_bottom position, using the -sidebar module class suffix. There is also a sidebar_top position below the search.
Hands On Activities

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Experiential Hands on Learning Activities 
(see site map for location of activities)

WaterQualityActivity 2016Activity 1 - 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.


2 2Activity 2 - Finding the Gateways to the Underground Frontier 

Nico Hauwert, Ph.D., P.G., Austin Watershed Protection Department
After basic discussion on history of caves and their ecosystem in Austin and exploration techniques, the students will have to identify caves photographed from the field, including proposed development sites like Jeremiah Ventures, and see how well they can identify caves.



3Activity 3 - Macroinvertebrate Collection

Sara Heilman, M.S., Austin Watershed Protection Department 

Students will sample and observe macroinvertebrates from buckets collected from Barton Creek.  They will learn about the habitats and ecosystems of these organisms.  




4Activity 4- Discover 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 will use these organisms to 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.  




5Activity 5- 3 Spring Walking Tour

Heidi Yohe, Save Our Springs Alliance Guide  

Students will enjoy a walking tour to get acquainted with the Main Spring, Sunken Garden and Eliza Spring. We will discuss the history and current issues facing each spring.  


6Activity 6- The Splash! Exhibit 

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.

7Activity 7 - Guided Snorkel Tour

Laurie Dries, Ph.D., Conservation Biologist & Colin Clark, Save Our Springs Alliance Guide  

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.  We will supply the snorkels and masks.   


8Activity 8 - Dip Netting/Aquatic Biota Sampling 

Timothy H. Bonner, Ph.D & Caitlin Gabor, Ph.D., Department of Biology, Texas State University

Students will participate in methods (sampling techniques, taxa identification) to document organisms in aquatic systems. Methods are used by government agencies, researchers, and NGOs to monitor the health of biota and habitats. Prepare to get wet, and wear good shoes (no bare feet or flip flops).




9Activity 9 – Aquifer Model Demonstration

Alison Mote, Senior Course Coordinator, OnRamps Geoscience

University of Texas

The Edwards Aquifer is characterized by features such as caves, sinkholes, disappearing streams and conduits. This model is a generalized representation of a segment of the Edwards Aquifer system that demonstrates how the three zones (drainage area, recharge zone, and artesian zone) function to replenish, store, and provide water.


10Activity 10 - Creek Café 

Karen Marks, Aquatic Education Manager, Texas Parks and Wildlife

Learn where macroinvertebrates live in a stream habitat; about macroinvertebrate functional feeding groups; and where common freshwater gamefish live in a stream habitat and the relationship between fish and macros (food web).