Longhorn Stream Team (LST) lives by the motto of Paddle Rivers, Collect Water Data. We canoe Texas rivers to collect water quality data for the purpose of protecting our environment and ensuring the longevity of Texas waterways. As a branch of the Texas Stream Team, we are certified citizen scientists and contribute to a robust water quality database managed by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ). Each fall and spring, Longhorn Stream Team recruits learn how to collect samples in the field and record water quality data that supports conservation efforts and academic research supported by the TCEQ and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Each semester, the team paddles four Texas rivers to collect data and contribute it to the database maintained by the Meadows Center for Water and the Environment for the last 23 years.
Rife with experiential learning and leadership opportunities, our mission is to empower students through acts of science, service, environmental leadership and river readiness. Members of the team must work together to navigate each river we travel. While some sections of river are calm and relaxed, the current will often become swift and potentially dangerous for a 16-foot canoe to negotiate. Throughout the semester, we develop the skills necessary to understand the flow of each river and successfully run from put-in to takeout. Each individual is responsible for maintaining equipment and taking initiative in the group. We maintain the strength and operations by each developing the abilities to fulfill any task as needed.
On top of our individual conservational efforts, we also work to inform others about the importance of water quality in universities and Texas watershed communities and to participate in other conservational volunteer efforts around Austin. Some of our previous volunteer work includes caring for parks through the Austin Parks Foundation’s It’s My Park Day and Keep Austin Beautiful, planting trees with TreeFolks, and teaching water conservation science to students from low-income communities during Explore Austin.
With the four pillars of Science, Service, Experiential Education, and Leadership, Longhorn Stream Team aims to support future conservational activists and educate the public on water quality and conservation. By supporting the Longhorn Stream Team, you are supporting the health of Texas rivers, the development of such leaders, and the betterment of Texas communities.