Developing Grit and Determination to Keep our Watersheds Clean and Healthy

What is River Source? River source is an organization that works with many people around the state to help keep our watersheds clean enough for us to drink, irrigate, and fish. These internships that River Source runs provide a great learning source for teens who want to know more about where their water comes from and the science behind keeping our water clean. From the experiences that I’ve had participating in the River Source internship, It is safe to say that it was one of the best experiences that I’ve had. I have learned so much about how to keep our water safe.

From taking drone footage of riparian areas way up in the sky to getting our feet wet studying the streamflow of the Santa Fe river, we did a lot. The first few days of the internship consisted of getting to know each other and getting to know the process of how things ran at River Source. We learned how to assess what we needed to do to urban watersheds and on the first day got to know each other and built as a team in order to put up a canopy. By the end of the week we got the rare chance to go to the upper Santa Fe watershed which for anyone is extremely rare. We saw beautiful wild life such as deer, fish, and birds and it was very enjoyable. River Source also taught us to keep our best practices and persevere even when times were tough. Putting up picture post in the water seemed nearly impossible with all the granite and boulders in the ground but we gained grit and determination through that and eventually dug those 18 inches that we had to and put in our picture post. River source also taught us that team work is everything and without it things would be much slower.

At the Herrera research station we placed flags down on spots where we needed to slow the speed in which water was flowing. This helped spread the water so that other plants could grow and the water would sink into the ground providing a chance at life to small shrubs and grasses. We were all given an idea as to where we were supposed to place our flags and just like that they were all placed within the day. Next we filled all of those empty spots with flags in them with juniper branches to stop water from eroding. How? Everybody helped out and played a key role into getting things done. In the final week we went back to the upper Santa Fe watershed and with ease installed yet another picture post. We also went to a place called Bunny Ranch which is open to the public. People at river source and a man by the name of Toner had volunteered to upkeep the land and ensure that it would save a great amount of water. Eventually by the end of the week field days started to disappear and we focused on the science behind fires. We sculpted where the mountains were with crushed walnut shells and saw examples of how a fire spreads. All this and more through the help of a SIM table which is basically a fancy sandbox controlled by a projector. It’s a collaborative, interactive tool to see how wild fires spread. Over all this internship was one of the best experiences that I’ve had and I would be happy to do it again.