Visit the Edwards Aquifer Research and Data Center at Texas State University and spend the day studying the biological, geological and hydrological wonders of the Edwards Aquifer a large limestone groundwater system and the San Marcos River, both located in the beautiful Central Texas Hill Country.
Since 1979, the Edwards Aquifer Research and Data Center at Texas State University has been hosting school groups to come and discover the amazing treasure of Central Texas’ aquatic ecosystems. The Edwards Aquifer is a vast area of porous limestone rock that not only supplies drinking water to millions of Texans but is also home to an incredible array of creatures that are specially adapted to life deep below the earth. Students will be able to see these exceptionally rare and unique animals up close and will learn about their subterranean lifestyle. The Edwards Aquifer also feeds Sessom Springs and San Marcos Springs, both located on the Texas State campus. Students will have a chance to explore these spring habitats and collect and identify many diverse invertebrates that call these spring habitat home. Students will then cruise over crystal clear Spring Lake in a glass bottom boat and see the diverse populations of fish, turtles, birds and aquatic plants that live there. Afterwards, groups may tour the free aquarium and educational displays at the Meadows Center for Water and the Environment.
Times are approximate, the following schedule can be altered to meet the specific needs of your group. Reservations must be made in advance.
9:30 - Unload bus; welcome; change clothes (if needed); introduction to biological sampling techniques for streams and rivers.
10:15 – Sampling for invertebrates in the San Marcos River or Sessom Creek
10:45 - Leave for lab
11:00 - Change clothes and lab identification of organisms
12:00 - Sack lunch on Texas State grounds
***You must provide your own lunch***
1:00 - Video presentation - Edwards Aquifer
1:30 – Sampling and viewing of rare animals from the Artesian Well
***See live aquifer animal specimens caught in the net on the Artesian Well***
2:30 - Leave for Meadows Center for Water and the Environment (optional)
***See two more endangered species - Fountain Darter (Etheostoma fonticola) and Texas Blind Salamander (Eurycea rathbuni)***
3:00 - Glass-bottom boat tour of Spring Lake
***See San Marcos Springs, life in Spring Lake and an underwater archaeological excavation***
4:00 - Leave for home
LOCATION: We are located in the Freeman Aquatic Biology Building on the main Texas State University Campus in San Marcos. Our physical address is 220 E Sessom Dr. San Marcos, TX. We are near the intersection of Aquarena Springs Dr. and Sessom Dr., right across from the Saltgrass Steakhouse.
COST: $75.00/student group of 15 or fewer; $5.00 for each additional student. There is no charge for teachers and other adults accompanying the group. Minimum charge: $75.00; MAXIMUM GROUP SIZE: 45 students.
PAYMENT: Cash, Credit Cards or Checks are accepted. Checks are made payable to: EARDC. Payment will be collected upon arrival.
GLASS BOTTOM BOAT RIDE (optional): Cost is $4.50 per student or adult - Payment will be collected upon arrival at Meadows Center. Please note that you will need to bring a separate check for the glass bottom boat tour!
TRANSPORTATION and PARKING: It is recommended that groups arrive by bus. If your group intends to arrive by private auto, we must be informed in advance so that special parking arrangements can be made. Parking is $5 per car and $10 for busses.
CANCELLATION POLICY: Once a field day has been confirmed, a $50 cancellation fee will be charged if the trip is cancelled by the group within 30 days of the scheduled trip date.
This is a fun day and you will get wet! All participants should arrive in clothes that they plan to get wet in, but changing rooms are available. An extra pair of old shoes to be worn in the water is a must due to sharp rocks and the possibility of broken glass and other hazards in the water. Students will also need a towel, change of clothes (including shoes and socks!) and a sack lunch. It is also a good idea to bring plastic bags for wet and dirty shoes and clothes.