As the state of Texas experiences a major drought, San Angelo residents are gearing up for a festive tradition — the annual Race on the River. Featuring canoe races and other attractions, the event, sponsored by the Girl Scouts of Central Texas, is now in its 21st year. The San Angelo Standard-Times reports that this year's race has been given a special theme to reflect the times.
"This year, for the first time ever, will be focused on water conservation," said James Pidgeon, community events development executive for the Girl Scouts of Central Texas. "Before it rained recently, the committee said, 'We need to get girls to do the Johnny Appleseed song.' It's a group prayer asking for rain. From there it kind of exploded into, well, we can teach girls how to do this, and ask other partners to get with us. It was an apple seed that sprouted."
The Upper Colorado River Authority and the San Angelo Water Conservation Department will hand out educational materials and prizes at the race. Each sponsor of the event will commit to adopt at least one water conservation method for a year.
James Pidgeon is hopeful for the future of water conservation. "We hope that those who come here walk away with something bigger than racing in the water; we hope that they will become good stewards of the water they have," Pidgeon said.
This year's guests include Angelo State University President Joseph Rallo, San Angelo City Council Single Member District 6 representative Charlotte Farmer, broadcasters from local television and radio stations and other prominent residents.
WOW! Wonders of Water, from the Girl Scout Leadership Journey It's Your Planet—Love It!, encourages girls to become aware of the many ways they use and enjoy water. As they begin to understand the science of water and its importance in the world, they will also make a personal commitment to protect it.