A Catalyst for Positive Community Behavioral Changes
The Rio Grande International Study Center (RGISC, pronounced risk) is a 501C3 nonprofit organization incorporated on January 25, 1994. RGISC operates on a modest budget provided by foundation grants and donations.
RGISC is able to promote useful community projects because hundreds of volunteers provide various kinds of goods, services, and labor without charge. Volunteers form the heart of the RGISC mission by:
• Working with school groups every year for Dia Del Rio's Paso del Indio Nature Trail clean up.
• Working with the City of Laredo in assessing and preserving green spaces throughout the community.
• Collaborating with STEER students in the IBWC River Monitoring Program.
• Processing and interpreting river data collected by RGISC and other organizations for use by the interested public.
• Maintaining the RGISC website at www.RGISC.org.
RGISC has formed partnerships with other groups to improve the environmental health of the community. Alliances have been formed with:
• Laredo Community College.
• City of Laredo.
• Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission.
• International Boundary and Water Commission.
• South Texas Environmental Education Research (STEER).
• Jobs Training Partnership Act (JPTA).
• Los Caminos del Rio.
• Rio Grande Rio Bravo Coalition.
• Webb County Heritage Foundation.
• Proyecto de Investigación Ambiental del Rio Bravo.
• The Laredo Housing Authority.
• The Webb County Soil Conservation District.
• The Asplundh Corporation.
Working with these agencies, RGISC acts as a catalyst in promoting changes in community attitudes and behavior. The strongest of these alliances is with Laredo Community College (LCC). The LCC administration, believing in the community mission espoused by RGISC, provides strong support for the organization. The tangible nature of this support is evidenced by the office space and equipment that LCC makes available to RGISC. RGISC, in turn, renders valuable services to the college.
RGISC attracted one-half million dollars from the Lamar Bruni Vergara Foundation for the construction of the Lamar Bruni Vergara Environmental Science Center on the LCC Campus. RGISC was the driving force in constructing the Paso del Indio Nature Trail along the riverbank at LCC. The Center and the nature trail were RGISC goals from the beginning. RGISC founders saw the need for an environmental science center to educate the community about the Rio Grande and its importance to the millions of people who live along its banks.
Forward thinking LCC leaders have incorporated the concept of an environmental science center as a part of the institution’s science program, interest in the Center is much broader than science. It has been used to stimulate creativity in writing, music and art. Others have found the Center to be an excellent and enjoyable place to satisfy their community service requirements. Many students use the Center as a living laboratory, finding the study of living specimens to be much more enjoyable than studying foul smelling, pickled ones in their science classrooms. Some folks like to come to the Center because it is entertaining. They are intrigued by the activities of their non-human neighbors that inhabit the Rio Grande. At the Center visitors gain new understanding and appreciation of the Rio Grande.
Through the work of the RGISC organization thousands of citizens are learning about the vital importance of the Rio Grande to their lives.
Laredo's Leading Environmental Organization Since 1994
To preserve and protect the Rio Grande-Rio Bravo, its watershed and environment, through awareness, advocacy, research, education, stewardship and bi-national collaboration for the benefit of present and future generations.
We advocate often and mobilize around an environmental cause, based on science, to implement changes that will have a lasting and positive effect.
What is Advocacy?
Advocacy is defined as any action that aims to influence policy decisions on behalf of others, or in favor of a cause, in order to bring about justice and positive change.
Environmental advocacy involves both protecting the public from environmental hazards and protecting the natural world.
RGISC advocates often mobilize around an environmental cause, based on science, to implement changes that will have a lasting and positive effect.
The river and its environment belong to all of us. We should give it the care that is due a highly prized possession.
RGISC has been and continues to be ready to take legal action in the interest of the environment.
RGISC raises constant awareness through outreach - a crucial aspect of the work that RGISC does. Throughout the year we hold a number of fun community events meant to engage the public and increase awareness of pressing environmental issues.
From Earth Day events to Loving Laredo hikes to our social media pages, the Rio Grande International Study Center tries to keep our community engaged and involved.
We believe that when we reach out to the community from adults to young children we are working to further RGISC's mission statement. Our goal is to increase awareness among the community about a variety of issues. It begins with fun events that help people get in touch with nature, and this leads to a deeper understanding about our environment and what needs to be done to maintain it.
Awareness is the first step to promoting real action in the community. Some of the most rewarding work at RGISC is when we are able to teach children about the environmental issues that affect them on a day to day basis.