Fallon Kitchens, 17, first visited the Carson River as a zoology student at Fernley High School.
She's now taking what she learned to become a teacher to other students and to the community.
"I really enjoyed my time out here," she said. "I wanted to be more involved."
Kitchens, a junior, is teaming with about 24 other students from Dayton, Silver Springs and Fernley high schools to organize "Celebrate the Carson River" on Saturday at Fort Churchill.
"A lot of it is about becoming aware of the river and the surrounding habitat and the animals that live here," she explained. "Water is our source of living. It's a part of our lives and we need to take care of it."
The students are organizing the celebration through the River Wrangler, a nonprofit organization dedicated to conserving and exploring the Carson River.
Coordinator Linda Conlin said the celebration was first planned with the help of various community organizations four years ago. Two years later, they decided to turn it over to students.
"They're our future," Conlin said. "They get so excited about this project and that will carry over into their adulthood."
The high school students also spend time as mentors, teaching younger students how to care for and protect the river.
Kitchens led a group of fourth-graders from Silver Springs Elementary School in testing water quality Tuesday afternoon.
"It's a good feeling to know how to help the river," said Jamie Angell, 10. "It's good so the life in the water can still live."
Students tested for water clarity, acidity and dissolved oxygen.
Some students saw the testing as a benefit to the river.
"If there's any problem with it, we know we can solve it," said Josh Buttke, 10. "I like to conserve the water and I like working with the environment."
Others saw a benefit to people visiting the river.
"When people go swimming, the want to know if there's chemicals that can be bad for their skin," said Alaura Douglass, 10.
The river celebration will feature a range of activities centered around the river including weaving water cycle bracelets and a free tree giveaway.
Park fees will be waived for the day and canoe rides will be available with reservations.
IF YOU GO:
What: Celebrate the Carson River day
When: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday
Where: Fort Churchill
To make reservations for a canoe ride, call (775) 577-2345.