Friends’ goal is for a greener, more accessible, and better cared for river. We achieve this through three program areas: education and outreach, public policy and planning, and on-the-ground projects.
Education and Outreach
Our Education and Outreach programs cultivate awareness and stewardship. We believe a broad base of popular support for the Chicago River is essential to the long-term success of efforts to improve it.
Examples of our educational programs include:
- Educating students about the Chicago River and the surrounding watershed
- Revealing the river’s past and future at the McCormick Bridgehouse & Chicago River Museum
- Taking groups and families canoeing to see the Chicago River for themselves
Public Policy and Planning
Through our Public Policy and Planning initiatives, Friends mobilizes river supporters and provides a “voice” for the river on behalf of all those whose quality of life benefit immeasurably by it. We focus on research and policy initiatives, informing elected officials and partnering with key agencies to help shape policies that have a systematic long-term impact on the river’s health.
Examples of our work include:
- Advocating for improved water quality standards
- Reviewing river-edge developments for good public access and river-sensitive design
- Identifying and working to protect open space
Friends’ On-the-Ground projects physically improve the health of the Chicago River watershed. These projects provide healthy habitat, restore the river’s health and cultivate community spirit.
Examples of our work in this area include:
- Piloting urban river restoration demonstration projects like the Fish Hotel
- Working with community groups to establish quality habitat and healthy riverbanks
- Developing collaborative stormwater best management and protection projects