Innovative Natural Solutions Tool to be Unveiled at Chicago River Summit

Ping Tom Memorial Park on the South Branch of the Chicago River.

The urgent need for multi-beneficial nature-based green infrastructure investments to address health, equity, biodiversity loss, connectivity, water management, and climate resiliency is the focus of our 2023 Chicago River Summit March 8 in downtown Chicago.

Tickets Available Here

National and local experts will gather for the summit – titled Greater Chicago Natural Solutions Tool: A Watershed Approach – where we will unveil the Natural Solutions Tool, the largest and most comprehensive data analysis and visualization tool of its kind in the US. The free, publicly available Natural Solutions Tool was custom-built to empower decision makers and community leaders to defend against environmental injustice and degradation as well as to identify locations with the greatest need and opportunity for equitable investments in natural systems. The Tool includes 84 data layers that are searchable down to the parcel level over 1,300 square miles and 176 municipalities.

Over the past 18 months, Friends of the Chicago River and The Trust for Public Land developed the Natural Solutions Tool, which evolved from collaborative and expert thinking of government agency and nonprofit partners of the Greater Chicago Watershed Alliance, which Friends convened in 2020.  

Chicago River Summit speakers include:

  • Dr. Teresa Horton: Human Biologist at Northwestern University, who will share her research on how natural landscapes improve health, wellbeing, and resiliency—making the case for increased natural areas in our urban environments
  • Raed Mansour, Director of Environmental Innovation, Chicago Department of Public Health, who will speak about his tree equity work for the City and the value of the Natural Solutions Tool and how it is applicable on the local level
  • Dr. Jeff Opperman: Global Freshwater Lead Scientist at the World Wildlife Fund, who will connect the work at the local level to findings in the Living Planet 2022 report.
  • Taj Schottland: Associate Director of The Trust for Public Land's national climate program, who will demonstrate the Natural Solutions Tool
  • Lina Velasco: Community Development Director for Richmond, CA, who will speak about Richmond’s prioritization tool and the multi-benefit framework that helped secure a multi-million dollar state grant

The Tickets for the Chicago River Summit are $75 and available here

Thank you to our generous river summit sponsor Perkins & Will