Chicago River Student Congress A Blast! PHOTOS

Nearly 300 high school environmentalists from the city and suburbs on March 2, 2019 gathered at Von Steuben Metro Science Center for the 22nd annual Chicago River Student Congress.

The energy was amazing!

Organized by Friends of the Chicago River and supported by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Congress offered workshops on environment-related topics such as the problem of plastics in waterways, the dangers of non-native plants and aquatic life, and data on the water quality of the Chicago River. Student presentations included bird collision prevention, water quality testing, and how to make the Chicago Public Schools system more environmentally sensitive.

Solorio Academy High School science teacher Greta Kringle was named Educator of the Year.

The keynote address was given by Ruby Rorty, a University of Chicago student and California resident who founded the Santa Cruz Environmental Alliance, a local environmental organization that seeks to empower young people as ocean advocates.

"We are the generation most impacted by climate change," she told Congress participants. "It is increasingly important for young people to take the helm on addressing it."

The Congress, organized by Friends' Ecology Outreach Manager Mark Hauser, is a project of the Chicago River Schools Network (CRSN), an initiative of Friends of the Chicago River. The CRSN provides K-12 teachers the training and personalized assistance they need to immerse their students in the history, evolving ecology, and improving health of the Chicago River. Since CRSN was founded in 1996, it has impacted more than 400,000 students, including leading thousands of field trips to the river where students learn about science and nature by examining what lives in the water.

Thanks to Wings and Talons for providing the live birds of prey, CBS2 for the news coverage and Von Steuben Metropolitan Science Center and principal Jennifer Sutton for hosting.

Take a look!