Friends’ goal is a healthier, more accessible, and better cared for river.
We achieve this through three program areas:
Our community engagement and educational 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 education and community outreach programs include:
- Inside, Out & About: Learn about far reaches of the river system through stories, podcasts, and activities
- Chicago River Schools Network: Supporting teachers and educating students about the Chicago River
- Paddling Program: Taking groups and families canoeing to see the Chicago River for themselves
- McCormick Bridgehouse & Chicago River Museum: Revealing the river’s past and future
Action Adventure Pocket Guides: Find your answers here for the Action Adventure Guides (K-4, 5-8, and 9-12)
We focus on research and advocacy, informing elected officials, and partnering with key agencies to help shape policy and planning initiatives that have a systematic long-term impact on the river’s health.
Examples of our work include:
- Chicago River Habitat Connectivity Action Plan (HCAP): Improving the function of the river system as a habitat corridor
- Chicago-Calumet River Watershed Council: Coalition for watershed-based stormwater management using multi-benefit nature-based solutions.
- River Edge Development Advocacy: Working with public and private land owners to encourage river friendly development.
- Natural Solutions Tool: Green infrastructure project prioritization tool to drive investment to the areas of the watershed with the greatest need.
- Water Quality Milestones: Advocating for improved water quality standards
Friends’ On-the-Ground projects physically improve the health of the Chicago and Calumet River system. These projects provide healthy habitat, restore the river’s health and cultivate community spirit.
Examples of our work in this area include:
- Litter Free Life: Check out all the ways that you, your community, and your company can work collectively towards a Litter Free Chicago-Calumet River.
- Wildlife Habitat: Working on a variety of projects to benefit at-risk species
- Centennial Volunteers: Get your hands dirty and have an real impact by joining this group of regular volunteers to help restore the forest preserves adjacent to the Chicago River and the Little Calumet.