Chicago River Schools Network

Welcome to River Education

1. This is my first time here...

2. I'm a teacher, and I want to explore the Chicago River...

3. I've been here before, but I am now looking for more...

4. I'm an Adopt A River teacher...

The Chicago River Schools Network (CRSN), provides K-12 teachers the training and personalized assistance they need to immerse their students in the turbulent history, evolving ecology, and improving health of the Chicago River. The story we tell will engage, provoke, and inspire all those we teach to increase their awareness of, empathy toward, and actions benefiting the Chicago River ecosystem, including the plant, animal and human communities which are of a part of it. The river is a dynamic source of real-world information to teach about water, science, history and culture in the classroom. It is also an excellent tool for hands-on scientific experimentation, water quality monitoring, art/writing projects, and ecological restoration for students of all ages.

View a short presentation (just 12 slides) about the Chicago River Schools Network.

This is my first time here...

With some exceptions, all services and materials are FREE to K-12 schools within the Chicago River watershed who are members of the CRSN. Member schools are those that have been to a Friends' workshop or have had a consultation with our education staff.

To request a FREE consultation, please complete the CRSN NEW TEACHER QUESTIONNAIRE then please email our education staff so we are aware of it.

Here is a current list of CRSN Member Schools. Community groups, non-CRSN schools (those located outside the watershed), universities, for-profit organizations, and some non-profits may have associated fees for programming. Please contact us for details and/or clarification.

Fees (for non-CRSN schools):
Field Trips: $200 for one hour (+ an additional $50 for every additional hour).
Guest speaking and classroom presentations: $100 per hour

We are willing to provide ongoing and individualized assistance for educators. If you can't find what you're looking for, always feel free to contact our education staff.

I’m a teacher, and I want to explore the Chicago River...

Do you want professional development (whether you're a teacher or not)?
Do you want to borrow materials from our library?
Do you want a comprehensive river curriculum?
Do you want to teach a river unit?*

*We strongly encourage teachers to include more than one of the listed components into a river unit. Be as creative as you want (Example: An in-class speaker, a river field trip and two lessons (pre & post trip).

I’ve been here before, but I am now looking for more...

We are willing to provide ongoing and individualized assistance for educators. If you can’t find what you’re looking for, always feel free to contact our education staff.


Mark Hauser welcomes a group on a field trip to the Chicago River. Photo by Brittany Harthan

“The value of this program is immeasurable. My students learn an appreciation for nature, plus they gain confidence in how they can make a positive difference. I have never had a student regret going on the trip - in fact they talk about it for days afterwards and want to go again the next year.”

Caterina Plummer, Schurz High School