Chicago River Schools Network
Welcome to River Education
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.
Consultations, lesson planning, river curricula, and other educational materials are FREE to K-12 schools within the Chicago River watershed.
All services that require the presence of a Friends' staff member, such as leading a field trip or guest speaking in your classroom are fee-for-service. Adopt a River Schools program participants may be eligible to receive services free. All other schools will be charged programming fees.
- Field Trips: $200 for one hour (+ an additional $50 for every additional hour).
- Guest speaking and classroom presentations: $100 per hour
Community groups, non-CRSN schools (those located outside the Chicago River watershed), universities, for-profit organizations, and some non-profits will have associated fees for programming. Please contact our education staff for details and/or clarification.
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?*
- I’m looking for a good river lesson for my class.
- I’d like to have a river expert speak to my class.
- I’d like assistance planning a river field trip for my class.
*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’d like to share our school's river data (or look at other schools’ data).
- I’d like my class to be able to borrow river monitoring equipment.
- I’d like my students to take action to improve water quality: Overflow Action Days.
- I’d like my students to get river Action-Adventure Guides.
- I’d like my students to attend and/or present at the Chicago River Student Congress.
- I’d like my students to visit Friends’ Bridghouse Museum.
- I’d like my students to take a Canoe Adventure.
- I’d like my students to volunteer to help clean and improve the river on Chicago River Day.
- I'd like my class to monitor Wildlife.
- I'd like my students to volunteer to restore essential Wildlife Habitat.
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.
“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.”