Giving Tuesday: Adopt a Field Trip to Benefit River-Based Learning for Students

Each year through our Chicago River Schools Network (CRSN), Friends’ staff take thousands of students from across the city and suburbs on free fieldtrips to the river to learn about science and nature which helps them do better in school. With your help we can bring more.

On Giving Tuesday, November 29, we invite you to give the gift of experiencing the wonder of the Chicago River system this holiday season. By symbolically adopting a field trip, you are supporting CRSN students today and nurturing the environmental stewards of tomorrow.

Mark your calendars today to make your donation on Giving Tuesday by visiting Friends’ website or donating through our social media channels. Or donate right now!

Celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, the CRSN serves K-12 students from schools throughout the Chicago River watershed. Over 90% of schools served by the CRSN are public schools and approximately 75% of all schools served are within the Chicago Public Schools system. That enables us to reach a racially and socio-economically diverse youth audience. Since its founding in 1996, the CRSN has engaged more than 475,000 students and teachers. This year the CRSN’s student impact totaled 13,245 via direct programming, including fieldtrips to the river with Friends’ staff and through the hundreds of teachers who have been trained to use our river curricula which is designed to meet the state learning standards.

Research reveals that being out in nature is good for our health and a trip to the river offers students the opportunity for scientific inquiry as they reflect and connect with nature. With somewhere for everyone, field trip sites span the length of the Chicago River system, from the Little Calumet River on Chicago’s Southeast Side to the river’s Middle Fork in the far north suburbs. Field trip sites often overlap with sites for Friends’ other restoration and volunteer programs, increasing the amount of attention these public lands receive and what the students learn. While on field trips, students can:

  • Use water testing kits and their classroom STEM skills to analyze river water
  • Assess the habitat surrounding the river, and measure its volumetric flow
  • Collect and identify macroinvertebrates such as crayfish to measure the river’s health
  • Investigate the ecology of the riverbanks and land surrounding the river through nature walks and observation activities
  • Take guided hikes and scavenger hunts, and make detailed drawings
  • Improve the natural area they visit by doing stewardship activities that can include litter pickup, invasive species removal, native plantings, and native seed collection.

Your Giving Tuesday donation also includes a 12-month Friends membership along with discounts on canoe trips, free McCormick Bridgehouse & Chicago River Museum membership, and invitations for tickets to our other special events.

Adopt A Field Trip Levels:

  • Level 1: $35 – Covers the cost of water chemistry testing kits for three
  • Level 2: $100 – Covers the cost of a pair of waders to get in the water
  • Level 3: $250 – Covers the cost of a fieldtrip bus or wildlife demonstration
  •  Level 4: $500 – Covers the cost for a full class field trip.
  • Level 5: Surprise us! We don’t want to limit your generosity. Any donation will impact the health of the Chicago River system for people, plants, and animals.

Give a gift of nature with Friends of the Chicago River.