EPA Supports Chicago River Schools Network

Friends' Mark Hauser (orange hat) helps CRSN students with water quality testing at Beaubien Woods on Chicago's South Side.

This month the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a $60,000 grant to Friends of the Chicago River as part of the agency’s Environmental Education Grants Program.

The grant funds will support the Chicago River Schools Network (CRSN) – Friends’ premier youth educational program – “to conduct outreach and programming with school districts, and host both teacher workshops and stewardship field trips to help students explore the Chicago-Calumet River system and learn about nature and science.”

“When we equip communities with the right tools to raise awareness and advance environmental education, it benefits everybody,” said EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan. “This funding will empower students and teachers in schools, and support community members in underserved and overburdened areas as we work together to tackle the climate crisis, advance environmental justice and deliver on our mission of protecting human health and the environment for all.”

Since 1996, the CRSN has helped thousands of teachers and more than 475,000 students explore the Chicago River. During the past school year, the CRSN worked with 28 schools on 38 field trips, teaching 1,585 students about the river; mostly at the river’s edge.

“This environmental education grant increases our ability to provide K-12 teachers the training and personalized assistance they need to immerse students in the turbulent history, evolving ecology, and improving health of the Chicago-Calumet River system,” said Mark Hauser, ecology outreach manager of Friends of the Chicago River and head of the Chicago River Schools Network.