Friends’ goal is a healthier, more accessible, and better cared for river.

We achieve this through three program areas:

Education and Outreach
Public Policy and Planning
On-the-Ground Projects


Education and Outreach


Photo by Brittany Harthan.

Our Education and Outreach 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 educational programs include:

Action Adventure Pocket Guides: Find your answers here for the Action Adventure Guides (K-4, 5-8, and 9-12)


Public Policy and Planning

We focus on research and policy initiatives, informing elected officials, and partnering with key agencies to help shape policies that have a systematic long-term impact on the river’s health.  Our planning committee reviews river edge developments to ensure river sensitive design, and our Clean Water Initiatives improve water quality for people and for wildlife.

Examples of our work include:


On-the-Ground Projects

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:

  • The Fish Hotel: Piloting urban river restoration demonstration projects
  • 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.