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 system, including the plant, animal and human communities which are of a part of it. The river is an excellent setting to teach about water quality, science, history and culture for students of all ages.

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


Student with a crayfish. Photo by Brittany Harthan.

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 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 email our education staff so we are aware of it.

Community groups, schools located outside the watershed, universities, for-profit organizations, and some non-profits may have associated fees for programming. We are willing to provide ongoing and individualized assistance for educators. If you can’t find what you’re looking for, please contact our education staff.

Fees for non-CRSN schools/groups:

  • Field Trips: $200 for one hour (+ an additional $50 for every additional hour).
  • Guest speaking and classroom presentations: $100 per hour

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

I’m interested in professional development opportunities.
I’d like to borrow materials from Friends' library.
I’d like a comprehensive river-based curriculum.
I’d like to teach a river unit.*

We encourage teachers to include more than one lesson or trip into a river unit. Be as creative as you want, e.g. pre & post trip lessons or trips to compare two or more sites...

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

I'd like my students to...

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