Exploring the Chicago River with Urban Rivers

First-year students embarked on their first off-campus Field Experience of their GCE career, and it was definitely one for the books. The students are investigating the guiding question, “How is our understanding of water reflected in our interactions with it?” in their STEAM course, Water. Phil from Urban Rivers talked about their efforts to restore life to the Chicago River by picking up garbage, building floating gardens, and introducing organisms like mussels back into the river. Phil introduced Wild Mile Chicago, a project to reclaim the North Branch Canal and Turning Basin to create accessible public open space for the community. This idea, outlined over the course of many community meetings, builds on the vision of a renewed urban ecology for the city of Chicago and helps to generate cleaner, healthier water, and more vibrant wildlife ecosystems.

Phil and several Urban Rivers volunteers got the students on kayaks to explore the stretch of river at North Avenue. In addition to experiencing the Chicago River on a beautiful Friday afternoon, they also made seed bombs (native plant seeds and mushroom compost packed in clay) and launched them into the river using a slingshot!

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