On Saturday, October 11th, students in Professor Mike Bryson’s SUST 220 Water class at Roosevelt University’s Schaumburg Campus took a canoe trip on the North Branch of the River, from Goose Island on the near-North Side of the city to Wolf Point in the heart of Chicago’s Loop — the place where the North Branch meets the South Branch, and ground zero in the history of Chicago’s development from a frontier town to a world metropolis. The trip was led by expert river guides with the Friends of the Chicago River organization, which has long advocated for the conservation of the river and helped raise its public profile since the late 1970s.
This was the fourth such trip Bryson has taken with RU students since the spring of 2009, the previous three trips taking place on Bubbly Creek, a notoriously-polluted tributary of the South Branch that for many decades absorbed the waste from the Chicago Stockyards. Such field experiences give students in RU’s Sustainability Studies program a chance to explore urban nature first-hand and think about
- how water moves through those ecosystems and sustains their biotic communities;
- what kinds of pressures urban or suburban development exert upon these ecosystems;
- the impact of such pressures on water quality, flooding, etc.;
- conservation and/or restoration strategies that can improve the quality and sustainability of these aquatic ecosystems;
- the significance of water quality to the overall sustainability of urban systems, both in terms of nature and people.
For a full description of the trip as well as more photographs, see this account on Prof. Bryson’s faculty blog.