From wasted rivers to wildlife parks

Your support brings life back to urban waterways, connecting city residents to nature in ways never before possible


Our mission is to transform city rivers into wildlife sanctuaries.

Learn more about our work from some of the young students we work with.

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Sustainable Projects FOR A BRIGHTER FUTURE

Urban Rivers works in partnership with the City of Chicago’s Department of Planning and Development, community groups, large corporations and local businesses to ensure thoughtful planning and acceptance of the Wild Mile as a long-term and cherished asset. 

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Community Engagement & Economic growth

Restoring life to the Chicago River goes beyond the plants and wildlife that now have habitat to thrive - a beautiful river lined with lush greenery and public walkways brings life to the community and revitalizes businesses along the river’s edge. 


Proven Science For Ecological Restoration

From the very first section of floating habitat installed, Urban Rivers has used scientific research to inform our decisions, with the goal of scaleable impact for global good. Through partnerships with universities and scientific institutions, like Shedd Aquarium, we continue to learn from this first-of-its-kind endeavor.

The Wild Mile


The first-ever floating eco-park of its scale in the world. By 2020, we will complete a mile-long park of floating gardens and forests with public walkways and kayak docks in the Chicago River.

The Wild Mile will provide vital habitat for native wildlife and function as a public park, open-air museum, botanical garden, kayaker destination, and classroom for the community.



When you make a tax-deductible donation to Urban Rivers, you’re supporting the most effective and innovative solutions to bringing life back to city rivers. By building urban wildlife parks in partnership with students and other members of the community, we can all experience, first-hand, what it means to re-engineer our built environment and make a better future together. That’s why your contribution is so much more than charity; it’s an investment in the future of our cities and planet.



We rely on our team of dedicated volunteers to keep the Wild Mile pristine, monitor wildlife and collect data for our research projects. Does kayaking through the Chicago River 1-2 hours a week sound fun? Become a River Ranger! Don't worry, we'll train you on everything you'll need to know, from citizen science to kayaking safety. Our volunteers come from all backgrounds but have one thing in common - they make a huge difference!