River School

Our River School program turns an urban corridor of White River into an environmental classroom for students, civic leaders and  selected partner programs. Enroute, our guides discuss history, shoreline and aquatic wildlife, riparian flora, environmental science and water quality, all while engaging people in a first-hand look at this valuable resource.

River School rafts
On the water with River School.

In Marion County, White River flows for 27 miles under 29 bridges and over four dams, with a score of tributaries, touching dozens of neighborhoods and feeding one 19th-century canal. Those are some of the numbers that describe White River within Indianapolis.

However, numbers alone can’t describe this remarkable riparian corrider. Our trip begins at the IAC public canoe launch beside the Monon Trail in Broad Ripple and ends two miles downstream at the takeout at Town Hall in Rocky Ripple.

The river banks on this section are thick with trees and wildlife, especially blue herons, waterfowl and turtles; shyer species, like white-tailed deer and red fox, may watch from the shadows. Damselflies and dragonflies sparkle in the breeze above smallmouth bass, bluegill and catfish. Water depth varies from a few inches to a few feet, and the flow is mostly gentle with a few quick riffles.

This section is so forested and natural, it’s easy to forget it’s in the middle of nearly two million people.

River School raft
River School Guide Donovan Miller & crew.

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