Since River School began in 2006, thousands of Hoosiers have had their first experience paddling on the White River. River School’s goal is to provide safe, fun, and engaging on-the-water educational experiences that enhance personal connections to the White River and the natural world.

Scott Salmon

Executive Director

Since November of 2021, Scott Salmon has been the Executive Director of Friends of the White River. Scott began volunteering with Friends in 2008 as a raft guide through the River School program, and has worked several downtown cleanups and many float trips since moving to Indianapolis in 2012.

He holds a M.P.A. from the O’Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs and a B.S. from Indiana State University. He spent nearly five years with the Indiana Division of Fish and Wildlife, managing pollution-caused fish kill response and riparian restoration, conducting environmental risk assessments, and planning aquatic habitat projects such as low-head dam removals and streambank restoration.

Scott has held teaching, logistics, and leadership positions with numerous outdoor education organizations over his career, and maintains Wilderness First Responder and PADI Open Water Scuba Instructor certifications. He currently serves as a volunteer board member with the Indiana Chapter of Backcountry Hunters and Anglers and on the Indiana Conservation Alliance Steering Committee.

Eddie Gill IV

Development Manager

Born in Ogden, Utah, Eddie now resides in Carmel, Indiana where he has lived for the past 19 years. Eddie, 23, recently graduated from Grace College in Warsaw, Indiana where he received a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science and master’s degree in Non-Profit Management. During his time at Grace he also played basketball, going to the Sweet Sixteen and Elite Eight in his final two years. He is a lifelong fisherman, adventurer and outdoor enthusiast. Since the time he could walk, all Eddie has ever wanted to do was be outside exploring all of the wonders nature has to offer.

Several years ago, Eddie vowed to make a difference. He wanted to create a more inclusive and diverse space in the outdoor world. With this in mind, he came up with Journey for a Cause. Journey for a Cause was an initiative to raise awareness in diverse communities of the opportunities and benefits experienced with fishing and boating. Inspired by Eddie’s dream to promote diversity and inclusion within the boating, fishing and outdoor adventure community, he took a ten-day journey by boat that began in Evansville, Ind. on June 1, 2021. His journey included visits at nine marinas and waterside venues, ending with a final stop at Navarre Beach, Fla. on June 10. During the voyage, Eddie promoted the mental health and physical health benefits of fishing and boating, and drove awareness of the accessibility of fishing and boating, and demonstrated that the outdoor community is welcoming to all, including those from minority and underserved communities.

Board of Directors

Tom McCain, President

Longtime volunteer for River School, cleanups, social media, and technology. Director since 2017. Lives on the river near Broad Ripple Park.

Keith Cruz, Vice President

Civil engineering site designer. Bicycle, canoe, and fishing enthusiast. Volunteer with River School and passionate about cleanups/invasive plant removal along waterways.

Adam Barnes, Past President

Director since 2013. Executive Director of the Holliday Park Foundation and former park manager there, long-time partner with River School, active in tours, cleanups and programs.

John Hazlett, Secretary

Director since 2016, heads Marion County Soil and Water Conservation District, environmental planner, former director of the Office of Sustainability for City of Indianapolis, active volunteer for river tours and cleanups.

Scheduling and Pricing

River School trips are available from mid-May until the end of October. Please see our web calendar for availability. Our standard program days begin between 8am-9am and conclude after four hours, including shuttling, setup, briefings, 1.5 to 2 hours of paddling time, and post trip cleanup. Afternoon or early evening times are possible upon request. A non-refundable deposit is required to secure your group’s reservation. The additional cost-per-participant fee will be invoiced to your group after the River School program is complete.

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River Trip FAQs

Since River School began in 2006, thousands of Hoosiers have had their first experience paddling on the White River. River School’s goal is to provide safe, fun, and engaging on-the-water educational experiences that enhance personal connections to the White River and the natural world. Our River School fleet has seven 12’ Hypalon livery-grade rafts.

The River School program turns the urban corridor of White River in Hamilton and Marion Counties into an environmental classroom. Enroute, our guides discuss the river’s history and ecology, plant and animal species living in and near the river, and water quality and its effect on human and environmental health, all while engaging people in a first-hand look at this valuable resource.

All participants must wear a Life Jacket at all times when on or near the water, and follow the safety instructions of FOWR Guides and the Trip Leader. FOWR makes the final call on all safety decisions, including “Go/No-Go” decisions based on water levels and weather forecast, consistent with our Emergency Action Plan.

Our primary River School route is from Hazel Landing Park in Carmel to Oliver's Woods Nature Preserve in Indianapolis. Participants will usually meet at Oliver’s Woods and carpool for a 5-minute drive to Hazel Landing at the beginning of the trip. Other routes are possible upon request, depending on the time of year, water levels, and available access

Group Size Non-refundable deposit (Adult Program) Non-refundable deposit (Youth Program) Additional cost per participant
Up to 12 $350 $350 $30
13 to 20 $450 $350 $30
21 to 28 $550 $350 $30

Youth Program (ages 10-12) Requirements: Schools, Summer Camps, Scouts, and other groups made primarily of youth ages 10-12 must provide one adult leader per four youth, and each adult leader must first complete a free River School Volunteer training day.

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Volunteer Raft Guide Information

Volunteer Raft Guides are the core of the River School program. If you want to join our River School team as a volunteer raft guide, this is the best way to get involved. Volunteers are trained on appropriate gear and clothing, equipment use and care, small group leadership and briefing practice, river safety procedures, and a 1.5 hour float along White River.