Field Trips

Don’t miss out on this chance to connect with fellow attendees and expand your knowledge. All field trips will take place on Wednesday, May 15, though some start and end times will vary by trip. Field trips at River Rally are made possible thanks to the dedicated efforts of local organizations. To streamline our processes and minimize administrative tasks, we do not offer refunds for field trips. By signing up for a field trip, you’re making a commitment to attend.

Online field trip registration is now CLOSED. Registered River Rally attendees will be able to register on-site at the registration desk.

Explore Field Trips

Aquatic Macroinvertebrate and Water Quality Sampling

🚌 Bus Travel 👟 Walking 🐟 Wading (Optional) ☀️ Outdoor

$50 per person

Dive into the fascinating world of aquatic macroinvertebrates on this immersive field trip led by Matt Bain, LGROW’s Aquatic Specialist. As you explore the waterbody, you’ll discover the incredible diversity of these organisms and learn how to identify them to Order using just your naked eye. This hands-on experience offers the opportunity to master sampling techniques for aquatic macros while gaining valuable insights into their role in water quality assessment. You’ll uncover the significance of their presence, absence, and abundance in relation to water quality, enhancing your understanding of ecosystem health. Physical requirements for this trip include some walking and the option to wade in the water, up to waist deep with provided waders. Participants can also choose to remain on shore, engaging in sample sorting and identification basics. Rest assured, all necessary equipment will be provided by GVMC/LGROW, ensuring a seamless and educational experience for all attendees. 

Art and Activism Walking Tour

👟 Walking ☀️ Outdoor 

$30 per person

Led by the Lower Grand River Organization of Watersheds and local artists from Lions & Rabbits Center for the Arts, a beloved Grand Rapids nonprofit, this immersive experience will showcase the Adopt-a-Drain program, spanning the watershed and featuring captivating art installations that raise awareness about storm drains and their impact on our water resources. As you travel through the city, you’ll discover how art and community collaboration converge to address environmental challenges, gaining insights into the process of partnership between municipalities, watershed groups, and artists. Learn firsthand about the creative initiatives transforming stormwater management into engaging public education campaigns, fostering a deeper connection to the local waterways. Participants should be prepared to walk or travel approximately 1.5-2 miles on ADA accessible sidewalks and paths. Traverse the city streets and scenic pathways while immersing yourself in the vibrant art scene of Grand Rapids, where each installation tells a story of environmental stewardship and community engagement. 

Grand River Litter Clean-Up

👟 Walking ☀️ Outdoor 


Join us in a collective effort to give back to the community and the waters that have welcomed us this week at River Rally! Partnering with West Michigan Environmental Action Council (WMEAC), Osprey Initiative, and River Network, we invite you to participate in a litter clean-up along the Grand River. Following the clean-up, dive deeper into data collection models essential for monitoring and improving water quality nationwide. Osprey Initiative will offer training on the Escaped Trash Assessment Protocol (ETAP) using the EPA’s Debris Tracker App, empowering you with the tools to make a tangible difference in your community. Additionally, join us for insights from a University of Georgia researcher seeking volunteers to conduct litter transects, contributing to the EPA Trash Free Waters Program’s nationwide litter model. By participating, you’ll not only learn valuable data collection techniques but also get involved in ongoing efforts to enhance environmental stewardship.

Grand River Restoration Project Walking Tour

👟 Walking ☀️ Outdoor 

$30 per person

Delve into the rich history and conservation efforts along the urban waterfront of Grand Rapids. As you stroll the banks of the Grand River, you’ll gain insights into the river’s significance to native peoples and its role in shaping the city’s landscape. Learn about the Urban Waters Federal Partnership and its impact on the Grand River watershed, providing a glimpse into collaborative endeavors aimed at environmental stewardship. Participants should be prepared to walk or roll approximately 2 miles on ADA accessible sidewalks and paths. The tour will depart and conclude at GVSU, traversing both the east and west banks of the Grand River to provide a comprehensive exploration of the area’s history and restoration progress. This tour promises to be a memorable and enlightening experience for all, offering a deeper connection to the natural and cultural heritage of Grand Rapids. 

Kayaking the Grand River - FULL


🚌 Bus Travel 🛶 Kayaking ☀️ Outdoor 🕒 Early Departure 

$50 per person

Get out on the water and discuss the impactful initiatives led by Latino Outdoor GR and other partners to leverage public funding and promote equitable access to nature. This outing offers a unique opportunity to engage in open conversations about diversity, inclusion, and environmental stewardship. Learn about GR Outside’s pioneering efforts, initially fueled by blended funding, to connect frontline communities with the natural world and establish sustainable practices for the future. The kayak launch at Riverside Park ensures accessibility for all participants, with ADA-compliant facilities available. As you navigate the serene waters, take in the picturesque surroundings and reflect on the importance of creating inclusive outdoor spaces for everyone to enjoy. Throughout the trip, discussions will touch upon strategies to enhance accessibility and promote diversity in outdoor recreation. Lunch will be provided on this field trip, due to an early departure. 

Lake Michigan Coastline Exploration: Muskegon, Michigan

🚌 Bus Travel 👟 Walking / Standing 🕒 Full Day ☀️ Outdoor 

$75 per person

This full-day adventure along the picturesque shores of Lake Michigan will begin with a half-day dune hike at Muskegon State Park, led by freshwater dune experts and local advocates dedicated to preserving these natural wonders. Traverse the sandy terrain, immerse yourself in dune stories, and gain insight into the efforts aimed at safeguarding these unique ecosystems. Following your dune exploration, embark on the W.G. Jackson research vessel from GVSU’s Annis Water Resources Institute, where you’ll delve into hands-on sampling and freshwater science. Learn about ongoing research initiatives while experiencing the pristine waters of Muskegon Lake and Lake Michigan firsthand. Perhaps, if you’re feeling adventurous, dip your toes into Lake Michigan’s icy spring waters! While the W.G. Jackson vessel is ADA accessible from the dock, please note that the onboard sea-doors may pose challenges for those with mobility aids. Additionally, anticipate standing for approximately two hours during the vessel excursion. The dune hike will traverse sandy terrain. Lunch will be provided on this field trip, due to an early departure. 

Plaster Creek Native Plant Greenhouse and Floodplain Restoration

🚌 Bus Travel 🌱 Planting ☀️ Outdoor 

$50 per person

Immerse yourself in the world of native plant restoration and conservation with an engaging field trip led by Plaster Creek Stewards (PCS) at Calvin University. Discover the transformative power of native plants as you explore PCS’s native plant greenhouse and nursery, where hands-on learning opportunities await. Gain valuable insights into plant propagation techniques and logistics, equipping you with the skills to contribute to green projects in your own community. Afterward, move upstream to explore three innovative floodplain restoration projects designed to enhance biodiversity and capture stormwater runoff. As you delve into these restoration sites, you’ll have the chance to participate in planting floodplain species, contributing directly to ecosystem revitalization. While the experience offers valuable learning opportunities for all participants, navigating the floodplain may present challenges for those with mobility impairments.  

Plaster Creek Urban Hike Adventure

👟 Walking ☀️ Outdoor 🕒 Early Departure 

$30 per person

Hike through the scenic landscape of Ken-O-Sha Park, where the journey begins amidst blooming spring flowers and majestic floodplain trees. As you travel downstream, the trail will lead you through diverse neighborhoods, each with its own stories to tell. From historic railways to vibrant murals, and future sustainability projects, every stop along the way unveils a unique facet of the creek’s journey through time. Be prepared to trek approximately 5-6 miles across various terrain types, including single tracks and slopes. While mobility and endurance may pose challenges, the PCS team is committed to ensuring a memorable and inclusive experience for all adventurers. This trip will take an early departure at 12:00 PM, before the plenary session. Lunch will be provided on this field trip, due to an early departure. 

Grand River Greenway Bike Tour

🚲 Biking ☀️ Outdoor 

$30 per person

Embark on a guided bicycle tour along the scenic Grand River Greenway, a regional initiative spanning 9,000 acres of public land between Grand Rapids and Grand Haven. Led by experts from the Grand Valley Metropolitan Council and other regional partners, you’ll pedal along the Grand River and through Millennium Park, immersing yourself in one of the nation’s largest urban parks. As you travel, you’ll pause at various points of interest to hear firsthand from local experts about the Greenway’s impact on reuniting communities with their local waterway, both culturally and physically. This field trip will require participants to comfortably ride a bicycle for ten miles, including stretches on roadways. Helmets will be provided for safety. 

The Highlands Daylighting Walking Tour

👟 Walking ☀️ Outdoor 

$30 per person

Experience an immersive walking tour of the Highlands, a vibrant 121-acre urban natural area undergoing restoration from a former golf course. Led by experts from the Land Conservancy of West Michigan and Blandford Nature Center, you’ll witness firsthand the transformative City of Grand Rapids 2022 stream daylighting project, which has revitalized a buried concrete storm drain into a thriving 2,000-foot corridor of native riparian habitat. Along the way, you’ll explore various restoration activities and learn about the partnership efforts shaping the future of this unique landscape. This field trip will require walking or traveling 1-2 miles over uneven terrain, with the possibility of encountering wet or muddy conditions.