Education was the first program offered by the River Parkway Trust shortly after it was formed in 1988. Recognizing that children today have much less physical and unstructured contact with nature than did previous generations, the Board of Directors felt it was important to bring kids to the river to learn about it and to develop a sense of connection with the river.

Since that time, our programs have expanded to include outdoor education opportunities for all ages.  Families often enjoy spending a Saturday morning on one of our nature walks along the Parkway, and adults enjoy cooling off with a downstream paddle on a guided canoe tour.

Our programs are thriving today, and boast of bringing more than 25,000 people to the San Joaquin River Parkway each year. This huge effort would not be possible without the help of trained River Docents, Volunteer Canoe Guides, Nature Walk Guides, and River Center Hosts--special groups of volunteers that introduce our participants to the alive and wild side of the river.

A summary of each of our program offerings is included below.  You can find more details by clicking the program titles below.


Take your class on a field trip to a site along the San Joaquin River in Fresno for a day of hands-on learning tied to CA Next Generation Science Standards. A River Docent will lead your trip, all materials will be provided. Cost: $180/classroom for 1st-8th grade River Field Trips, $7/student for pre-K and Kindergarten River Buddies Trips. Register early for fall and spring trips.


Nature walks are a low-cost way to experience new places along the Parkway.  Tours are offered on properties not usually open to the public, and include information about a variety of river-related topics.  Check the schedule for the latest offerings.


Our downstream canoe and kayak tours are led by trained river guides, and are usually scheduled between April and September of each year.  (Timing may vary depending on river conditions.) Tours regularly take place on Friday evenings and Saturday or Sunday mornings; other times are available for private group tours.


Children ages preschool through High School can participate in our week-long day camps along the river.  We currently offer camps at two sites - Scout Island Education Center and Owl Hollow.  River Camp at Scout Island provides K-8 grade students an opportunity for experiential learning about the river in a relaxed setting.  Our three-day Young Explorers camps give Preschoolers a taste of what the river has to offer, with special activities for younger children and a shorter camp day.  River Camp at Owl Hollow provides 7-12 grade students the opportunity to learn more about land conservation and river ecology through art, canoeing, and other hands-on activities.


The River Parkway Trust offers weekend programs for pre-K through high-school aged youth as well as family-friendly events throughout the year.