I&M Canal Pioneers

Teacher Resources


The I&M Canal National Heritage Corridor is full of learning opportunities.  As the best kept secret in American history, there is something for everyone to discover here.  Canal Corridor Association offers a number of programs and resources to support students, teachers and citizens to learn and teach the history of the I&M Canal.

I&M Canal Pioneers   Share the history of your family's connection to the I&M Canal and add to the growing historical account of canal life.

Teacher Resources Download lesson plans on many different
historical points of the I&M Canal.  You find Grades K-12 lesson plans in MS Word, Rich Text and HTML Format.

Robert Betz &
Floyd Swink


Robert Betz and Floyd Swink have collaborated for decades to save and restore the remnants of Illinois’ once vast prairies. It all began in 1959 when Swink, a leading authority on prairie plants, introduced Betz to the Santa Fe Prairie. Their dynamic leadership has inspired hundreds of volunteers and conservationists to preserve our remaining prairies.


As a child in Chicago, Betz (left) imagined that vacant lots were prairies. At Santa Fe Prairie he learned what constituted a true prairie. Amazed by the variety of plants found here, Betz dedicated his work to the study of native prairies.


A dedicated educator, Swink (right) also co-authored Plants of the Chicago Region, which catalogs native prairie plants in the area. His work has formed the basis for preserving Northeastern Illinois’ natural ecosystems.


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