On Saturday, July 16, the Friends of the Fox River (FOFR) completed the first year of its new riverbank planting initiative at a joint planting event co-sponsored by the Illinois Smallmouth Alliance (ISA). Around 40 volunteers comprised of members of FOFR, the ISA, and concerned citizens gathered at Violet Patch Park in Oswego to plant 1,750 water willow plants in the Fox River. This planting was the last of three water willow plantings sponsored by the Friends of the Fox River during 2005. The other planting sites were West Dundee (1,000 water willow plugs planted on July 9) and Montgomery (1,000 water willow and 75 lizard’s tail plugs planted on May 21). As at the Violet Patch Park site, both the West Dundee and Montgomery plantings attracted around 40 volunteers.
The plantings were made possible through grants received from the Kane and Kendall County Soil and Water Conservation Districts that provided the money for purchasing the plants. Also instrumental to the success of the plantings was the assistance provided by Bob Rung, Region 2 Streams Biologist from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, who directed the planting process at all three sites and provided expert guidance in helping to select sites for the plantings. Other individuals and organizations who merit special recognition in making the plantings successful include Dave Margolis of the Oswegoland Park District who provided logistical support for the Oswego and Montgomery plantings and Thom McNamee and Dave Nerge of Rosie O’Hare’s Public House who provided a complimentary lunch for the volunteers who planted at the West Dundee site. Mark Kasick and the Illinois Smallmouth Alliance also provided volunteer help at our May planting and co-sponsored our July 16 planting. Finally, groups of students from the Illinois Math and Science Academy, the College of DuPage and Aurora University provided volunteer assistance.
Friends of the Fox River plans to make water willow plantings an annual event. Check future newsletters for updates on our planting schedule and opportunities to volunteer your time for a worthy cause. Thanks to all of our volunteers this year, the planting project was a big success!