Three events kept us hopping and there’s more to come in August!
Saturday 8/6 was the Fox River Rusty Rodeo. Friends of the Fox River (FOTFR) volunteers joined staff from our partners Kane County Forest Preserve District, Fox Valley Park District, St. Charles Park District, Center for Great Lakes Literacy, and Sea Grant Illinois-Indiana for this multi-location event.
Over 500 family members waded into shallow portions of the Fox River and creeks with nets and buckets. They were in search of the invasive species, the Rusty Crayfish. They were able to collect several thousand of them in less than two hours.
The activity was a wonderful opportunity for folks of all ages to connect with our Fox River, help restore the biological balance (we are making progress from last year) and have fun. At one site in St. Charles, over 1,000 crayfish were harvested, and ALL were Rusties. To learn more about this effort: https://dnr.wisconsin.gov/topic/Invasives/fact/RustyCrayfish.html
Highland on the Island
Immediately following on 8/6 was the 1st annual Highland on the Island event in West Dundee, orchestrated by the FOTFR Education Director, Jenni Schiavone. Families of local Highland Elementary School gathered in shifts to load into canoes that traveled from the mainland to the Island downstream and back. On the Island, they explored and heard Native American stories, and learned about a variety of what nature has to tell.
Back on the mainland of Southend Park, everyone had the opportunity to view the Enviroscape model in action, touch live river critters swimming in a pool, and use binoculars to view island name choices to place their vote. This event was a collaboration of school and FOTFR volunteers. Without volunteers, the 150 guests would not have had this opportunity.
No Clean Water, No Clean Beer (NCWNGB)
On Monday 8/8, FOTFR volunteers threw the largest fundraising event of the year for the 7th time. Bandito Barney’s legendary beer garden is the home for this very popular gathering. This year, a record 142 guests had the opportunity to sample, shop and supportFOTFR Watershed Education. Five breweries each brought four different beers for sampling, Eastside Café – Coffee & Wine Bar provided a selection of wine and GigaWatt Coffee Roasters supplied two flavors of coffee in a can. Local businesses were generous in offering 45 items for the small and large item raffles. High value items were offered as silent auction chances. Many of these were outdoor recreation oriented including: a glider ride, guided kayak trips, kayak rentals, a guided canoe trip, a variety of packs from Rocky Mountain Outfitters and Patagonia, and several golf options. Four different native plant packages, an Arizona Condo stay, and more had bidders competing. These were truly shopping bargains!
We are very happy to report that we did meet our $10,000 goal. This is essential for FOTFR to continue our work. FOTFR is grateful for the generosity of our guests. The joy surrounding this event is priceless. An army of FOTFR volunteers along with the drink vendors, and Bandito’s staff made this an exceptionally fun experience. The crowd was most definitely there for supporting the efforts of FOTFR. We are confident that this kind of love will be supporting us throughout the year. NCWNGB was a success!