It’s Our Fox River Day

Join Friends of the Fox River and over 1000 Friends on September 17, 2022 for the largest watershed-wide celebration of the year!

Thinking Like a Watershed

To protect and restore a watershed, we must think like a watershed. It’s Our Fox River Day (IOFRD) is a public demonstration of that concept. Managing a resource that crosses a state line and several municipal borders is a huge challenge. Friends of the Fox River’s founder, Pat Reese called for a unified effort for watershed management in 1988. It’s Our Fox River Day is a step in that direction.

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Pat Reese, Founder

Hard Working River

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Fox River Watershed

Without interruption, the Fox River serves over one million watershed residents every day. It carries the wastewater and stormwater from over 100 communities and provides drinking water for over 300,000 residents. It also provides habitat for a diversity of plants and animals and is an exceptional resource for boaters, paddlers, anglers, hikers, and photographers. All the while, the Fox River brings economic value through its aesthetic appeal to every riverfront community.

Offering Thanks

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IOFRD (pronounced “I offered”) is a day intended to be both an individual and collective event that offers a thank you to the Fox River. The concept originated as a 200-mile cleanup to symbolize the need for a unified approach to protect and restore a watershed. IOFRD has evolved to include celebrations that go beyond the standard trash removal. It is intended to grow awareness throughout the entire watershed for the need to work collaboratively to protect and restore the health of the Fox River. It is also an opportunity for residents to be able to say, “I offered” thanks to my Fox River.

Cleanups Galore

Successful Fox River Cleanup

Shoreline cleanups dominate the event list and are hosted by county forest preserves, city park districts, non-profit organizations, families, church groups, scouts, service organizations, paddling groups, businesses, and individuals.

  • The cleanup that starts in Algonquin has several partners, a food truck, and music by the Belvederes.
  • A local Jeep club is helping by offering support for any heavy lifting.
  • One event host is challenging others to beat her 2022 pieces of trash collected.
  • Junkluggers, an Elgin based junk removal company, is offering to assist any efforts with trash management between Algonquin and Batavia.

And Much More

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Flower Blessing by Healing Hearts

In addition to a wide array of cleanups there are many other forms of offering a thank you celebration:

  • Three thousand native plants will be added to the banks of Flint Creek by the Barrington Greenway initiative.
  • You can practice Go with the Flow Yoga at our own Schweitzer Environmental Center and/or Tai Chi on the river’s edge in Carpentersville.
  • In Geneva, you can join Healing Hearts for a cleansing offering via a flower blessing.
  • In West Dundee, runners in the Heritage Fest 5K will pay recognition to the Fox River, as will attendees at the Lion’s Club pancake breakfast.
  • Local businesses are offering specials with a portion of the proceeds directed toward FOTFR’s Watershed Education programming.
  • If you’re interested in celebrating on the river, several paddling events are available for anyone to enjoy. 

Literally Watershed Wide

The IOFRD goal of a 200-mile celebration is being achieved by events from the City of Waukesha Wisconsin all the way downstream to the Dayton Dam in Ottawa, Illinois. We are currently working our way toward our goal of 100 events and anticipate reaching our goal of 1000 participants. New events are being added all the time;  to see the growing list visit FOTFR’s It’s Our Fox River Day page on our website . While you’re there, consider registering to organize/host your own event or participate at one listed.

Special Mention

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IOFRD Kickoff

IOFRD ’22 is being officially kicked off at the Hackmatack National Wildlife Refuge’s 10th Anniversary celebration on September 13th. FOTFR is a co-sponsor of the event. Featured speaker is Chad Pegracke, a 2013 CNN Hero of the Year recipient. The organization that he founded, Living Lands and Waters, is the largest waterway cleanup operation in the world. To learn more and get your tickets visit here.

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Jenni Schiavone to embark on her river-length canoe trip

Another pre-IOFRD initiative is a river-length canoe trip by FOTFR’s own educator, Jenni Schiavone. Her trip begins on September 8 and is scheduled to conclude on September 18. This brave endeavor is literally a demonstration of the IOFRD concept. She is welcoming folks to join her along her journey. Contact us at to connect to Jenni.

Currently, the last scheduled event for IOFRD is a kayak trip with Howling Wolfe and concludes with Sunset & S’mores at the Aurora Athletic Club. For more information and to register visit Howling Wolfe’s web site.

And Thank You

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IOFRD would not be possible without a strong showing of partners. Friends of the Fox River highly values our public governments, non-profit organizations, businesses, and individuals for their support in hosting events, promoting IOFRD, and overall collaboration. We cannot address watershed problems in isolation, and we are grateful for a watershed-wide support team.

How About YOU?

So many choices for such an important celebration of our Fox River. The big question that remains is: How will you be able to say how IOFRD (I offered)?

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