So Many Ways to Be a Better Friend

Spring is in full swing. Those spring ephemerals are in glorious bloom, and folks are getting more active with outdoor activities. Friends of the Fox River (FOTFR) just wrapped up the spring friend-raising and fundraising drive. Many Friends took the prompt to spring forward with their financial support and others to sign up to emerge as organizational volunteers. This is how we grow our capacity to build a watershed community of caretakers. Thank you to those who chose to spring forward. We are excited to have more Friends helping to fulfill our mission.

Friends Unite

State Representative Anna Moeller & Friends of the Fox River Elgin Cleanup

Over 80 Friends gathered on Saturday in Elgin for the FOTFR longest-running cleanup tradition, the State Representative Anna Moeller/FOTFR river shoreline cleanup. Among them was a large group from our partner Reyes/Coke Bottling, the Fox River Water Reclamation District Staff and Board, Elgin’s Riverside Treatment Plant Operators, a pair of paddlers from Prairie State Canoeists/ Izaak Walton League, Elgin City Council member Steffen, our own board and staff, Moeller’s enthusiastic staff, a group from potential new partner Ivy Hill dispensary, and many loyal locals.

Thank you also to Waste Management for providing trash removal and the Kane County Forest Preserve District for picking up bags along the trail. It takes a lot of partners to protect and restore a watershed. Check our calendar for other cleanups and consider helping us host one in your community.

Community Events

Fun with macroinvertebrates at KidFest.
Learning about aquatic life at KidFest.

Also on Saturday was KidFest. This popular Barrington Park District event drew over 1500 participants, mostly young families, to experience over 40 activities, including the original anchor – kite flying.

FOTFR was parked near Cuba Marsh where FOTFR Board members and staff welcomed over 500 folks for hands-on learning about turtles, beavers, and the bottom dwellers of the marsh.

The kids marveled at the squirming tadpoles, insect larva, leeches, and more, using spoons in small pans. We believe that some wildlife biologists were ignited that day.

Consider marking your calendar for the first Saturday in May 2025 to help with providing the fun. Being double booked on Saturday made it all-hands-available. We sometimes need more hands.

Fun Fundraisers

YOU can help us fundraise simply by volunteering for the Elgin Valley Fox Trot Sunday June 2nd from 7-11am.

We need 10+ volunteers for water stations and to guard a few intersections. These are easy tasks for a fun time with over 1000 runners participating. FOTFR as a volunteer sponsor receives a portion of the proceeds.

Contact us if you are interested and register directly here.

Students in their Streams

Kids Island Pre-K learns about life in the stream.
Kids Island Pre-K takes a nature walk with FOTFR board member Kerry Kelly.

Education is the answer to how to sustainably build a watershed community of caretakers. This is the busy season for us to provide children the unique experience of sampling the health of the Fox River and its streams.

By regularly collecting biological data, we keep a watchful eye on water quality trends and help develop a stewardship ethic. Just in the mid- April to mid- May period this year we will have hosted 1750 students in watershed education experiences.

These included every grade level from Pre-K to High School students and the accompanying adults. We are looking to build our education team throughout the watershed. Contact us to explore available options.

In Your Yard

We only have a few free trees left for the asking. Contact us at to arrange a pickup. Oaks support more wildlife than any other tree. Plant some. Native insect and bird species are experiencing population declines. On the property that you own or utilize (school, church, business), you can be enhancing habitat by incorporating native species into the landscape. Consult Start in Your Yard here for more information.

In addition, eliminating or reducing chemical applications is essential. Most herbicides and pesticides kill other species as well as the targets. If you are killing mosquitoes with applications, you are probably also killing fireflies.

Happy Mother’s Day, Mother Earth

We are all children of the Earth.  Families should take care of each other, and the Earth is part of our family.  The Native Americans had a relationship with Mother Earth that we should consider adopting.  They believed one should not take the first (flower, seeds, fruits), one should not take more than half of what a plant offers, and one should not take the last of what a plant offers.  Native Americans respectfully ask permission before taking and give thanks after they take.  Plants themselves help Mother Earth by helping water infiltrate the soil wherever it lands on the ground.  We have changed the landscape, but we can reduce our impacts and work to restore the Earth’s natural health.  It’s possible to Be a Better Friend.

Happy Mother’s Day to all the earth’s creatures and Mother Earth.