Blog

Friends of the Fox River Highlights and News

witch hazel flowers

Meet Your Witchy Neighbor

By Jack MacRae Witch Hazel might sound like a cousin of Samantha Stevens.  But botanically, it is really an attractive understory shrub found in naturally wooded areas.  Their attractive, rounded-oval form makes them popular around the globe. Illinois is home to the Virginia variety, Hamamelis virginiana.  It can grow to 10-15 feet in our area and has roundish, toothed … Read more

fish washing machine

In Search of the Perfect Earth-Friendly Laundry Detergent

By Pat Brady, DivvyBack Managing Partner We all know that nothing in life is perfect, except maybe Manny’s Reuben sandwich with chicken noodle soup. Outside of that, and particularly in the area of laundry detergent, there just isn’t anything that I can describe as perfect. Why Is That? Well, first, let’s define what a perfect … Read more

by Scott Martin

Meet Your Returning Neighbors

By Jack MacRae Ornithologists have learned a great deal about dark-eyed juncos, those cute, gray and white snowbirds that visit us from the north.  We know their size, color, diet, and – most interesting – we know what they do.  Their migration patterns, flocking activity, and feeding habits make them neighbors you should meet! It’s Warmer Here … Read more

By Lưu Ly

The Fox River’s View of the Pandemic

By Gary Swick, President Infant Species As the COVID-19 pandemic infiltrates the human space on the planet, many things well known in nature are surprising us. We humans are relatively an infant species here on the 4-billion-year-old Earth. We are still just learning nature’s laws and the consequences that come from ignoring them. Like infants … Read more

walnut tree

Meet your Tall Neighbor

By Black Jack MacRae When I think of black walnuts, I think of their abscission layer.  Abscission is a botanical term used to describe the highly complex separation of leaves, flowers, and fruits from their respective plants at the end of the growing season. In a nutshell, our deciduous trees produce hormones to inhibit growth and … Read more

The Fox River Needs You

Who Represents You?

By Gary Swick, President We are very fortunate that in this watershed we are governed by a democratic system. The decisions that are made that influence the health of the Fox River and its tributaries come from research, discussion, and policy enacted by elected representatives. From the board members of the Friends of the Fox … Read more

taking a dive

Keeping the Fun in Fixin’ the Fox

By Gary Swick, President When COVID-19 came to town in March, countless routines got turned upside down. Friends of the Fox River (FOFR) considers Fox River protection an essential business, so we, like so many others, have to adapt our operations to continue to provide our services. Throughout our journey, we are keeping fun front … Read more

joe pye flowers

Meet your Eponymous Neighbor

By Jack MacRae One of the great mysteries of American wildflower lore may have been solved. Joe Pye – the eponym for Joe Pye weed – appears to have been identified!  This is according to a fascinating article from the 2017 issue of The Great Lakes Botanist (Volume 56, Issue 3-4, July), by veteran Canadian botanist … Read more

drought map

How are you handling the drought?

If you look at the lawn, you probably see evidence of drought conditions; brown and brittle leaves. The grass is probably not native to this region, so it goes into a dormant state when conditions are too arid. Intervening with watering can actually make things worse for the plants. Native plants are drought adapted and … Read more

Liquid-Pipelines-map

Currently Affecting Our Fox

By Gary Swick, FOFR President Advocacy and giving the Fox River a voice were the founding principles of Friends of the Fox River. Sometimes this concerns local issues, like the current public comment period for Lake County’s stormwater ordinance. Others are national in scope like the current White House rollback of 50 years of environmental … Read more