It’s Our Fox River Day

heart_river-crppdThe Fox River has come a long way from the days when it was one of the most used and abused rivers in Illinois.

Now, with the removal of some dams, improved water quality and increased public access, more fish, birds and people have come back to the Fox. So we think it’s a good time to recognize the progress that’s been made, and celebrate our collective success in making the river cleaner and healthier.

It’s Our Fox River Day!

On Saturday, September 19, 2020, Friends of the Fox River will coordinate the 2nd annual It’s Our Fox River Day event on the entire Fox River from its headwaters near Waukesha, Wisconsin to its confluence with the Illinois River in Ottawa, Illinois.

Kathy Meier

We are reaching out to towns, counties, park districts and forest preserve districts along the river, along with environmental groups, faith communities, youth organizations and individuals throughout the watershed to join in this annual event and celebrate the place the Fox River has in our lives and our communities.

canoe with trashWe encourage individuals, groups and organizations to conduct safe, socially distant, clean-ups along the river.

But some other ways to help celebrate the river include, but are not limited to, a canoe clean-up, bike trail clean-up, a family creek walk, birding, fishing, paddling, riverside yoga, a community water blessing, art making, or a river photography workshop. Creative, and fun, all ages community events and celebrations are what will make “It’s Our Fox River Day” a strong tradition in all of our communities.

Friends of the Fox River will support local event organizers by:

  • helping you plan your event
  • helping you obtain site permissions, permits and providing insurance
  • publicizing your event with a dedicated webpage and regular social media posts
  • helping you recruit, register, inform and thank your volunteers

We can also support local events by:

  • providing an environmental education exhibit (an Enviroscape) with a trained demonstrator
  • a Friend of the Fox River board member can attend your event and speak briefly and/or conduct a water ceremony
  • providing one of our six speakers who offer in-person or online presentations about the history, health, protection, and future of the Fox River

For more information please visit our Organize A River Clean Up and River Cleanup Organizers Toolkit webpages. Register your event using the form on the Organize A River Clean Up page.

The “It’s Our Fox River Day” Proclamation

Friends of the Fox River has produced a Resolution proclaiming the the 3rd Saturday in September “It’s Our Fox River Day” and has distributed it to the Mayor’s and President’s of the thirty-nine cities and villages along the river from Waukesha to Ottawa, and the nine counties in both States. We’ve invited those elected leaders to present it to their town or county council for adoption.

Has your town or county adopted this Proclamation? Contact your local elected official and ask them to support this watershed wide and river length effort to unify our communities, recognize the unity of the river and watershed, and protect the river that connects us.

Healing the Fox River

Gary Swick“We are all friends of our Fox River. Friends help each other in in hard times, and celebrate with them in good times.” says President Gary Swick. “Helping to heal our river by removing trash is important. We are inviting community organizations and residents to join us in several riverside celebrations of our community’s most important resource.”

For most of the last 30 years Friends of the Fox River has coordinated river cleanups with towns, fire and police departments and other community groups.  Friends of the Fox River’s founder Pat Reece proclaimed in his 1988 vision for the recovery of the Fox River: “a few groups and agencies cannot protect the Fox River. It will take a watershed scale effort involving each state, county, and community working together in harmony.”

Creating “It’s Our Fox River Day” is just one step Friends of the Fox River is taking toward our goal of creating a unified community of caretakers along the entire Fox River.

Three Ways You Can Help

2020 It’s Our Fox River Day Events

Sites listed below are open to the public and sponsored by a local cleanup organizer. Volunteers will also clean up sites from Burlington, Wisconsin to Ottawa, Illinois in small groups or on their own. All volunteers are encouraged to register (see the form below) to help local organizers with planning, to receive information for the clean up at your site, and to receive last minute notices.

Friday, September 18th

5 p.m. to 7 p.m. – Clean up the Fox River in Trout Park River’s Edge
organized by State Senator Cristina Castro and State Representative Anna Moeller

5 p.m. to 7 p.m. – Clean up the Fox River by the Gail Borden Library
organized by the Boys and Girls Club of Elgin

Saturday, September 19th

8 a.m. to 12 noon in Batavia – Clean up the Fox River in Glenwood Park Forest Preserve
organized by the Forest Preserve District of Kane County
Meet at the shelter in Glenwood Park FP.

9 a.m. to noon in St. Charles – Clean up 9 sites on both sides of the Fox River
organized by the River Corridor Foundation of St. Charles and The Conservation Foundation
Begin at Ferson Creek Park Forest Preserve.

9 a.m. to noon in Geneva – Clean up the Fox River in GenevaKristin Delaney, family and friends cleanup in S. Elgin
organized by The Natural Resources Committee of Geneva
Meet on the south end of Island Park at the spillway.

9 a.m. to noon in Montgomery – Clean up the Fox River in Montgomery
organized by the Rotary Club of Montgomery
Meet at the Montgomery Village Hall, 200 N. River St.

9 a.m. to noon in McHenry – Clean up along Boone Creek in McHenry
organized by the Environmental Defenders of McHenry County
Meet at the Jewel Food Store, 4222 W. Elm Street, McHenry

Noon to 1 p.m. in Geneva – Water Blessing
Presented by
Meet on the pedestrian bridge at the South end of Island Park

1 p.m. to 4 p.m. in Carpentersville – Cleanup the Fox River in Carpentersville
organized by the Rotary Club of Carpentersville
Meet on the north side of the OTTO Engineering campus at 2 East Main St.

TO REGISTER as a Cleanup Volunteer, or just help out as an Event Volunteer, please fill out the form below. Please fill out a separate registration form for yourself and any child or underage family member who is volunteering with you. The form will only register one person at a time.


Please see the FAQ page or contact us here.


Its Our Fox River Day Volunteer Registration Form

Register as a volunteer at a It's Our Fox River Day event
  • Thank you for volunteering to help at an "It's Our Fox River Day" cleanup or event on Saturday, September 19, 2020. You must be 18 years or older to register. Parents and guardians may register for children. Local event organizers may have age limits.

Girl Scouts cleanup in Batavia