It’s Our Fox River Day 2021


The 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 18, 2021, Friends of the Fox River will coordinate the 3rd 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 trash

We 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, on all its tributaries, and throughout its watershed.

Three Ways You Can Help

  • To register as a Cleanup Volunteer, or an Event Volunteer (help planning, set-up, registration, etc.) 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.
  • If you’d like to organize an It’s Our Fox River Day clean up, please visit our Organize A River Clean Up and River Cleanup Organizers Toolkit webpages.
  • If you’d like to support It’s Our Fox River Day events, but are unable to attend a cleanup or celebration, please make a donation here.


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 18, 2021. 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