It’s Our Fox River Day (IOFRD)

How will YOU celebrate IOFRD ‘23?

Saturday, September 16

It’s Our Fox River Day (IOFRD) is held each year on the third Saturday of September. Individuals and groups organize events to celebrate, protect and restore the health of the Fox River.

The Fox River “watershed” is the total land area that drains into the Fox River; it encompasses over 2500 square miles and serves over 1 million residents. Protecting a watershed requires thinking and acting as a watershed. It’s Our Fox River Day (IOFRD) is the largest demonstration of Fox River watershed-wide protective and celebratory action.

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Host a River Celebration Event

FOTFR invites you and your affiliates to register an event now for IOFRD ’23 to enable watershed-wide advertisement of your organization’s event and of all of the collective events. FOTFR will help you plan and implement your event. Contact us at or call 815.385.6605 for questions.

Join Us in Celebrating the Fox River

FOTFR and its partners organize events that include celebrations along the entire Fox River like municipal proclamation signing, shoreline yoga, flower blessing ceremony, art & music making, paddling parties, and the standard trash clean-ups.

Participant sign-up opening soon for IOFRD ’23.

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IOFRD = “I Offered”

IOFRD is pronounced “I offered” – 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 hat 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.

The Fox River serves 1 million residents

Without interruption the Fox River serves over 1,000,000 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. 

Managing a resource that crosses a state line and several municipal borders is a huge challenge. FOTFR’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.

A Look Back at It’s Our Fox River Day 2022!

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See More Event Photos (Submit Yours!)

IOFRD 2022 Results:

Between 2021 and 2022, the number of events more than doubled, the territory tripled and the number of participants quadrupled!
In addition to the events hosts, we had over 50 supporting partnerships.

2021 – 20 events, 60 miles, 500+ participants

2022 – 51 events, 200 miles, 2000+ participants

We are still gathering information and welcome additional materials, photos, logos and/or corrections.

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31 cleanups produced mounds of trash from in and around the Fox River and its streams.
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Six (6) groups took a mind-body path to the celebration that included yoga, tai chi, and a flower blessing.
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Nine (9) events involved a paddling component that included Jenni Kempf Schiavone’s full length river paddle.
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Ecological restoration events included oak tree planting, shoreline planting of native species, and creekside clearing of invasive species.

Friends of the Fox River is grateful for the support of organizers and participants whose impact was too enormous to fully tabulate.

IOFRD Organizers

  1. Municipalities – 9
  2. Service Organizations – 12
  3. Business hosts – 10
  4. Individuals – 4
  5. Large Events with Multiple Partners
    • Lake Geneva – 8
    • Port Barrington – 14+
    • Algonquin – 8
    • St. Charles – 20
    • Yorkville – 6
    • Additional various locations – 11
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FOTFR’s Director of Education Operations Jenni Schiavone organized a full-length river paddle trip to help raise awareness about IOFRD and the importance of the Fox River’s natural resources. Jenni experienced unique challenges, inspiring moments and beautiful scenery along her 10-day river journey, paddling and portaging.

Jenni said, “I watched giant fish, turtles, and invertebrates in their natural environment as though it were an aquarium.” Throughout her trip, she also identified threats to the health of the river such as stormwater inputs, combined wastewater overflow, agricultural runoff, and litter.

The Fox River Watershed map below highlights events that happened in 2022 across the 200-mile span of the river. The map works best in full screen mode. Zoom in to see where events were hosted. Click on a logo to see event details. Click the icon in the top left corner to open the index.

Together, we keep on fixin’ the Fox!