winter gear

Annual State of the Fox River Report

Friends of the Fox River’s President Gary Swick presents his annual “State of the Fox River” review of what’s going on with the Fox River currently, what’s happened since last year, and what’s planned for this year. “Last year we celebrated anniversaries, accomplishments, and activities with party horns. This year we will be putting on … Read more

web and earth

Nature’s Gifts

By Gary Swick, FOFR President Nature offers us much that we take for granted. Our need for drinkable water, clean air, and bounty of food choices are often underappreciated because they are so readily available. In addition, nature provides many beautiful gifts of art for our appreciation. Many of us are anticipating with excitement the … Read more

blue green algae microphotograph

Blue Greens in the Fox – Another Dam Matter

By Art Malm, P. E., FOFR Director A disclaimer: The study of algae is a huge and enormously complex science. Every generality thought to be true has its exceptions. Even the word algae should be printed with an asterisk, explaining its use to be generally related to microscopic organisms that have chlorophyll or similar means … Read more

students in a stream

Student Monitoring Season Wrap-up

By Meghan Yancey The fall water quality monitoring season has come to a successful end! This was my first season with Friends of the Fox River (FOFR) and it’s been great for me to see both students and teachers committed to continuing this work. This fall we worked with 12 schools and over 1,000 students … Read more

river Santa

The Fox River’s Gift List

By Gary Swick, President  Many years ago I was given a wood carving from an anonymous source. The accompanying note read: “This is the River Spirit. It only speaks to children and a few select adults. You are one of those.“ So I was sitting by the Fox River wondering what it has on its … Read more

Meet Your Neighbors: Season of the Witch

By Jack MacRae Witch Hazel was one of my least favorite Looney Toons characters.  She wasn’t a deep thinker like Foghorn Leghorn or a slapstick genius like Yosemite Sam.  But I do like her namesake shrub.  Witch Hazel was named after an attractive tree native to our understory of our wooded lands.  Blooming during the fall, this … Read more

St. Charles WWTP discharge

How Does the River Flow?

From time to time Friends of the Fox River receives questions thru our website or Facebook page about the river, pollution and other watershed related issues. Here’s a question we received that FOFR  Director Art Malm researched and answers. J. Faust asks: Do you have an estimate of the volume the many water reclamation districts … Read more

Will The River Stop Flowing?

By Art Malm, FOFR Board Member Will the river stop flowing altogether in dry years if the low head dams like the one at Carpentersville are removed? “I remember back in the 60’s when we walked across the top of the Carpentersville dam and it was dry”. This was the memory of a gentleman who … Read more

students in the stream

What is Education For? Citizen Empowerment

By Gary Swick It’s back-to-school season for Friends of the Fox River (FOFR) and our team of educators is geared up to teach more than two thousand students how to collect water quality data in their schools’ local streams. Our “Watershed Watchdogs” education program is composed of lessons in traditional topics like local geography, natural … Read more

students in the stream

Creating a Watershed of Caretakers – May the Next Generation Go Viral

My Gmail automatically adds the following below my signature: “Spreading the Peace with the Planet Virus”. Things such as bacteria, viruses, and fungus usually don’t bring about positive, or warm and fuzzy feelings. But these organisms are essential for ecosystem operation. Bacteria grab nitrogen from the atmosphere for soil fertility. Fungus growing on your wood … Read more