burning river

It’s Your River – Vote to Protect It!

By Gary Swick, President While in Waubonsee Creek in Oswego, with 7th graders from the Aurora University STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) school, I got a surprise. We were doing a physical-feature analysis to make a map of the creek segment that we were monitoring. Students focused upon two concrete pipes which were discharging a … Read more

Kristin Delaney, family and friends cleanup in S. Elgin

It WAS Our Fox River Day!

By Gary Mechanic, Executive Director The 1st It’s Our Fox River Day was a successful start for an annual event despite some awful weather for a cleanup. More than 150 volunteers braved the winds, cloudy skies, and rain to pick up trash. For the first time in history, local organizers ran cleanups at eleven sites … 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

chestnut tree

Meet Your Ex – Next Door Neighbor!

By Jack Frost MacRae They were the perfect American tree. They were among the tallest, the widest, and had the straightest grain. They grew fast, were numerous, and were resistant to rot and decay. Their nuts fed billions. They were pretty. And, Mel Torme wrote a celebrated song about them. Then the blight came and … 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

Fox River from Norris Woods by GM


By Gary Swick My assigned topic for this month’s President’s article is Giving. This seems appropriate as we are entering the giving period, culturally marked by Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and the religious holiday mother lodes in December.  Now we participate in the latest non-profit annual holiday Giving Tuesday. So it’s a good time … Read more

student and crayfish

How Well Do You Know Your Friends?

By Gary Swick, President Our personal friends are different to us than other people we pass in traffic, store aisles, or on the bike trail. What makes friends special to us is our understanding of them. This higher level of understanding usually comes from something we have in common. Until we become aware of this … Read more

Who Drinks the Fox River?

By Kyla Jacobsen, FOFR Board Member Years ago, people settled and communities grew up along rivers. People and animals had access to water and it was an easy way to transport goods by rafts or floats down the river. There were no dams back in those days and it allowed adequate fish passage, goods passage … Read more

water drop

Finding Harmony with the Fox River

by Gary Swick McHenry County Green Drinks recently invited Friends of the Fox River to talk about paddling the Fox River. We decided that our Executive Director Gary Mechanic would talk about the physical aspects of paddling, and I would offer a spiritual perspective. I’m a spiritual guy, but I’m also a science guy. I … Read more