Friends of the Fox River

Elgin Love Our River Day volunteers

It Takes A Community

By Gary Swick, President Remember Hilary Clinton’s 1996 book, “It Takes a Village,” and her 2016 Democratic National Convention speech reminding us that alone we can neither rear a healthy family, build a business, heal a community, or lift a country by ourselves? Collaboratively, we do better when we pool our skills, talents, perspectives, and … Read more

Tyler Creek Wing Park Pool


By Gary Swick, President Lying in a hammock feels like harmony to me. It’s the cradled feeling of being safely supported while swinging in suspension. It’s peaceful and joyous. May brings about an incredible demonstration of nature’s harmony, with many factors playing into a unified production. Can you imagine trying to orchestrate spring: arranging the … Read more

fox river by gm

State of the Fox River Report

By Gary Swick This year’s State of the Fox River Report is a celebration of things gone well and progress that deserves recognition. But this is an interactive report and celebration! So whenever you see a 👏, please celebrate by standing and yelling, politely clapping, smiling & nodding, or shouting out: “Hell, Yeah!” Ready to … Read more

Gary Swick and Otter Creek Middle School

Resolve to Be a Better Friend

By Gary Swick, President In December’s newsletter, I offered the Fox River’s holiday gift list. I also promised that I would suggest a few resolution ideas to help you to give the Fox River what  it wants. The resolutions should be specific, achievable, relevant, measurable, and personal. We are all friends of the Fox River, … 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

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

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

fall leaves

The Seasons of the Fox River

By Gary Swick Personally, I love living in a region that has distinct seasons. Walking ankle to waist deep in a stream on a hot summer day is always a refreshing experience, and something my children always loved. On a calm fall day, gliding in a kayak or canoe on the Fox River is incredibly … Read more

What Will It Look Like?

By Art Malm, FOFR Board Member Maybe the first question asked by almost anyone considering dam removal is “what will it look like?”. There aren’t many people left in the Fox Valley who remember what the Fox looked like before the dams were built. Doubtful their grandparents did either. The best way to know what … 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