Education

yard sign

Mother’s Day Like No Other

By Gary Swick, President Mother’s Day is approaching but it will surely be another change from the norm. We’re learning that forced change can lead to innovation and wonderful surprises. The optimists and silver-lining folks are looking for the new normal to be a healthier and more just version of the world. Embracing New Traditions … Read more

By Mdf - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=4106444

Meet Your Orange, Black, Golden Yellow Neighbors

Few people realize that a fairly obscure Englishman nobleman named Cecil Calvert, (1605 – 1675) is directly responsible for the name of a major American city, the name of major league baseball team, and the name of a familiar neighborhood songbird. In today’s world Cecil Calvert is celebrated as Lord Baltimore. And, for the next several … Read more

2nd Saturday Outdoor Family Adventure

Second Saturday Outdoor Family Adventure

You and your family are invited to join us on the 2nd Saturday of each month for an outdoor adventure as we explore special places along the Fox River and throughout its watershed. Learn what a watershed is. See how the Fox River was formed, Visit the special natural areas that make the Fox River … Read more

FOFR_30th Anniversary logo

Happy 30th Birthday Friends of the Fox River

What Were You Doing 30 Years Ago? By Gary Swick, President Maybe you were getting a new job, traveling, going to school, still in diapers, or maybe you weren’t even been born yet. Lucky for us that founder of the Friends of the Fox River (FOFR), Pat Reese was visioning a better world for Fox … Read more

Euonymus atropurpureus

Meet Your Neighbors: Meet Your Wahoo Neighbor

By Jack MacRae I think everyone should have at least one wahoo (Euonymus atropupureus) in their backyard.  They’re small, shrubby native trees that prefer average to moist conditions and do well in today’s crazy world.  They thrive in the filtered shade of wide-open woods and forest edges, creating a picturesque colony over the years. Shrubs such as … Read more

Fox-River-duckweed-and-algae

State of the Fox River 2020

Fifty Years of Environmental Protection In this year’s live presentation of the State of the Fox River, I shared my challenge in answering the complex question that I often receive: “How is the Fox River doing?” Since the enactment of the Clean Water Act in 1970 things have been improving. That legislation was a federally … Read more

making rain

Second Saturday Kickoff a Great Success!

By Brandon Combs and Jenni Schiavone Friends of the Fox River Second Saturday Outdoor Adventures is a new program initiative we’re starting this year. We hope this monthly program will engage young community members and their families in regular outdoor educational activities as we explore the Fox River’s watershed. We are proud to report that … Read more

How Are We Protecting the Fox River?

By Gary Swick, President “How is the river doing?” and “What’s new with Friends of the Fox River (FOFR)?” are the two most common questions that I hear related to the Fox River. In January, I will answer the first question during my State of the Fox River 2020 report at Schweitzer Environmental Center (SEC) … Read more

Black-capped Chickadee

Meet Your Neighbors: Meet Your Chickadee Neighbor’s Brain!

By Jack MacRae Our wildlife neighbors adjust to the approach of winter in various ways.  Some creatures migrate (red bats), some hibernate (fox snakes), and some grow a layer of insulating fat (raccoons and many humans).  And some birds grow big brains. Seriously.  Long ago, scientists learned that black capped chickadees’ brains expand during autumn when the birds … Read more

sumac thicket

Meet Your Neighbors: Meet the Sumacs

By Jack MacRae The burgundy leaves of sumac fill the Fox Valley’s fall woods.  The hue comes from the pigment anthocyanin and is greatly influenced by the weather.  Here is how: Cool nights (below 45f) inhibit the tree’s chlorophyll production.  Without chlorophyll, sugars accumulate in the leaves.  Increased sugar leads to a rise in anthocyanin in the leaf.  The more … Read more