Join in celebration of It's Our Fox River Day! Sept. 17

  • On Saturday, Sept. 17, clubs and organizations all along the Fox River are joining in the annual It's Our Fox River Day!, with its acronym IOFRD (pronounced "I offered"), as an individual and collective event of giving thanks to the Fox River through cleanups, plantings, and fun activities.

      On Saturday, Sept. 17, clubs and organizations all along the Fox River are joining in the annual It's Our Fox River Day!, with its acronym IOFRD (pronounced "I offered"), as an individual and collective event of giving thanks to the Fox River through cleanups, plantings, and fun activities. Rick West | Staff Photographer

Updated 9/13/2022 1:57 PM

Join a thousand Friends on Saturday, Sept. 17, for the largest Fox River watershed-wide celebration of the year -- It's Our Fox River Day!

The Friends of the Fox River is on a mission to protect, preserve and restore the Fox River watershed. It's Our Fox River Day!, set for Saturday, Sept. 17, is intended as a day of celebration and a public demonstration of the importance of a healthy river.


IOFRD (pronounced "I offered") is 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 the watershed. It has evolved to include celebrations that go beyond 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 natural-resource rich Fox River has supported humans for centuries. Nearly every municipality along the Fox River was founded there because of the hydro power resource the river provided. Today, the Fox River serves over 1,000,000 watershed residents every day. It transports the wastewater and stormwater from over 100 communities, and it provides drinking water for more than 300,000 residents. It also provides habitat for a diversity of plants and animals and is an exceptional outdoor recreation resource for boaters, paddlers, anglers, cyclists, hikers and photographers. In addition, 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. Friends of the Fox River founder Pat Reese called for a unified effort for watershed management in 1988. It's Our Fox River Day is another step in that direction.

The IOFRD goal of a 200-mile celebration is being achieved by events from the City of Waukesha Wisconsin all the way downstream to the Dayton Dam in Ottawa, Illinois.

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Friends of the Fox River educator Jenni Schiavone embarked on a 10-day full length river canoe trip, starting in Waukesha on Sept. 8, finally reaching her destination in Ottawa on Sept. 18.

Schiavone said, "I'm doing this because I want to see the entire river firsthand, learn more about its needs and engage with people along the way who love the river as much as I do."

Cleanups galore

Shoreline cleanups dominate the event list and are hosted by county forest preserves, city park districts, nonprofit organizations, families, church groups, scouts, service organizations, paddling groups, businesses, and individuals.

• The cleanup that starts in Algonquin has several partners, a food truck, and music by the Belvederes.

• A local Jeep club is helping by offering support for any heavy lifting.


• One event host is challenging others to beat her 2022 pieces of trash collected.

• Junkluggers, an Elgin-based junk removal company, is offering to assist any efforts with trash management between Algonquin and Batavia.

• Many clubs and organizations along the Fox River are organizing cleanups, like the Barrington Breakfast Rotary, Batavia Rotary Club, Brilliance Subaru, Rotary Club of Carpentersville Morning, Elgin Izaak Walton League, Elgin Township Democrats, Geneva Natural Resources Committee, Howling Wolfe Canoe and Kayak, Kane County Forest Preserve District, McHenry County Defenders Water & Natural Resources Protection Action Team, Rotary Club of Montgomery, Ottawa's Plum Island Eagle Sanctuary group, St. Charles Canoe Club, St. Charles River Rascals, and more.

In addition to a wide array of cleanups there are many other forms of offering a thank you celebration.

Kane County Board member Jarett Sanchez with Fox Valley Tai Chi is hosting a tai chi event at Fox River Shores in Carpentersville as a "way to help connect people more to the river and to nature, and tai chi is very much about water flowing energy."

And there's more:

• 3,000 native plants will be added to the banks of Flint Creek by the Barrington Greenway initiative.

• You can practice Go with the Flow Yoga at the Friends of the Fox River's own Schweitzer Environmental Center in Dundee Township.

• In Geneva, you can join Healing Hearts for a cleansing offering via a flower blessing.

• In West Dundee, runners in the Heritage Fest 5K will pay recognition to the Fox River, as will attendees at the Lions Club pancake breakfast.

• Local businesses are offering specials with a portion of the proceeds directed toward Friends of the Fox River's Watershed Education programming.

• If you're interested in celebrating on the river, several paddling events are available for anyone to enjoy.

Start planning your day to celebrate the Fox River.

New events are being added all the time. For dates and times of events, check or contact if you have questions. While you're there, consider registering to organize/host your own event or participate at one listed.

The mission of the Friends of the Fox River is to preserve, restore and protect the Fox River Watershed's resources by connecting people with nature through education, research, restoration and advocacy.

Friends of the Fox River is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization made up of citizens and organizations taking action to protect and maintain the quality of the Fox River and its tributaries.

Through our programs and activities, we encourage both adults and students to become involved in protecting the river and its watershed. Each year, they have over 5,000 residents participating in the programs including the water quality monitoring program (Fox River Watershed Monitoring Network), river and stream cleanups, river habitat improvement projects, and water quality education events.


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