Chicago River System is Born to Be Wild

Friends of the Chicago River rolls out a series of special virtual events this month in our inaugural Born to Be Wild celebrating the Chicago River system and its wildlife running October 25 through November 5.

Events kick off Sunday, October 25 with a week-long Chicago River scavenger hunt and silent auction with a wide array of experiences and items including photos, food, and fun. Friends and forest preserve experts will host a lunchtime lecture about the river's wildlife on October 27 (including a chance to meet live wild animals), followed by a virtual masquerade cruise October 29, and a finale concert event November 5.

In announcing the celebration, Friends' Executive Director Margaret Frisbie said: "Born to Be Wild is a celebration of the Chicago River system and its wildlife, but it is also a call to action. Right now.... wildlife species (are) vanishing at an alarming rate across the planet because of human activity including a potential loss of 389 North American bird species. Yet, the flip side of these staggering statistics is that we can do something about it. At Friends, that translates to landscape-scale restoration projects which increased native turtles' nesting success by 60 percent.... it means new instream habitat in the form of innovative channel catfish nesting cavities, bat maternity colonies, and osprey nesting platforms where we fledged our own chicks this summer, and our new Wildlife Conservation Framework Plan which is the foundation of our effort to develop a strategic approach to wildlife protection and awareness of the role that the Chicago River system can play in the solution."

  • Chicago River Scavenger Hunt, hosted by Friends' Tributary Committee: Oct. 25 to Nov. 1 (details to be announced soon)
  • Call of the Wildlife - There's No Place Like Home: Oct 27, 2020 12:30 - 2 p.m. Maggie Jones, conservation programs manager at Friends, and Stephen DeFalco, director at the Sand Ridge Nature Center, connect you with some amazing animals through live feeds, as well as sharing insights about some of our wild neighbors and the environment we share with them. Tickets are $15; free to teachers, students, parents and their children. 
  • Chicago River Masquerade Virtual Cruise: Thursday, Oct. 29 from 7 to 8 p.m. $25 or $100 includes a Party Pack and animal mask. Come one and come all - bold and beautiful party dress and masks are encouraged.
  • Born to Be Wild Finale, followed by Nature's Concert: Rivers Empyrean with 5th House Ensemble: Nov 5, 6:30 - 8 p.m. Tickets are $35.00.

Join us for these fun and informative events. Every ticket supports Friends' mission. Please contact Kim Olsen-Clark, director of development, for sponsorship information at