The Summer Challenge is On

Building on the momentum of the successful 29th annual Chicago River Day when scores of volunteers, sponsors, and elected officials picked up litter and removed invasive species at 74 locations all along the Chicago and Calumet Rivers and last year’s Summer Challenge, Friends of the Chicago River is extending the Summer Challenge into 2021. Our goal is to remove as much litter as possible from the river now while we work to drive policy changes that will reduce it forever.

The Summer Challenge inspires, encourages, and supports volunteers so that they can pick up litter independently or in small groups. Friends can support small group cleanups with supplies such as trash grabbers, gloves, and buckets. Our Litter Free Chicago River Toolkit provides helpful guidance for individuals working independently, group cleanups, day-of activities, waste disposal, and safety. We are also working to set up Litter Free Supply Stations where groups can borrow supplies. Stay tuned for details. Volunteers are asked to log their cleanups through our interactive map and survey so we can track our collective impact.

“The Summer Challenge extends the momentum beyond Chicago River Day and encourages our volunteers and supporters to take positive action to clean up litter all summer long,” said Margaret Frisbie, executive director of Friends of the Chicago River. “We initiated it last year when it was impossible to hold a traditional Chicago River Day and extended it because litter is an every day problem and we need to work on it every day.

The Chicago River system is no longer a forgotten waterway fenced off and filled with sewage and trash. Instead, it’s a vibrant, accessible, natural resource for people, and a wildlife corridor, that is alive with over 75 species of fish, birds, beavers, turtles, and the American mink, which symbolizes the river’s return to health. Join us to continue protecting and improving the health of the river by becoming a member of Friends and taking the Summer Challenge.