Community Organizations Make a Big Impact on Chicago River Day

(Left to right) Friends of Downtown Glenview volunteers Megan McClung, Shawn Eshoo, and Melissa Dahlquist were part of the team who picked up litter along the West Fork of the North Branch on Chicago River Day 2021. 

As the 30th Annual Chicago River approaches on May 14, Friends is busy collaborating with community groups across the watershed to establish locations and volunteer site captains from Lake County to southern Cook County.

For over 25 years, the Village of Glenview has hosted Chicago River Day at the Techny Basin, a scenic wetlands area adjacent to the West Fork of the North Branch. Last year, Friends of Downtown Glenview (FDG) identified the need for a new Chicago River Day site along a pedestrian path adjacent to the West Fork of the North Branch that runs through heart of downtown Glenview.

The organization coordinated with the Village for permission and logistics (the Village’s Natural Resources Manager, Robyn Flakne, was the site captain) and brought out a team of volunteers who removed numerous bags of litter from the site. For their leadership, vision, and collaboration, Friends of Downtown Glenview recently received an Environmental Sustainability Award sponsored by the Village of Glenview’s Natural Resources Commission.

“We truly appreciate the Village for supporting Chicago River Day through so many years and working with interested local groups like Friends of Downtown Glenview to expand its impact,” said Friends’ Volunteer and Event Coordinator Annette Anderson. “These kinds of partnerships are central to strengthening our community connection and stewardship of the river by sharing expertise, resources, and communications.”

When established community groups organize cleanups, Friends supports their efforts by training volunteer leaders and providing supplies, which empowers them to keep planning cleanups year round. This expands the reach of Chicago River Day throughout the watershed.  

“The West Fork of the river is an important and unique natural feature in our Friends of Downtown Glenview efforts to revitalize our traditional Glenview downtown, and Friends of the Chicago River has been a great resource for our FDG project coordinator, Melissa Dahlquist, who is continually working with local participants to enhance appreciation of the river,” said John Hedrick, president of Friends of Downtown Glenview.

If you or your organization is interested in hosting a Chicago River Day site, or serving as a site captain, please download our Site Captains Guidelines and fill out a short form.