Learn to Love Beavers: Sign up for the Midwest Beaver Summit

A beaver along the bank of the North Branch of the Chicago River last summer. Credit Chris Martin.

To support beaver protection and encourage understanding and habitat restoration, Friends of the Chicago River has joined the Illinois Beaver Alliance as a co-host for the first Midwest Beaver Summit taking place virtually this September for FREE:

Midwest Beaver Summit

Wednesday, September 13 and Wednesday, September 20, 2023

11 a.m.-1:30 p.m. CST each day.

Register Now

“Beavers aren’t the bad guys,” said Margaret Frisbie, executive director of Friends of the Chicago, River, “and they shouldn’t be treated as such. For centuries humans have been trapping and killing them without restraint when in fact they are superb hydro-engineers who shaped the American landscape creating millions of acres of high quality habitat and storing water, an ability that is all the more important today in the face of the climate crisis and biodiversity loss. They deserve our care, protection, attention and respect, and we could not be more pleased in the role that Friends played in encouraging their return to the river.”

According to the planners, the two-part Midwest Beaver Summit is a “first step” toward putting together a network of Midwestern stakeholders who will help spread the word about the incredible ecological importance of beavers and the modern tools for managing human-beaver conflicts nonlethally. Speakers include beaver experts such as:

  • Emily Fairfax, Assistant Professor of Physical Geography, University of Minnesota Twin Cities, who will discuss the benefits of the ecosystems that beavers provide;
  • Ben Goldfarb, author of Eager: The Surprising, Secret Life of Beavers and Why They Matter and Friends of the Chicago River podcast guest; and
  • Floodplain Reconnection and Examples of American Rivers’ Process-Based River Restoration Projects, Olivia Dorothy, Director, River Restoration, American Rivers

The mission of the Illinois Beaver Alliance is to improve the health and function of Illinois watersheds, which will increase climate resilience, improve water quality, increase biodiversity, and create floodwater storage capacity; and to educate the public about the ecological importance of beavers and the modern tools for resolving human-beaver conflicts.


Other event co-hosts include the Superior Bio-Conservancy, the Illinois Beaver Alliance, American Rivers, Heartland Rewilding, Friends of the Chicago River, Native Range Ecological, LLC, The Beaver Institute, Wisconsin Rivers, The Land Conservancy of McHenry County, and Midwest Beaver Management.


For more information on the summit, visit their Facebook page: Midwest Beaver Summit Facebook Event