Register Now for Chicago River Day

Join us May 11 for the 32nd Annual Chicago River Day. Our watershed-wide spring litter cleanup and restoration event draws thousands of volunteers every year to work along the 156-mile Chicago-Calumet River system at more than 75 locations from Lake County to the Calumet region and southwest to Summit, Palos, and beyond.

While the overall health of the Chicago-Calumet River system is greatly improved, litter is a persistent problem that harms people and wildlife and causes negative community, economic, and public health impacts. Friends began this volunteer-driven free, family-friendly tradition in 1992, and it has steadily grown into Friends’ largest and most popular volunteer event of the year that moves us toward a Litter Free Chicago-Calumet River system.

The three-hour cleanup event kicks off at 9 a.m., and runs to 12 noon. Afterwards, volunteers are invited to come together from 12 – 3 p.m. at Burning Bush Brewery in Chicago or Blue Island Beer Company in Blue Island to connect and swap stories from the day. This year’s cleanup activities also mark World Migratory Bird Day; perfect timing for this year’s featured species – the Black-crowned Night-Heron (Nycticorax nycticorax). Register before May 3 to receive a free Chicago River Day T-shirt featuring the beautiful, but state-endangered, bird. Each year Friends features a river animal as part of Chicago River Day to help connect us to the many different animals that rely on us to care for and protect the river system.

Visit our YouTube channel to watch a video of last year’s record-breaking Chicago River Day of over 2,300 volunteers.

We could not hold this event without the financial contributions and support of our corporate sponsors. Thank you to our growing list who enable us to host this critical conservation action by supporting the costs.


Learn more about sponsorship opportunities by contacting Becky Lyons at