Chicago River Day FAQs

Who participates in Chicago River Day? 
Friends of the Chicago River attracts thousands of new and returning volunteers, including school groups, corporate teams, families, community organizations, and individuals working side-by-side to enhance and restore the river…and you!

How long will I be volunteering? 
Chicago River Day is scheduled from 9 a.m. - noon. Your site captain will direct you on what you'll do to keep you busy at your site during the event.

When can I sign up for Chicago River Day?
Registration for Chicago River Day begins in March. 

How do I sign up for a Chicago River Day location? 
Once registration goes live, we will have a Google map of all the sites for you to choose from on the Chicago River Day site registration page. You will register by clicking on the button for your desired site and completing the Eventbrite registration form. 

What is the minimum age of volunteer that can attend? 
At most sites, the minimum age of event participant is eight years old. We welcome familes to volunteer together, provided there is one adult watching any children under eight. A handful of sites are super family friendly, meaning that the little ones can hang out at other parts of the site with a parent while the rest of the family volunteers.

What will volunteers be doing that day? 
Volunteer activities vary from site to site. Volunteer projects on Chicago River Day include trash collection, sorting trash for recycling, removing invasive vegetation, sprucing up river-edge trails, planting native seedlings and more. Contact the site captain at your desired location for specific activities. 

How do I get to my site? 
You are responsible for getting to the site on your own. Many sites are available via public transit or by bike. Most locations have parking nearby. The registration page will designate a meeting spot or we will email you closer to Chicago River Day with one. 

What can I expect when I arrive at my site? 
Chicago River Day is an outdoor event located in a variety of city parks, forest preserves, school yards and businesses all along the banks of the Chicago River and its tributaries. Each site has a Site Captain to greet you upon arrival. They will ask you to sign Friends' liability waiver, collect any additionally required waivers, provide an overview of the day’s activities, a safety talk, and distribute supplies and t-shirts to all volunteers.

What happens if it rains? 
Chicago River Day proceeds rain or shine. Plan your clothing accordingly. In the event of thunder and lightning, sites will shut down. 

What should I bring to Chicago River Day? 
You should plan to bring all of the things you think are necessary for working in the outdoors. Volunteers should wear closed-toe shoes and comfortable clothes that can get dirty or damp. You should dress for the weather to make sure you are comfortable and warm. If it looks like it might rain, rain coats or ponchos are advisable. We also strongly encourage you to bring water, sunscreen, and your favorite work gloves.

Will you be providing gloves? 
Friends will provide basic gloves. For the most part, the gloves are plastic to protect your hands from unsanitary garbage. We highly recommend bringing your favorite pair of work gloves with you if you want something sturdier. We cannot guarantee cloth work gloves for all volunteers.

All volunteers need to sign liability waivers.
Some sites require additional waivers other than ours whic would be best for you to print and bring with you on the day of the event (thought there should be extras onsite the day of). Minors (under the age of 18) must bring waivers signed by a parent or guardian either before the event or at the event if the parent or guardian is attending. Friends’ cannot allow volunteers to participate or have an event t-shirt without these waivers. If you are not sure about what waivers you need, check the Eventbrite page for your location.

Waivers - 

Friends Waiver - for all sites

Lake Katherine Nature Preserve - for the Lake Katherine Nature Preserve Site

Evanston Ecology Center Project Habitat Waiver- for the Evanston Ecology Center Site

Chicago Park District - for all the Chicago Park District Sites

Forest Preserves Waiver - for all Forest Preserve locations

MWRD Adult Waiver  - for all MWRD Sites 

MWRD Minor Waiver - for all MWRD Sites