You know that really big river that flows through Chicago? Yup, that one, the Chicago River. Well, “Friends of the Chicago River” is the only organization solely dedicated to the Chicago River. Since 1979, this organization has been working hard to improve and maintain the health of the river system for the benefit of people, plants and animals. The Chicago River is a total of 156 miles long. Friends’ work spans the entire thing from focusing on a greener habitat to making sure the water is clean and usable for everyone to enjoy.
There are many volunteer opportunities available. Friends is always welcoming those interested in participating to make the river a cleaner place for everyone. Whether you’re looking to get your hands dirty or help work on special events there’s something for everyone. For those looking to get involved, you can sign up at chicagoriver.org.
Saturday, May 12th is Chicago River Day! This is an annual event where people can collectively make long term improvements to the Chicago River. Anyone and everyone of all ages is welcome! There are 60 locations spanning the Chicago River to choose from.
Each year, Friends of the Chicago River chooses a spirit animal to help spread awareness about the health of the river and how it affects many living creatures. This year’s spirit animal is the Monarch Butterfly, known to make very large two way migrations from Canada to Mexico, nearly 3,000 miles. Many butterflies follow the Mississippi River along with the Chicago Rivers important extension of the fly.