Chicago River Day

Saturday, May 12, 2018, is the 26th Chicago River Day!

This beloved annual volunteer day has an immediate impact and collectively brings about long-term improvements in the health of the Chicago River. Spanning the river’s 156-mile system with over 70 locations to choose from, there are many ways for people of all ages to get involved.

It’s remarkable to think about how far we’ve come since the first “Chicago River Rescue Day” in 1992. That day, Friends hosted a small, feisty group of 25 dedicated volunteers who wanted to rescue the river by pulling shopping carts, mattresses, and plastic bags from its banks. Twenty-five years and more than 60,000 volunteers later, the Chicago River system is no longer a forgotten wildlife corridor filled with sewage and trash. Today the river system is vibrant, accessible, and alive with people, 70 species of fish, countless species of birds, and many native animals including beavers, mink, and turtles.

Over the last two and a half decades, we have witnessed an incredible shift in the health of the river and how people care for it; our volunteers and sponsors help make this happen.

Chicago River Day volunteers include company teams, community organizations, school groups, families, and individuals of various skill and ability levels throughout the Chicago metropolitan area. You can get involved too, and join us to remove tons of debris, restore miles of river-side trails, plant beautiful native plants, and much more. Stay tuned for more information on sites and activities!

Every year we choose a spirit animal, one of the many who calls the river and surrounding habitat home. In this way, we can focus on how the health of the river affects so many living creatures and our important role as stewards of the Earth we share.

The 2018 Chicago River Day Spirit Animal is
the Monarch Butterfly!

Register Here:


Cleanup Sign-up

Sign up here to volunteer with your local cleanup. Bringing friends and family with you? Please register each volunteer separately!