Clean Up Set for 2015

Mark your calendars now Saturday, June 6, 2015 as we hit the waters of the Little Calumet River for our annual cleanup day.

Registration will open in 2015. Once again we’ll be providing boats for those that need them as well as a longer route for more experienced paddlers.

We’re looking forward to see you again. Summer will be here before you know it!

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Join Centennial Volunteers this Fall!

Be a part of river and forest revitalization by joining an inspiring movement of volunteers gathering to restore five special sites along the Chicago and Calumet Rivers. Learn what it takes to restore diverse wildlife, trees, wildflowers, and health in our forest preserves and our river system. Our goal is to grow a community of people who will become caretakers and stewards of these five sites through on-going education and training.

Saturday, Setember 20
10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
Somme Woods Forest Preserve
1714 Dundee Road, Northbrook

Saturday, September 27
10 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
Blue Star Memorial Woods
Harms Road, Glenview

Saturday, October 4
1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
LaBagh/Hernandez Woods
5275 N Cicero, Chicago

Saturday, October 4
10:00 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Whistler Woods
678 W 134th St, Riverdale

Saturday, October 11
10 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Kickapoo Woods and Prairie
Kickapoo Meadows, Harvey

Join in, learn some ecology and lend a hand. RSVP at Join a group of volunteers who are interested in improving our local environment and having a good time doing it. Come dressed to be outdoors. Wear long pants and close-toed shoes.

Supported by the Forest Preserves of Cook County, Friends of the Forest Preserves, Friends of the Chicago River and Audubon Chicago Region.

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Thanks for Participating!

Thanks to all for joining us at the Little Calumet River clean up on June 7th!

59 people launched from the Little Calumet Boat Ramp and headed upstream toward Kickapoo Meadows, cleaning up the river. Another 12 launched from Gouwens Park and headed toward the Little Calumet Boat Launch Preserve, cleaning up from South Holland to Kickapoo Meadows in Harvey. Participants included Illinois Water TrailKeepers, families with children, adults, graduate students from University of Illinois at Chicago and high school students from Rauner College Prep in Chicago. It was a dedicated group, tackling both large trash, like tires, and smaller trash like plastic bags hanging from tree branches. Wildlife seen along the route included an egret and young-of-the-year northern water snake at the launch, and a turtle and heron seen during the trip. Afterwards participants had lunch, learned about volunteer opportunities and the ecology of the Calumet area.

Thanks to all participants and to Openlands, Illinois Water TrailKeepers, Cook County Forest Preserves, the City of Blue Island, The Field Museum, Friends of the Chicago River, Southeast Environmental Task Force, Chicago River Canoe and Kayak, and REI for a great day.

Check out photos on our flickr page!

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Last Day to Register for June 7 Cleanup

Don’t delay: Thursday, June 5 will be your last day to register for our June 7 paddle and clean up if you need to borrow a boat. We’ll have canoes and kayaks available FREE for participants. Ever wanted to explore the Little Cal? Your guides Laura and Jason will explain the natural and cultural history of this very unique waterway as we launch from Little Calumet Boat Ramp in Blue Island.

Experienced paddlers meet at Gouwen’s Park for a 7 mile journey from South Holland to Blue Island, led by River Hero and Illinois Water TrailKeeper Captain Mike.

Register Here.

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Michael Taylor: River Hero

Our very own Captain Mike is headed to River Rally this weekend to pick up a special award: Michael Taylor has been recognized as a 2014 River Hero!

The River Heroes Award celebrates rivers, watersheds and those who protect them. This is our opportunity to recognize some of our successes and honor those who provide us with leadership, inspiration and heart. Heroes are peer nominated, peer-selected and peer-honored.

Congrats to our friend and Captain, Michael Taylor. Read his story here.

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Calumet Water Trail Community Workshops

The City of Blue Island, Openlands and other partners are holding a series of workshops to raise awareness of Calumet area water trails, how water trails uniquely connect people to the ecology of Calumet, and to inspire stewardship activity.

Kayaking training was held at Eisenhower High School on May 3rd to prepare participants for a summer of paddling! Ten participants took the training, with REI Outdoor School offering instruction.

There are several upcoming free paddling events in Calumet. Get these on your calendar and email Laura Barghusen at for more information or to register:

June 7, 2014: Little Calumet River – Register Here!
August 9, 2014: Powerhorn Lake
September 13, 2014: Wolf Lake

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Green Drinks and Green Infrastructure

Green Drinks returns to Blue Island’s Rock Island Public House this Thursday, May 8 with Chicago Wilderness’ Sustainable Watershed Action Team – SWAT! The team will be describing the work being done in the Calumet region to expand Chicago Wilderness’ Green Infrastructure Vision (GIV). The GIV guides the protection and development of an accessible, interconnected network of healthy ecosystems that contribute to economic vitality and quality of life for all the region’s residents.

Event begins at 6pm with networking, speakers at 7pm. Part of the Chicago Southland Green Drinks series.

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Chicago River Day 2014 Registration

It’s that time again! Time to head to your favorite spot in the Calumet and pitch in for the Friends of the Chicago River annual Chicago River Day. Show up on May 10th at 9 a.m. with a smile and clothes you don’t mind getting a little dirty! Local sites include:

  • Blue Island (Ann St / Cal-Sag Channel)
  • Kickapoo Woods
  • Whistler Woods

Click here to head to the Friends’ registration page and select your site.

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Welcome to 2014 from Captain Mike

Looking at all the snow, it should be a great paddling season with plenty of water for our rivers and streams. I know it seems just like yesterday, but the time to prepare for this year’s Little Calumet River cleanup is here again. Our first meeting for 2014 will be on March 1 at 9:00am at the Blue Island Public Library, 2433 York Street. I anticipate that this will be the best one yet as I know a lot of people have been promoting our hidden gem. Matter of fact, there is a new Water Trail Map that has been printed that we will share with everyone at the meeting.

Please RSVP and let us know you are coming. The clean up is June 7th, so put it in your calendar and spread the word. Yes, we will be doing a land clean up as well for you land lovers.
Captain Mike

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River Tour and Clean Up Day is Here

If you’re new to the Little Calumet River – or a big fan like us! – we hope to see you at Little Calumet Boat Launch Preserve this Saturday, September 28 for our River Tour and Clean Up.

Enjoy group talks about the history and ecology of the area before launching to experience our waterway heritage firsthand. Check for bird species, natural habitat features and the impact of our built environment as we paddle from the Boat Launch to Kickapoo Meadows where we’ll find volunteers on hand restoring the landscape.

We’re excited to unite our many partners on Public Lands Day and offer this unique opportunity to enjoy the Little Calumet River.

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