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 lbarghusen@openlands.org 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-on-the-Little-Cal
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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Green Paddle Award

Tom Eckels – partner and friend of Calumet Waterway Stewards – has just been announced as a 2013 recipient of the prestigious American Canoe Association Green Paddle for Waterway Conservation Award. Way to go, Tom!

Each year the ACA recognizes a select group of individuals and organizations who have illustrated exemplary leadership, service, and dedication to various aspects of paddlesport. The Green Paddle for Waterway Conservation Award is presented annually to an individual or a group that has made an outstanding contribution to paddlesport by protecting America’s waterways.

Tom has been the voice of Illinois Water TrailKeepers, a program of the Illinois Paddling Council and Openlands, while also serving as the secretary for the IPC. He has encouraged, organized, coordinated, directed, led and reported on countless cleanup and conservation projects throughout northeast Illinois. He will be recognized at the ACA’s annual banquet and awards ceremony in Bend, Oregon on September 28. Please join fellow paddlers from across the country in acknowledging this achievement!

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Celebrate Public Lands with a Paddle

Learn about the ecology and history of the Little Calumet River as we paddle and clean the Little Calumet River on Saturday, September 28 in celebration of National Public Lands Day.

We’ll paddle from the Little Calumet Boat Launch Preserve in Riverdale, IL to Kickapoo Meadows in Harvey and back again. Meet at the Little Calumet Boat Launch. Paddle at your own pace. We’ll have supplies to help clean up the river too (tools, bags, and gloves provided) – or get involved with Crowdsourcing the Calumet!

Bring your canoes or kayaks if possible. There are a limited number of canoes and kayaks that can be loaned for free to those without boats. Register here.

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