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Earth Day Fox River Clean Sweep


Saturday, around Earth Day each year, Aurora, Elgin and other communities along the Fox River need volunteers to help clean trash and debris from the Fox River.


For more information and exact dates and times, visit illinois.sierraclub.org/vof/ or call 312-251-1680


Fox River Heroes Fran Caffee


Clean-up Days


“I grew up in the mountains of West Virginia, and I was always interested in the outdoors,” says Fran Caffee. I had a career, got married, had kids, and those things took priority. It wasn’t until those things moved on and changed that I was able to become an activist. But it was always there.”


Fran, who moved to the Fox Valley area in 1961, got involved with a group called Valley of the Fox in 1992 and it eventually became a chapter of the Sierra Club. She says it was Te Fox, Jim Phillips, who got her group interested in the Fox River’s water quality by providing them access to lab testing equipment. Gene McArdle, a retired professor, volunteered to do the analysis and interpret the results.


“We realized there was was not much citizen involvement in monitoring water quality,” she says. “Te EPA was spread so thin, there was a limited amount they could do.”


In 2000, the Sierra Club had grown to the point where its water monitoring program became a national initiative. In 2001, the Fox River Study Group, “the greatest thing that could have happened to the Fox River,” was formed.


“Municipalities, water reclamation plants, the EPA - all of the people who have something to do with the river - are now working together. We are making progress, but it’s slow. It’s a beautiful river to look at, but it’s still not a healthy river.”


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Conservation: Restoration


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