Volunteers roam the banks of the Fox River in Elgin to clean up trash and debris, ‘one cigarette filter at a time’ – Chicago Tribune

Devonna Jones and her daughter Jordyn, 9, drove to the parking lot of the Jill Borden Public Library on Saturday morning to participate in the spring cleaning of Fox River.

“Jordyn wanted to help the environment,” Devonna Jones said when the duo checked on the project.

The cleanup, sponsored by Friends of the Fox River and State Representative Anna Muller, D-Elgin, was the first time the duo had participated in such an event.

Before they head out for the task at hand, join over thirty other volunteers to hear a little about why they’re doing what they’re doing from Gary Swick, president of Friends of Fox River.

The goal was to spend time outside while doing some heavy lifting, β€œone cigarette filter, one plastic bottle at a time,” Swick said.

“This is an opportunity to work on your relationship with the river,” he said.

Among the attendees were residents, Elgin police officers, members of Elgin Police Explorer Post 1445, and students ranging in age from elementary school to college.

Equipped with buckets, garbage bags, garbage collectors, and gloves, the crews dispersed at various points, mostly along the east bank of the Fox River, from the library to about a mile and a half north off the Fox River Trail, near the Trout. Park and Highway 90 Expressway.

Swick said one group worked directly west across the river from the library, cleaning up trash in an area where the homeless were known to camp.

Muller said the cleanup was one of the first things she was involved in when she took office in 2014. She said they find fishing gear, fishing related gear, and lots of plastic bottles.

“We found clothes, and it makes you wonder how someone could possibly lose their pants,” Mueller said.

Fox River Treasurer Cheryl Cretes, of Algonquin, said the riverbank has gotten cleaner in the last half decade or so. It wasn’t uncommon years ago for cleaning volunteers to find industrial items, such as motors or air-conditioning compressors, Krits said.

On Saturday morning, while roaming the riverbank near the library, volunteer Gary Gilmore and his granddaughter Eva Biro, a Mueller employee, discovered something unexpected from nature – a dead beaver. The corpse was rested in shallow water by grating over a rainwater run-off pipe.

The two continued to pick up trash unchecked.

Not far from Gilmore and Pero, Jones removed debris from an empty lot north of the library.

Enjoying the morning in the sun, Devonna Jones said she might buy litter pickers and head out sometime with her daughter to do their homework to clear the litter from the shores of Fox River.

Mike Danahi is a freelance reporter for The Courier-News.

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