Litter Cleanup Trio

Dan Schreiner and his two children, Mia, 8, and Gus, 10, have picked up pounds of trash from a half dozen litter cleanups in their Roscoe Village neighborhood and nearby forest preserves as part of the My Chicago River Day Summer Challenge.  

 "The kids are learning to care for their neighborhood and to set a good example for community care," said Schreiner, who works as a financial adviser at Oppenheimer & Co. Inc."We are picking up a lot of litter on our block, the surrounding streets and at LaBagh Woods and Caldwell Woods. We pick up a lot of fast food containers, bottles, and plastic bags. One day we picked up a dozen heavy metal CDs."

At first it was discouraging for the family to see litter going directly into the river. "But at the end of the day the kids feel good about themselves, and I do too," Schreiner said. "For our family it's more than picking up trash, we see wildlife - bullfrogs, deer and birds. The kids are learning how to identify animal tracks in the mud, bird nesting and how deer bed in grasses. As a family, we've picked up at least 30 full bags of trash, and we're not done yet."

Schreiner said his children are also utilizing the Summer Challenge interactive map and tracking tools to record their progress. The online tracking tools are an important aspect of the cleanup program to assist Friends in measuring and reporting the collective impact of the summer-long initiative.

The Summer Challenge combines individual litter cleanup with online educational programming at 10:30 a.m. on the second and forth Saturdays of the month through September 19. Click here to learn more about the upcoming Summer Challenge education programs.

Friends also has a Litter Free Chicago River Toolkit available to safely organize a litter cleanup.