Summer Challenge in Action

Friends volunteer Katherine Tellock admits she is a data junkie, and that's one of the reasons why she enjoys using the online tools of the Summer Challenge to plan her cleanup events, track her progress and share before and after photos.

Commenting about the interactive map and tracking tools, Tellock said "I like to be able to see where others are doing cleanups so I can focus on areas that are not being done. I'm also a data junkie so it's important to me to see the before and after of the program, and the tools are easy to use."

The online tracking tools are an important aspect of the Summer Challenge to measure and report on the collective impact of the program.

Prior to the pandemic, Tellock signed up to be a Site Captain for Chicago River Day so she was glad to see Friends adapt the event into a summer long cleanup program. This is Tellock's first year as a Friends volunteer, but she's not new to cleaning up the block in her West Lakeview neighborhood.

"Before I knew about River Day I picked up trash at least twice on my own block after the snow melted, and now I'm recruiting people to help me," said Tellock. "I've done about a dozen cleanups covering six blocks and two parks. The Summer Challenge is good for your body and soul; it inspires others to pick up litter and it's great for the community."

The Summer Challenge combines individual litter cleanups 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.