CHICAGO – September 18, 2009. At the Lincoln Park Boathouse on Friday, Governor Pat Quinn and the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) invited Illinois citizens to join them in celebrating the fifth annual “It’s Our River Day” on Saturday, September 19, 2009.
Recognized each year on the third Saturday in September, “It’s Our River Day” highlights the importance of conserving our Illinois rivers and watersheds through education and recreation. This year there are 61 events going on throughout the state.
“One of our greatest natural resources is fresh, clean water,” said Governor Quinn. “It’s Our River Day’ serves as a reminder that we can all take steps to help conserve this precious resource.”
To enhance the “It’s Our River Day” celebrations across the state, IDNR has declared Saturday, September 19 as a free fishing day in over 100 Illinois state parks, natural areas and wildlife areas where fishing opportunities are available. This means kids and their families can fish without purchasing a fishing license.
“It’s Our River Day’ gives us another opportunity to cultivate the next generation of natural resource stewards,” said IDNR Assistant Director John Rogner. “That is especially important in urban areas like Chicago, where youth may have limited access to natural resource activities.”
Governor Quinn and IDNR Assistant Director Rogner presented rain barrels to the winners of the statewide rain barrel contest that began during the Illinois State Fair. The winners include Tom Craig of Chicago; Cris Johansen of Crystal Lake; and Adam Scharff of Jacksonville.
The painted rain barrels were donated by Austin Grammer of Prairie Rain Harvester in Farmer City. The rain barrels feature art work by Felicia Olin of Springfield; Sharon Jackson of Urbana; and Erin Dady of Champaign.
Governor Quinn also encouraged Illinois citizens to attend the “Art on a Rain Barrel” event taking place on September 19 at Navy Pier in Chicago from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Students from more than 50 schools will learn about the importance of water conservation and paint rain barrels as part of a competition. The event will also include a rain barrel sale.
For more information on “It’s our River Day” events around the state, log on to CleanWaterIllinois.org. For a list of state parks and natural areas visit the IDNR website at dnr.state.il.us.