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Shedd Aquarium Organizes Week-Long Shoreline Cleanup

Socially Distant Cleanups Honor 35th Anniversary of International Coastal Cleanup Day

September 21, 2020

A beautiful view of the Chicago skyline from the edge of the Chicago River, where volunteers comb through native prairie plants for invasive species.

Shedd Aquarium, in partnership with the Alliance for the Great Lakes and the Chicago Park District, will host a week-long cleanup of Chicago’s shorelines this week in honor of the 35th anniversary of International Coastal Cleanup Day on September 26. Cleanups like these are important for keeping local waterways healthy, but have been in short supply due to COVID-19-related safety concerns. The volunteer efforts will prevent pollution from reaching Lake Michigan and the Chicago River and protect aquatic wildlife as part of Shedd Aquarium’s Action Days program.

The cleanups begin today at Loyola Beach and will wrap up on Saturday at 63rd Street Beach, stopping at four other coastal locations along the way. Volunteers will pick up debris on beaches and at parks, sort the litter for recyclable materials and document what they pick up. Information collected will be added to a database of materials found during cleanups across the Great Lakes, which is used to inform decisions for effective coastal management and policies that prevent pollution in the first place.

Space is limited to ensure volunteers and staff can maintain social distancing at cleanup locations, so registration is required. Those interested can sign up by emailing [email protected]rg. For more information about Shedd Aquarium’s Action Days program, visit

In addition to joining an upcoming Action Day, the public can support the aquarium’s efforts to protect wildlife and local natural spaces by purchasing a ticket to visit the aquarium, as ticket prices help fuel vital animal care and conservation work, and by making a contribution—both of which help offset the financial impacts of COVID-19.

WHEN & WHERE: Dates and locations for cleanups are as follows:

Date Location Time
Monday, 9/21 Loyola Beach
1230 W. Greenleaf Ave.
Chicago, IL 60626

10-11:30 a.m.
Tuesday, 9/22 Foster Ave Beach 
5200 N. Lake Shore Dr. 
Chicago, IL 60611

10-11:30 a.m.
Wednesday, 9/23 Ping Tom Memorial Park
1700 S. Wentworth Ave.
10-11:30 a.m. 
1-2:30 p.m.
Thursday, 9/24 La Rabida Beach
6501 S. Promontory Dr. 
Chicago, IL 60649
10-11:30 a.m.
1-2:30 p.m.
Friday, 9/25 Calumet Park Beach
9801 S. Avenue G 
Chicago, IL 60617

10-11:30 a.m.

Saturday, 9/26 63rd St Beach 
6301 S. Lake Shore Dr. 
Chicago, IL 60637
9-10:30 a.m. 
11:30 a.m. - 1 p.m. 
2-3:30 p.m. 

PHOTOS: Photos from past cleanups are available for download:

Photo credit: ©Shedd Aquarium

Photos from a 2020 cleanup at Ping Tom Memorial Park are available for download:

Photo credit: ©Lucy Gomez-Feliciano