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Volunteers Needed for Socially-Distant Action Days with Shedd Aquarium

Shedd Opens New Opportunities to Get Outside this Fall and Winter to Give Back to the Environment

October 29, 2020

A shallow pond is barely visible among trees and leaf litter in Bob Mann woods, where Shedd volunteers help with habitat restoration.

Even as temperatures continue to drop in Chicago, local residents are invited in small, socially-distant groups to give back to the environment this fall and winter during Shedd Aquarium’s Action Days—a program where community members can volunteer their time to clean up and restore Chicago area natural spaces with conservation experts from Shedd. Action Days will take place at four different beach and Forest Preserve locations around the Chicago area over the next two months. Activities include picking up litter along shorelines or removing invasive plant species like buckthorn, which choke out the native plant species that are essential parts of forest ecosystem for animals like salamanders, frogs and pollinators.

Space is limited to ensure volunteers and staff can maintain social distancing at Action Day locations, so registration is required. Those interested can sign up by emailing [email protected].

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.

WHERE:Action Days will take place this fall throughout the Chicago area at 63rd Street Beach, Calumet Park Beach, Bob Mann Woods and Skokie Lagoons. Upcoming dates include:

Calumet Park BeachBeach Cleanup

  • Saturday, October 31 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. (costumes welcome!)

Bob Mann Woods– Forest Restoration and Invasive Species Removal

  • Saturday, October 31 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
  • Saturday, November 14 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
  • Thursday, November 19 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
  • Saturday, December 12 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
  • Thursday, December 17 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

63rd St BeachBeach Cleanup and Seed Collection

  • Saturday, November 7 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.

Skokie Lagoons– Forest Restoration and Invasive Species Removal

  • Saturday, November 7 from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.
  • Wednesday, November 18 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
  • Saturday, December from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.
  • Wednesday, December 16 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

BACKGROUND: Chicago’s beaches, waterways and Forest Preserves are home to flora and fauna, from birds like piping plovers to native aquatic plants. Action Days provide opportunities for the Chicago community to learn about native aquatic systems, woodlands and prairies firsthand, while taking action that directly supports the success of these ecosystems.

Action Day programming includes litter clean ups, river planting, and coastal and woodland habitat restoration.

  • Litter clean ups are facilitated at sites along the Lake Michigan and Chicago River shoreline through the Alliance for the Great Lakes Adopt-a-Beach™ program. Volunteers pick up litter along the shoreline while recording data on their findings to prevent littering in the future.
  • River plantings is a collaboration between Shedd Aquarium and Friends of the Chicago River, which aims to reestablish habitat in the North Shore Channel by planting native aquatic plant species.
  • Habitat restoration takes place in both coastal and woodland locations, partnering with the Chicago Park District and Forest Preserves of Cook County to maintain diverse, successful native natural areas.

More information about Action Days is available at

PHOTOS: Photos from past Action Days are available for download:
Photo credit: ©Shedd Aquarium