Open 9 am - 5 pm


Four teens in windbreakers and hoodies stand on a great lakes beach in the bright afternoon sun, the blue lake visible behind them as they hold up large blue plastic bags of trash collected from the beach.

Litter cleanups

We host cleanups at sites along the Lake Michigan shoreline through the Alliance for the Great Lakes Adopt-a-Beach™ program as well as along the Chicago River. Volunteers work in teams, combing the shorelines for litter and recording data on their findings to support science-based litter prevention strategies.

A woman working on coastal habitat restoration in a field

Coastal Habitat Restoration

We’re working with the Chicago Park District to help bring natural spaces to our city parks. Through pulling weeds, planting native species, or seed collecting we take action for Great Lakes habitats.

A volunteer wearing a windbreaker and jeans crouches in a local wood to cut down an invasive tree with a hacksaw. In the background, another volunteer tends a brush fire.

Woodland Habitat Restoration

In partnership with the Forest Preserves of Cook County, we make a positive difference for amphibians and other wildlife by restoring habitats. We use hand tools to cut and burn invasive brush to make room for native flora and fauna.

Two volunteers wearing life vests stand in the shallow edge of a local river, digging in the sand and slurry. A nearby canoe holds several native plants in pots ready to be planted.

River Planting

Shedd has teamed up with the Friends of the Chicago River to help reestablish crucial habitat in the North Shore Channel. Volunteers will wear waders and travel via canoe to plant native aquatic plant species along the banks of the canal.

Workdays and locations

Community workdays

All workdays are temporarily postponed until further notice. Email [email protected] if you would like to be notified when workdays resume.

Ping Tom Memorial Park
Litter Cleanup and Coastal Habitat Restoration

12th St Beach

Litter Cleanup and Coastal Habitat Restoration

63rd St Beach
Litter Cleanup and Coastal Habitat Restoration

Bob Mann Woods
Woodland Habitat Restoration

Skokie Lagoons
Woodland Habitat Restoration

A group of Great Lakes Action Day helpers at Black Partridge Forest

Group Workdays

Have a school group, scout troop, or other organization you’d like to get out on a Shedd Aquarium Action Day? Email to learn more.

A group of Great Lakes Action Day participants in matching t-shirts stand on a beach

Corporate Workdays

Corporate group Shedd Aquarium Action Day opportunities are reserved for current corporate partners. Email to learn more.

More Information

Age and Requirements

All ages are welcome! No minimum requirements.

What to Bring

Reusable water bottles, snacks, and weather-appropriate outdoor clothing and shoes that you don’t mind getting dirty. Based on the time of year, you may want to bring sunscreen or bugspray.

Possible Activities

  • Beach cleanup
  • Habitat and wildlife monitoring
  • Invasive plant removal
  • Habitat restoration

What to Know

• All events are weather-dependent.
• Transportation is available for select school and youth groups.
• Participant waivers are required.

Corporate Opportunities

Corporate group Shedd Aquarium Action Day opportunities are reserved for current corporate partners. Email to learn more.