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Saluting Chicago River Blue Award Recipients

From left: Brad Donati, marketing and community director of The Forge: Lemont Quarries, accepts the 2021 Blue Ribbon Award from Sally Fletcher, board president of Friends of the Chicago River (center) and Margaret Frisbie, the organization’s executive director. Photo credit Ian Vecchiotti

At the Friends of the Chicago River annual Big Fish Ball, winners of the 2021-2022 Chicago River Blue Awards were announced, recognizing river-sensitive projects for exceptional contributions to continuing the improvement of the Chicago-Calumet River system.

The 2021 Blue Ribbon Award was presented to The Forge: Lemont Quarries, a 300-acre adventure park for its innovative leadership in outdoor recreation. The 2022 Blue Ribbon Award was bestowed to The Ford Calumet Environmental Center, which encourages environmental education throughout the Calumet region.

Winners of Silver Ribbon Awards include The African American Heritage Trail, by Openlands; and the Wild Mile Floating Park Learning Platform, by Urban Rivers.

Honored with Green Ribbon Awards were the Natalie Creek Flood Control Project, by Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago (MWRD); Riverview Bridge and Trail Connection, by Chicago Department of Transportation; the Lincoln Village Pedestrian Bridge, by the Chicago Department of Transportation; the Wetlands Restoration and Preservation Plan, by the Lake County Stormwater Management Commission; and Wolf Point East, by Wolf Point East Investors, LLC.

Since the first awards were given out in 2010, Friends of the Chicago River has recognized 77 projects that represent both large-scale initiatives and the equally important individual actions of river-edge property owners and elected officials. Margaret Frisbie, executive director of Friends of the Chicago River, says, “Each of the award winners represent excellence in river-sensitive design, planning and creative thinking that is vital to improve and protect the Chicago-Calumet River system as a natural, vibrant and healthy blue-green corridor for people and wildlife.”

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