Friends of the Detroit River plan special events

Part of the solution

Bill Stevenson

Over the years, the slogans have become somewhat nostalgic, almost funny and quaint.

“Draft beer, not boys.”  “More kooks, less nukes.”  “Save the whales.” “Give a Hoot, Don’t Pollute.”  But as a half a century had passed, what was old had become new again. Since the 1990s, the Friends of the Detroit River have embraced the belief that “If you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem.”

And, as part of the solution, the Friends of the Detroit River invite interested and concerned citizens to join them in two outstanding events. 

On Saturday, March 28, 2020, the annual Riverkeeper Dinner will be held at the Wyandotte Boat Club, 1 Pine Street, one block off Biddle Avenue.  

The dinner has become one of the main fundraisers for the Detroit Riverkeeper program, established in 2002, to “protect the interests of the river and the citizens of the surrounding communities.” 

Robert Burns, a lifelong Downriver resident, has been the first and only Riverkeeper. He  acts as the environmental watchdog, protecting the Detroit River’s water quality and its natural ecosystems. Most of his daily work is done patrolling the river in the FDR supported Detroit Riverkeeper boat. The dinner helps raise funds to keep the boat afloat.

The Riverkeeper dinner starts at 7 p.m. with a themed repast catered by the Truago restaurant. The evening includes live entertainment, a cash bar, with a raffle, door prizes, and a silent auction.  

After dinner there will be a special presentation by Burns on the Habitat Restoration projects ongoing throughout the river.  

Presenting sponsors are ECT-Environmental Consulting & Technology, Inc. and the SMITHGROUP, design professionals.

The cost of the ticket to the Riverkeeper Dinner is $50. Advanced reservation form can be found online, and returned with checks payable to the Friends of the Detroit River 20600 Eureka Rd. Suite 250 Taylor, MI  48180.

The second FDR event is the annual Spring 2020 Detroit River Clean-up.  

This year’s event,  held in honor of the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, will be on Saturday, April 25 from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. debarking from Rotary Park in Trenton. A picnic lunch will be provided after the good work is done.

The Friends of the Detroit River will be joining other non-profit organizations on both sides of the river to coordinate riverbank cleanups that day. Participating groups include Canadian Essex Region Conservation Authority, the Detroit River Canadian Clean-up, the DNR Outdoor Adventure Center, the Belle Isle Conservancy, the Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge, the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy, Friends of the Rouge River, Green Living Science, and Milliken State Park. The clean-up is sponsored by DTE and EA Engineering, Science, and Technology, Inc., PBC.

Volunteers that day can participate with or without small outboard boats. Anyone interested in helping to clean-up litter and trash along the river, are asked to dress for the weather with gloves, boots, and extra lifejackets.  

The Trenton boat launch at the foot of Harrison Street, east of West Jefferson can be used for launching boats on trailers. An orientation meeting will be held at 9 a.m. at the Rotary Park pavilion. Anyone who plans to bring their boat, should call 734.676.4626 to register for the event.

The goal of the annual Detroit River Clean-up is to scour the waterways and shores of the small islands in the Lower Detroit River to remove as much litter that has accumulated over the course of a year. And so the work continues. 

Come join the Friends of the Detroit River in these celebrations of grassroots environmental action, and know that you can make a difference in our own little corner of the world.

“Give Earth a Chance.”  “Save the Planet”  “Don’t Be Mean, Be Green.”  

Be a Friend of the Detroit River.  Peace out.

If you would like further information about the Riverkeeper Dinner, the Spring 2020 River Clean-up, or how to join the Friends of the Detroit River, please visit @

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