Mainstreet YPN Answers the Call for Volunteer Days! Creek Clean Up Efforts in Downers Grove Huge Success

Mainstreet HQ, Downers Grove – Mainstreet’s Young Professionals Network answered NAR’s June REALTOR® Volunteer Days call-to-action and joined the efforts of philanthropic partner The Conservation Foundation to help clean up St. Joseph’s Creek in Downers Grove.

June 1 – June 9, 2024, were days dedicated by NAR to keeping communities beautiful and healthy. Volunteer Days encourage REALTORS® to reach out to various local organizations and get more involved towards a shared goal: philanthropy.

As it so happens, Mainstreet REALTORS® has a long-standing relationship with The Conservation Foundation, headquartered in Naperville at McDonald Farm. The mission for The Conservation Foundation is simple: “[they] save land and save rivers, and [they’ve] been at it for more than 50 years.”

The Conservation Foundation is responsible for protecting more than 250 acres of land valued at $13.5 million dollars across Will, Kane, Du Page and Kendall counties.

Mainstreet’s Young Professionals Network lent a helping hand in Downers Grove to help clean up St. Joseph’s Creek on June 4. Notably, the group of family and friend volunteers, including my daughter, saved an injured duck while in the thick of cleaning up the creek bed.

As one of the Young Professionals Network committee members, I try to stay proactive in the preservation of community aesthetics. Pretty neighborhoods are great for home value, to both buyers and sellers. However, that is just the beginning of why YPN members volunteer their time. We visited a site nearby to understand the effects of litter and how they end up in the water riverways. We signed up with The Conservation Foundation to adopt a specific area of the DuPage River and committed to cleaning it for two years. It is really incredible the large-scale impact volunteers can make long term right in our own neighborhood.

My daughter was on site to help with the creek clean-up and may have saved a life in the process. I noticed our group break in half but it wasn’t until afterwards I realized why. We were walking along the river when we encountered a duck on its back, with its head tucked in. The videos I’ve seen show my 11-year-old, Eva scoop up the duck without hesitation and commit to finding the duck some help. Together with some of the volunteers they placed the duck safely into a box until the Chicago Bird Collision arrived. She has always had a knack for nature and animals. It was really cool to see her in her element.

Cleaning up a river, pond or creek bed may sound self-explanatory but environmentalists have more to offer in way of clarification. Just ask Amy Philips at the Conservation Foundation, my primary contact who helped tremendously in the clean-up effort. Amy Phillips and everyone at the Conservation Foundation I’ve interacted with are so great to work with. Amy was informative during our walk through of what qualified “cleaning” is, showing us how naturally some weeds along the river help keep litter out of the water. She also educated us on how, we as REALTORS® can be change makers in our work by informing our clients of native plants for pollination and plant diversity. Amy also facilitated our connection with the Alyssa and Sam from Downers Grove Sanitation Department. Shout out to Sam for being our guide.

The Conservation Foundation was not chosen at random; Young Professionals Network works with Mainstreet philanthropic partners as a first choice. When we choose organizations to support as a committee we start with our philanthropic partners and when I saw the opportunity to do a river clean up with the Conservation Foundation, I couldn’t say no. Eva has been asking me to help her clean up litter along the road, parking lots and our neighborhood for as long as I can remember. Stopping to care for the environment one day out of the year can have a lasting impact.

Keeping the environment clean is important because our kids get the world we leave behind. Caring for our waterways means beautiful streams to hike by, clearing space for rainwater to land and enabling ecosystems to flourish, making lasting impacts on our communities. We know that when communities are naturally thriving and inviting, the property values reflect it.
REALTORS® exemplify excellence in their communities through continued efforts to make neighborhoods safe, clean and accessible for everyone. Their dedication to making a lasting impact on the people they serve is what sets them apart from the competition.

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