Get Ready for the Welty 2021 Rock River 5K…Aug. 23- Sept. 20!

It’s that time of year, again, Welty’s Rock River 5K. We had such a great time last year, we decided to do it again, but this time include some in-person events. If you haven’t already, sign-up on the website to be eligible to participate anytime, anywhere between Aug. 23 and Sept. 20. Groups of 2 or more can sign up as a family. We’re giving away insulated water bottles this year, that you can pick up at an event or the Center, or have it mailed to you.

In 2020, 62 people (and 4 dogs) participated virtually to go 328 miles. Can we beat that distance this year? Here’s the 2021 water bottle you’ll receive for your efforts. Sign up now!

Let’s get ready for a month (8/23-9/20) of discovering…

If you want some guidance on your 5k, join an in-person event after you register! Last year we had to stay distanced, but this year we’re including a couple of outdoor activities for you to rack up your miles to help us reach the full length of the Rock River (515 mi/320km). These will be limited to 25 people, so still safe, but also a chance to check out the Rock River watershed with friends.

Family and Friends Bike Ride  Saturday, August 28 from 9-11am  Beckman Mill County Park  Join Jim Van De Bogart (a former Welty Board president), on a guided bike 5K (about 3.7 miles).  Options are available for riders who would like to go further than a 5K. Signs will be posted for participants to follow. Rules of the road must be enforced, and you must wear a helmet. 

Prairie to Tributary Guided Hike  Sunday, Sept. 19 from 1-3pm  Big Hill Park  Welty Educator Darien Becker will explore Big Hill in three loops, each spotlighting a different habitat type at the park. You can complete the full 5K (3.7 miles) or a section of it. Bring your binoculars and cameras because we’ll be looking (and listening) closely for birds, insects, plants, and other animals.

…all the great things the Rock River watershed has to offer!

Or take off on your own. Each week of the 5k, we’ll publish a list of adventures along the Rock River watershed for you to explore on foot, bike, or boat. No matter where you go, we’d love to hear about it. Once you finish your distance, send us how far you went, where, and–if you want–a photo of your trip. It’s fun to see everyone outside, and get inspired to do more investigating. Share your pictures with us at, and use the hashtag #WeltyRockRiver5K in your social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.).

Thanks to our wonderful sponsors (Zeeland Farm Services, Teachers Credit Union, and others), all funds raised during our Virtual 5K support Welty’s mission. To that end, if you’d like to include an additional donation with your 5K registration, it will be matched 2-for-1 until the end of August as part of our Summer Appeal…if you add a $10 donation to your fee, Welty will receive an additional $30! 

Let’s get ready for a month of discovering all the great things the Rock River watershed has to offer (or whatever nature trails you find to explore)…we can’t wait to see your adventures!

Brenda Plakans
Executive Director, WEC