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KEOSAUQUA – Volunteers will have an opportunity this summer to spend their vacations cleaning up, learning about and exploring 53 miles of the lower Des Moines River between Eldon and Farmington, from July 11 to 15 with Project AWARE. Early registration ends June 17.
Project AWARE, which stands for A Watershed Awareness River Expedition, is the DNR’s annual volunteer river cleanup event. In addition to muscling trash out of the river, participants learn about watersheds, water quality, recycling and other natural resource topics. This year’s expedition marks AWARE’s 14th year.
“Project AWARE is the most rewarding project that I have had the privilege to be involved with,” said Seth Zimmermann who has represented the State Hygienic Laboratory at The University of Iowa as event staff for the past 10 years. “AWARE brings together a large group of volunteers with differing backgrounds from across Iowa, all with a shared goal of improving Iowa’s water resources while experiencing the river, the communities, and the history that make this part of Iowa special. The experience is genuine and empowering. I couldn’t be more grateful to the volunteers, local planning committee members, communities, and sponsors who make it happen every year.”
Volunteers can officially join the river cleanup by paddling the river or by assisting with land-based recycling initiatives, but there are opportunities for others to experience Project AWARE as well. “Infotainment” programs, for example, are held each evening and are open to the public. These programs will highlight local natural resources, history, and archaeology that make this area unique.
Registration is not required for the general public to attend evening programs, but it is required for those who wish to volunteer for the river cleanup itself. To avoid a late registration fee, volunteers are asked to have their registration forms postmarked by Friday, June 17. Tent camping is free for volunteers and a limited number of canoes are available for those who need them.
Additional information can be found on the Project AWARE website at www.iowadnr.gov/aware.
Event sponsors include:
Platinum Paddle Sponsors: Alliant Energy Foundation · Bridgestone Americas One Team, One Planet Spent Tire Program · Community Foundation of Van Buren County · Firestone Complete Auto Care · Flint Hills Resources · IIHR - Hydroscience & Engineering at The University of Iowa · Iowa DNR - IOWATER, Rivers Programs · Iowa Flood Center · State Hygienic Laboratory at The University of Iowa · Villages of Van Buren · Zanfel Laboratories, Inc.
Golden Yoke Sponsors: Ansell Protective Products · River Valley Lodge and Campground · Rockwell Collins · University of Iowa Office of the State Archaeologist
Silver Stern Sponsors: Bug Soother · Eaton Corporation Community Involvement Team, Shenandoah Plant · Hy-Vee, Inc. · Iowa Whitewater Coalition · Jefferson County Conservation Board · Lee County Conservation Board · Nathan and Jamie Lein · Paddle, Pedal & More · River Basin Canoe & Kayak · Wapello County Fairgrounds
River Steward Sponsors: B4 Brands · Caterpillar Inc. · Clinton County Conservation Board · Connie Struve and Bill Covington · Environmental Advocates · Environmental Professionals of Iowa · Great River Regional Waste Authority · Hawkeye Fly Fishing Association · Marion County Conservation Board · Prottsman Sanitation · Rivers and Streams LLC · Snyder & Associates, Inc. · Stine Seed Company · Touch the Earth Outdoor Recreation and Education - University of Iowa · University of Northern Iowa Outdoor Recreation · U.S. Army Corps of Engineers · Van Buren County Conservation Board · Wapello County Conservation Board
River Rescue Sponsors: American Gothic House Center · Anonymous Nature Lover · Boy Scout Troop 242 · Butler Soil and Water Conservation District · Can Shed LLC · Casey’s General Stores, Inc. · Cedar Rapids Linn County Solid Waste Agency · Cedar Valley Paddlers · Central Iowa Paddlers · City of Ames A.O.C. Resource Recovery System · City of Bentonsport · City of Bonaparte · City of Eldon · City of Farmington · City of Keosauqua · Darrel and Jean Brothersen · Davis County Conservation Board · Des Moines Area Community College · Don Wall · Eldon Historical Society · Franklin Soil and Water Conservation District · Iowa Geological Survey · JC’s Johns · Linda Appelgate · Mark Bohner · Missouri Department of Natural Resources · Nick and Maureen Gaeta · Pathfinders RC&D · Rod, Ronnie, and Randie Brodigan · Skunk River Paddlers · Sqwincher/PMG · The Dental Practice · University of Iowa Research Park · White Pine Group, Iowa Sierra Club · William & Joan Kauten
Life Jacket Sponsors: Andrew & Maureen Johnson