Project Aware Sets Sights on Des Moines River for Annual Cleanup
Posted: 04/02/2013
Volunteers will have an opportunity this summer to work as aquatic garbage collectors – cleaning up, learning about and exploring more than 90 miles of the Des Moines River between Algona and Fort Dodge in north-central Iowa July 6 to 13.

Project AWARE, which stands for A Watershed Awareness River Expedition, is the Iowa 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 eleventh year.

“Project AWARE will be a huge boost to restoring the pristine beauty of the river corridor,” said Todd Lee, Humboldt County Conservation Board director. 

Volunteers participate by paddling down the river in canoes or kayaks and cleaning up river trash along the way. Opportunities for land-based volunteers are also available. While the expedition lasts a week, volunteers may stay and help for as little or as long as they like. Project AWARE is family-friendly, too.

“I can think of no better way to spend a day than to spend it on AWARE,” said Jim Dodd, a Humboldt resident and eight-year veteran of Project AWARE. “Not only will it get kids outside, but they will learn more in a day on the water with the nightly programs than a day in school, and they’ll have a blast doing it.”

In addition to river cleanup, Project AWARE also offers a unique blend of educational programs and demonstrations, volunteer camaraderie, camping and other outdoor recreation opportunities that enrich the experience.

In the past 10 years, more than 2,500 AWARE volunteers from across the state have cleaned up more than 780 river miles, removing 242 tons of trash (70 percent of which has been recycled) from rivers all across Iowa.

For more information on this event and to download the registration materials, visit www.iowaprojectaware.com.

For more information, contact Lynette Seigley, at 319-335-1598 or Lynette.Seigley@dnr.iowa.gov.