TURKEY RIVER - This summer, from July 9-16, volunteers will have an opportunity to spend their vacations working as aquatic garbage collectors - cleaning up, learning about, and exploring nearly 90 miles of the Little Turkey, Turkey and Volga rivers.
Project AWARE, which stands for A Watershed Awareness River Expedition, is the Iowa Department of Natural Resources' (DNR) annual volunteer river cleanup event during which participants learn about watersheds, water quality, recycling, and other natural resource topics.
"The Turkey River is the centerpiece of recreation, water quality, and economic development in Fayette County," said Rod Marlatt, Fayette County Conservation Board director. "Floods have both exposed and deposited tires, barrels and other trash and the river needs a cleanup project such as project AWARE."
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.
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.
Recently Project AWARE was recognized as the best state-sponsored volunteer event in the country. To date, more than 1,700 AWARE volunteers from across the state have cleaned up more than 613 river miles, removing more than 150 tons of trash, 59 percent of which has been recycled, from rivers all across Iowa.
For more information on this event and to download the registration materials, please visit www.iowaprojectaware.com.