MARSHALLTOWN – Volunteers will have an opportunity this summer to spend their vacations working as aquatic garbage collectors – cleaning up, learning about and exploring more than 90 miles of the Iowa River between Dows and Marshalltown in north-central Iowa July 7 to 14.
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 tenth year.
“Project AWARE represents a great opportunity to learn and grow our own knowledge and commitment to our natural resources,” said John Schuller, who serves on the Iowa River Greenbelt Resource Trust board of directors and plans to volunteer with his family this summer. “It will also provide quality family time, social time with existing friends and opportunities to make new friends, and provide us with a network of resource people for future interaction and access.”
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.
In the past nine years, more than 2,150 AWARE volunteers from across the state have cleaned up more than 700 river miles, removing more than 180 tons of trash (65 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