KNOXVILLE — Volunteer registration is open for the 34th Ijams River Rescue on Saturday, April 15, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. A severe weather date is set for Saturday, April 22.
Ijams Nature Center’s annual event removes tons of trash and tires from sites along the Tennessee River and its creek tributaries. Sites are typically located in Knox, Anderson, Blount and Loudon counties.
“During this cleanup, between 500-1,000 volunteers come together to make a tangible, positive difference in their community,” Ijams Development Director Cindy Hassil said. “It’s eye-opening to participate because you really get to see what ends up in our waterways. Hopefully it makes people more aware of how they dispose of trash and recyclables, and inspires them to look for ways to reduce the amount of waste they create.”
There are cleanup sites on land, along the shoreline (boots/waders recommended) and on the water (personal kayaks/canoes required).
Volunteers will receive a free T-shirt featuring a great blue heron designed by Stephen Lyn Bales. This year’s event shirt, created by Allmade®, uses an average of six recycled water bottles for 50 percent of its content. The remainder is 25 percent organic cotton and 25% modal.
Potential volunteers can learn more and sign up for a site at Ijams.org/ijams-river-rescue. Slots fill on a first-come, first-served basis and typically book quickly. The deadline to register is April 1, or until all slots have been filled.
Groups from scout troops, churches and other organizations may sign up to do a particular site together. All members of a group must register individually to complete a waiver and provide personal contact information should Ijams need to communicate with all volunteers at a particular site.
Site captains will be stationed at each site. Bags, gloves and other supplies will be provided.
The 34th annual Ijams River Rescue is made possible by Tennessee Valley Authority, Allmade, City of Knoxville Stormwater Engineering, Dow, Nothing Too Fancy, Dominion Group, Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency, Vulcan Materials Company, Commercial Metals Company, Knoxville TVA Employees Credit Union, Old Sevier District, Tailwater Properties, and Waste Connections of Tennessee. Other supporters include CAC AmeriCorps, Responsible Stewardship, Thompson Engineering’s Thompson Foundation, and Water Quality Forum.
Responsible Stewardship also will be conducting a multi-site cleanup of Watts Bar Lake in Roane, Rhea and Meigs counties on April 15.
— Cindy Hassil, Ijams Nature Center