Interested volunteers still have time to sign up for Ijams Nature Center’s 27th annual River Rescue of the Tennessee River this Saturday, April 2, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The community-wide annual event, involving about 1,000 volunteers, covers 30 different cleanup sites on Knoxville’s river and creek tributaries.
Volunteers for the Ijams River Rescue join together to pick up trash and debris that is clogging and polluting Knoxville’s river and creeks. Volunteers may come as individuals or in a group, such as with family, friends, corporate teams, Scout troops or church groups.
Bags and gloves are provided to volunteers for the cleanup. Each cleanup location has a “site captain,” who assists volunteers. This year, Ijams staff will align volunteers interested in leading a cleanup location in the future with a site captain for training experience during the River Rescue.
An estimated 15 tons of trash were removed during last year’s River Rescue; the rubbish was displayed on the Living Lands and Waters river barge during the 2015 Tennessee River Tour.
City of Knoxville and Knox County service crews will haul away trash from the cleanup sites, and the Knoxville Police Department will have officers assisting throughout the day.
Items removed from Knoxville’s waterways last year included 104 tires, 16 shopping carts, six TVs, two recliners, two barbeque grills, three kiddie pools, five suitcases, one scooter and one hot tub, among many other items.
“This always proves to be a rewarding experience for individuals, families and groups,” said Paul James, Executive Director at Ijams Nature Center. “You feel good about helping the environment, beautifying our city, experiencing a day outdoors, and sharing comradery with others.”
All participants receive a free “River Rescue” T-shirt to commemorate their efforts. For more information on how to volunteer, please call 865-577-4717, ext. 135.