Volunteers needed for river clean-up

If getting a little dirty to make Knoxville a cleaner place excites you, you’ll want to volunteer for Ijams River Rescue Saturday, April 1, 2017 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Presented by Keurig Green Mountain and TVA, the 28th annual Ijams cleanup event focuses on 30-40 locations along the Tennessee River and its associated creek tributaries from the river’s headwaters in Knoxville to the shores of Loudon County.

“Between 800-1,000 people pick up 10-14 tons of trash and debris as well as numerous old tires during this event each year,” Ijams Executive Director Amber Parker said. “We welcome individuals as well as groups of all sizes from local businesses, nonprofit organizations and scout troops. It’s a fun way to get involved and help ensure healthier, cleaner water for the residents and wildlife of East Tennessee.”

Volunteers can register online at Ijams.org through March 31. All supplies will be provided, including gloves and bags that have been donated by TVA and American Rivers’ National River Cleanup program.

Participants will receive a commemorative t-shirt designed by Ijams senior naturalist, artist and author Stephen Lyn Bales. This year’s shirt features a frog, one of the earth’s most environmentally sensitive creatures.

“Frogs live in two environments: land and water,” Bales said. “They have very thin skin, which easily absorbs toxic chemicals and other pollutants, so frogs are a good indicator of environmental stress. We can tell how healthy an environment is by how many amphibians live there.”

The 28th annual Ijams River Rescue presented by Keurig Green Mountain and TVA is sponsored by the City of Knoxville, First Tennessee Foundation, Grayson Subaru, Dow Chemical Company, Mesa Associates Inc., Knoxville TVA Employees Credit Union, River Sports Outfitters, Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency, Wood Realtors, Knox Area Climbers, AmeriCorps, and the Water Quality Forum.

Ijams Nature Center is a nonprofit, 300-acre educational and outdoor adventure park for all ages, abilities and walks of life. Ijams’ mission is to encourage stewardship of the natural world by providing an urban greenspace for people to learn about and enjoy the outdoors through engaging experiences. Located just three miles from downtown Knoxville, Ijams features 12 miles of hiking and mixed-use trails, a public access river dock, swimming, boating, biking and more. The center offers hundreds of educational programs annually, from school field trips and off-site programs to on-site outdoor and classroom education programs that focus on topics from birding and wildflowers to yoga hikes, cooking classes and art programs. The Ijams grounds and trails are open daily from 8 a.m. until dusk. The Visitor Center is open Monday through Saturday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, visit Ijams.org or call 865-577-4717.