lowa volunteers will have an opportunity this July to spend their vacations cleaning up, learning about, and exploring 60 miles of the upper Cedar River near the Iowa-Minnesota border through Project AWARE, which stands for A Watershed Awareness River Expedition. The project, which is the Iowa Department of Natural Resources’ annual volunteer river cleanup event. is in its 15th year and focuses on a different river each year. In addition to removing trash from the river, participants learn about watersheds, water quality, recycling, and other natural resource topics.
Volunteers participate by paddling down the river in canoes and cleaning up river trash along the way. Opportunities for land-based volunteers are also available. While the expedition lasts five days, 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.
Since the inception of the program, more than 4,000 AWARE volunteers from across the state have cleaned up 1,083 river miles, removing 377 tons of trash (76 percent of which has been recycled) from rivers all across Iowa.
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