Let’s Kickoff the 2014 River Cleanup Season!


Keurig volunteers piled up bag after bag of trash and litter to be hauled away

Keurig volunteers piled up bag after bag of trash and litter to be hauled away

It’s time to kick-off our 2014 river cleanup season! Already National River Cleanup has 200 registered cleanups and with rivers thawing and temperatures on the rise we’re excited to see that number grow!

River cleanups are an excellent way to connect your community to the tremendous work you’re doing to protect and clean your local river or stream. Register your river cleanup with National River Cleanup and become part of a network of river stewards that cleaned up over 4 million pounds of trash last year!

I kicked off my river cleanup season in Knoxville, Tennessee at the Ijam’s Nature Center’s 2014 River Rescue. In its 25th year the River Rescue saw over 900 volunteers at 40 sites pull over 9 tons of garbage and debris from the Tennessee River in just one morning! American Rivers and Keurig Green Mountain teamed up to help sponsor the River Rescue this year.

I had the opportunity to work with Keurig Green Mountain employee volunteers on the shoreline at Sequoyah Hills Park during the River Rescue and then joined a second group for restoration and cleanup work at Ijams Nature Center a few days later where we unearthed an illegal trash dump site. While tragic to find it was inspiring to see the Keurig volunteers step up to the task of what seemed like an endless pile of bottles, old mattresses, debris, and tires.

Keurig volunteers kept their spirits up through a long day of cleaning up!

Keurig volunteers kept their spirits up through a long day of cleaning up!

Late in the morning one volunteer who was knee deep in a stream bed paused from digging out a massive steel grate, wiped the sweat from his brow, and said, “This is personal now!” It was the fourth year Keurig employees have volunteered at the River Rescue and it is clear that they are committed to their river and its environment. At the end of the cleanup the 89 volunteers had cleaned up over 7,000 pounds of trash and 18 tires!

I recently flew from San Francisco to Washington D.C. From my window seat soaring over the nation I soaked up breathtaking views as different landscapes melted into each other from desert to canyons to mountains to plains. From my perspective in the clouds I saw two of our nation’s great rivers for the first time. I gazed upon the Colorado River as it wound and cut its way through the Grand Canyon. Several hours later we crossed the Missouri river cast in the glow of a sunset that seemed to paint an endless shimmering road into the horizon. I sat back and thought about the countless rivers and streams passing below and all of you out there who are hard at work protecting them. By providing opportunities for our neighbors and community members to learn about and connect to our rivers through a cleanup we can create a nation of river stewards like the folks I met in Knoxville. Register your river cleanup with National River Cleanup today!

Volunteers unearthed several old and rusty mattresses from the dump site

Volunteers unearthed several old and rusty mattresses from the dump site

This river cleanup season I’ll be working with Keurig Green Mountain to organize community cleanups across the country. Keep an eye out on the River Blog and American River’s Facebook page to see if I’ll be coming to a river near you!

You’ve never planned a cleanup before? Contact the National River Cleanup Manager at [email protected] for steps on how to get started!

2 Responses to “Let’s Kickoff the 2014 River Cleanup Season!”

Elisabeth McCoy

River cleanups endorse racial, political, & economic tolerance & diversity by bringing community members together to reach a common & worthwhile goal-revitalized waterways. Given these facts, why isn’t there a dedicated funding source to support these programs? On-going river cleanup programming, if planned & executed professionally, requires a dedicated funding stream. It would be very helpful if this site shared a link to Federal & state funding opportunities and corporate support options.

Lisa R. Hebert

Amazing! This is a good activity it is also a nice way of thanking nature by keeping the surroundings clean. This kind of work is very appreciative.