Ijams needs site captains, sponsors for River Rescue

Amber ParkerFun Outdoors, South Knox

Ijams Nature Center is looking for volunteer site captains for its 32nd annual Ijams River Rescue, presented by TVA, on Saturday, March 27, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.


Ijams River Rescue brings together 500-800 volunteers to remove between 10-40 tons of trash from the Tennessee River’s shorelines and its tributary creeks.

“Site captains are critical to this event because they determine how many sites can be addressed,” said Madelyn Collins, Ijams volunteer coordinator. “If you have a friend, spouse or partner, you can volunteer as co-captains, which will make it more fun.”

A site captain’s duties range from checking in volunteers and going over safety procedures to completing a brief cleanup report. There are one to two site captains at each location. These volunteers receive training prior to the event.

In 2020, 500 volunteers safely removed 12.6 tons of garbage from 32 sites.

“There was so much uncertainty about the pandemic in early 2020 that Ijams rescheduled the cleanup from March to November,” Collins said. “As we learned more about safety protocols, we discovered that cleanups are a great way to give back, get active and stay safe because you can be outside and physically distant from everyone around you. While it’s only been six months since the cleanup, there’s a lot of trash out there, so there’s still work to do.”

For details about Ijams River Rescue or to volunteer to be a site captain, contact Madelyn Collins at mcollins@ijams.org or call 865-577-4717, ext. 135. A general call for cleanup volunteers will go out in March.

Sponsors to date include TVA, city of Knoxville Stormwater Engineering, First Horizon Foundation and Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency. Sponsorships still are available. For sponsorship information, email Cindy Hassil at chassil@ijams.org.

Amber Parker is executive director of Ijams Nature Center.

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