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Ijams River Rescue needs volunteer site captains for annual cleanup March 12
January 8, 2022

Ijams Nature Center is looking for volunteer site captains for its 33rd annual Ijams River Rescue on Saturday, March 12, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

This one-day cleanup annually brings together 500-800 volunteers to remove between 10-40 tons of trash from the Tennessee River’s shorelines and its tributary creeks.

“This year’s goal is to tackle between 40-50 sites in Knox, Blount and Loudon counties, and that will require between 80-100 site captains,” Ijams Volunteer Coordinator Sammy Shorey said. “If you want to volunteer with a friend or family member, you can be co-captains. Everyone has fun during the cleanup because we’re all working together to make a difference.”

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 2021, 478 volunteers safely removed more than 15 tons of garbage from 32 sites. That’s really impressive because heavy rain moving through the area caused groups to stop early or even cancel their site’s cleanup,” Shorey said. “If the weather looks bad for March 12, the cleanup will move to the following Saturday, March 19.”

The deadline to sign up to be a site captain is Jan. 20. To sign up, contact Sammy Shorey at or 865-577-4717, ext. 132, or visit

A general call for cleanup volunteers will go out in February.

Sponsors to date include City of Knoxville Stormwater Engineering, First Horizon Foundation, Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency, Waste Connections of Tennessee, CAC AmeriCorps, and Water Quality Forum. The deadline to become a sponsor and receive all visibility opportunities is Feb. 5. For sponsorship information, email Cindy Hassil at

Ijams Nature Center is a nonprofit, 318-acre educational nature center 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 for all ages. The Ijams grounds and trails are open every day from 8 a.m. until dusk. The Visitor Center is open daily from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. For more information, visit

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