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Project AWARE
Project AWARE (A Watershed Awareness River Expedition) seeks volunteers for its 6th annual river cleanup.  Last year over 400 volunteers in canoes and kayaks collected over 26 tons of waste along 103 river miles and an amazing 85% of this discarded waste was recycled!

What’s Project AWARE? Think RAGBRAI, but with a splash of ecotourism, a focus on river cleanup, and a whole lot of fun! The idea behind Project AWARE is simple - if there’s trash in the stream, take it out. Using an arsenal of tools, from bare hands to pick axes to come-alongs, AWARE volunteers muscle thousands of pounds of trash out of Iowa’s rivers. Regardless of the river, the end result is always the same - muddy volunteers, a cleaner, more aesthetically pleasing river, environmental awareness to youth and adults and memories that last a lifetime.

Perhaps most exciting is how some of the Project AWARE trash is recycled. The Project AWARE staff, along with several volunteers take great strides to recycle as much as possible.  By spreading large tarps across the ground, they are allowed to dump the mesh bags of mixed litter, pick through the plastics, metals, glass, aerosols, oil bottles, and various other mixed clutter to segregate everything into proper recycling streams acceptable to that location.  With the aid of an Iowa artist, all the metal recovered during Project AWARE is sculpted into a very educational and empowering art form. Not only do AWARE participants remove the trash from the river, they also create the sculpture. Upon completion of the project, artist David Williamson sets up shop near the DNR building at the Iowa State Fair. He then proceeds to help Project AWARE participants, fair-goers, and anyone who walks by his working exhibit, transform heaps of metal into incredible, informal, and self-interpreting sculptures that allow for self-discovery and educational opportunity to all who experience them.  This addition to Project AWARE has transformed it from being a one-week event into an on-going, year-long and longer, awareness activity – the essence of AWARE travels with the sculptures.youth and adults and memories that last a lifetime.

Project AWARE is the recipient of Iowa Recycling Association's 2007 Best Public Education Campaign Award for it's innovative engagement of a diverse group of individuals who come together with varying intentions but yield the all-important goal of protecting and enhancing Iowa's waterways through recycling.

Join Team IRA! and other volunteers to clean up Iowa's riverways...and RECYCLE!  Sign up now to participate in the 2008 cleanup along the Winnebago, Shell Rock and Cedar Rivers, June 14-21. 

For more information go to or contact Brian Soenen, (515) 205-8587,

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