Iowa Project Aware Coming Through Mount Pleasant and Southeast Iowa July 7-12th

The state’s largest volunteer river cleanup event, Iowa Project AWARE, is excited to celebrate 21 years of beautifying Iowa waterways and spreading watershed awareness. Over 300 volunteers will be heading to Southeast Iowa to clean up 75 miles of the Skunk River this July 7-12.


This year, volunteers and organizers aim to surpass 1 million pounds of trash removed from Iowa rivers. As part of Iowa Project AWARE’s mission to improve and protect the environment and natural resources, organizers limit contributions to landfills by recycling 81% of all river finds, including 228 tons of scrap metal and nearly 7,000 tires.


Volunteers will embark by canoe on the Skunk River in Richland and make their way southeast to Burlington over the course of five days. Volunteers will load their canoes with trash by day and tent camp and participate in educational programs by night. Speakers from around the state are coming to present on the unique features of the Iowa River, covering topics such as birding programs with renowned birder Kelly McKay, river and lake management with Claire Hruby (Drake University), insights into the Iowa Mussel Blitz with Scott Gritters (Iowa DNR), and the history of the Ho-Chunk Tribe presented by Tribal Historic Preservation Officer Bill Quakenbush, who will also showcase his traditional dug-out canoe!


As volunteers paddle their way down to Mount Pleasant from July 11-12, campers will stay on the outskirts of the city at Oakland Mills Water Works Area. Caleb Waters, Executive Director of Henry County Conservation, stated, “The Henry County Conservation Department would like to express our support for Project AWARE as they continue to improve Iowa’s water quality through annual river cleanups. When the canoes pass through, there is an immediate and visible difference as tires, bottles, and other debris are removed. The group also encourages long-term change by emphasizing stewardship of public lands and a deeper understanding of a river’s flora and fauna.”


Slots are still open if you are interested in joining the cleanup efforts. Registration can be found on their website at