Who We Are

Iowa Project AWARE — A Watershed Awareness River Expedition — is the state’s largest river cleanup event. The event educates participants while improving the health of Iowa’s rivers and streams.

Clean water and recreational opportunities — including paddlesports, hunting, and fishing — are a crucial part of Iowa’s economy and quality of life. Through the AWARE cleanup event, we are working to build a community actively engaged in enjoying and maintaining Iowa’s watersheds.

A Community of Enthusiasts

In addition to the direct impact of our cleanup effort, Iowa Project AWARE is committed to providing an opportunity for all participants to learn, explore, and experience:

  • Regional history, cultures, and archaeology
  • Geology and ecology of the watershed
  • Safe and responsible approaches to paddling and enjoying waterways
  • Know-how and confidence to conduct a cleanup on their own

Our approach enables participants to join a growing community of passionate volunteers taking the lessons they’ve learned during our event to their local region. This expands the reach of our program and creates additional opportunities to support clean rivers.
See the awards and recognition we’ve received for our work.

What We’ve Accomplished

Iowa Project AWARE has amassed some impressive stats:

  • 6,223 volunteers from across the country have been part of our effort
  • 1,429 river miles have been cleaned
  • 979,480 pounds of trash have been removed
  • 81% of trash has been recycled
  • 50 additional cleanup events inspired or advised by AWARE

Our most recent effort focused on the West Fork of the Des Moines River watershed. We brought together hundreds of volunteers to clean up 61 river miles in north-central Iowa.

Explore our history.


Iowa Project AWARE is led by a volunteer board, including:

  • Maddie Berg
  • Louise Biderman
  • DeWitt Boyd
  • Tony Geerts
  • Cheryl Long, Secretary
  • Chuck Tonelli, Vice President
  • Laura Waldo-Semken, President
  • Michael Westphal, Treasurer


  • Mike Birmingham
  • Dan Ceynar
  • Ryan Ceynar
  • Rick Dietz
  • Shawn Hawks
  • Mary Hyland
  • Mel Jacobsen
  • Greg Long
  • Liz Maas
  • Tom Osborne
  • Lynette Seigley
  • Brian Soenen
  • Jeff White
  • Luke Wright
  • Seth Zimmermann

N-Compass, Inc.

The non-profit behind Iowa Project AWARE, N-Compass, Inc., was formed in order to ensure the continued success of the event and associated programs. It is an all-volunteer organization with no paid employees.. N-Compass, Inc. is an independent organization, registered with the State of Iowa as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit.

Take Action

Iowa Project AWARE relies on individuals like you to make our program a success.

Become a Sponsor