In the News

We’re making news! Below is some of the coverage of Iowa Project AWARE.


Project AWARE marks 20 years of cleaning Iowa’s waterways

July 12, 2023 | KCRG – Despite some rain and heavy storms this morning, volunteers zipped up their rain coats and started their third day of cleaning the Iowa River.

Volunteers cleaning up the Iowa River one piece of trash at a time

July 12, 2023 | KGAN – On Wednesday, a group of volunteers gathered in Tama County to help clean up the Iowa River.

Kudos to Iowa Project AWARE

July 7, 2023 | The Gazette – The Insight page features a lot of commentary on the sad state of Iowa’s environment and the drumbeat of bad news spawned by pollution. But today, we’re commenting on some good news.

Project AWARE will collect trash on Iowa River

July 3, 2023 | The Gazette – Iowa Project AWARE is like summer camp for adults with canoeing, camping and learning about nature. And don’t forget picking up garbage.

Project AWARE cleans Iowa River in Marshall, Tama counties

July 16, 2023 | Iowa Times Republican – Marshalltown residents might have seen an abundance of canoes on the Iowa River on Monday. They were part of Iowa Project AWARE, which stands for A Watershed Awareness River Expedition.

Local breweries team up to help clean up Iowa’s rivers

July 19, 2023 | Iowa’s News Now – Local breweries teamed up to help keep Iowa’s rivers clean this summer. Big Grove Brewery, Toppling Goliath Brewing Co., and Lua Brewing went knee-deep in Iowa rivers during the 20th annual Iowa Project A.W.A.R.E.


Project AWARE signing up volunteers for its latest floating river cleanup

March 15, 2022 | Radio Iowa – Volunteer registration opens today for this summer’s edition of Iowa Project AWARE, the 19th annual river cleanup event.

Iowa river clean-up project growing in popularity, impact

July 18, 2022 | Iowa Starting Line – Heidi Hopper held onto the canoe beside hers to brace it while her paddling partner, Amanda Losee, dragged a rusty hunk of metal toward the canoe. It was curved, almost as long as Losee, and probably came from the hood of an old car or maybe a tractor.

A day on the river with Iowa’s waterway clean-up crew

July 19, 2022 | Iowa Starting Line – Every year, volunteers from across the state and beyond work together to pull, drag, dig and carry trash out of an Iowa river chosen by the leaders of Iowa Project AWARE (A Watershed Awareness River Expedition).

Iowa Project AWARE – river clean up

March 15, 2022 | 977thebolt – Volunteer registration is now open for this summer’s edition of Iowa Project AWARE, the 19th annual river cleanup event.

Paddlers hit the water to maintain Iowa rivers and streams

July 25, 2022 | American Water Works Association Connections – An enthusiastic crew of more than 300 canoe-paddling volunteers – including Taylor Hopper, a member of the Iowa Section of the American Water Works Association – traversed along 61 miles of the West Fork of the Des Moines River in northwest Iowa earlier this month during the state’s largest annual river clean-up event, Project AWARE (A Watershed Awareness River Expedition).

Iowa Project AWARE volunteers haul 18-tons of trash from river

August 24, 2022 | WHO News Radio – An annual river-clean-up project in Iowa is releasing results from this summer’s effort.

Tire trash treasure phenomenon

July 29, 2022 | Iowa Environmental Council Guest Blog by Laura Semken – I have made a discovery. One of universal joy for an unusual subset of people. It rolls like this: find tire, extract tire, smile with tire, celebrate, go find another tire. I have a complicated relationship with tires. Apparently, I am not the only one.


Iowa Project AWARE remains dedicated to cleaning up waterways

July 16, 2021 | WHO13 Des Moines – Despite our efforts to contain it, garbage pollution remains a huge problem in Iowa. That’s why a group is dedicated to cleaning up Iowa’s waterways.

Iowa Project AWARE brings Raccoon’s sunken junk to mind

July 14, 2021 | The Perry News – The 18th annual flotilla of Iowa Project AWARE (A Watershed Awareness River Expedition) arrived in Perry in the early afternoon Wednesday, landing at the Perry access to the North Raccoon River with canoes laden from a day spent cleaning trash out of the river.

Meet the volunteers cleaning Iowa’s rivers, one plastic bottle at a time

July 15, 2021 | Iowa Starting Line – Thousands of miles of water run through Iowa, and every year an outpouring of hundreds of volunteers fan out to take care of them.

Project AWARE recovers odd items from Raccoon River

July 18, 2021 | Raccoon Valley Radio – An annual river cleanup and educational effort was recently completed on the Raccoon River, which included Greene County.

Hundreds of volunteers remove river trash during low water conditions in Raccoon rivers

August 20, 2021 | State Hygienic Laboratory – After a one-year pause, nearly 320 volunteers were able to remove this much trash from almost 50 miles of river between Jefferson and Perry and from Redfield to Van Meter, Iowa.

Water Dreams

Autumn 2021 | Raccoon River Greenbelt Newsletter – Several times in past newsletter articles I have shared with you that one of the central tenants of Dallas County Conservation Board’s (DCCB) Environmental Education program is Environmental Optimism. With a nod to Martin Luther King Jr., we want to operate from a stance of “I have a Dream,” not “I have a Problem.”


Sparking Creative Solutions to Water Quality Challenges

July 16, 2019 | IOWA PUBLIC RADIO – Water quality is one of the greatest environmental challenges in the state of Iowa. There are many sources of pollution and finding and implementing solutions is complicated. Jim Pease, Emeritus Associate Professor of Natural Resource Ecology and Management at Iowa State University, developed an exercise designed to spark problem-solving creativity when it comes to water quality.

State’s Largest River Cleanup Adventure Set for July

June 5, 2019 | PRESS RELEASE – It’s not every day hundreds of strangers converge on a river to pick up trash.

Boone River to Host River Cleanup Expedition

March 14, 2019 | THE BOONE RIVER REVIEW – The Boone River in north-central Iowa will be a lot lighter, and arguably prettier, in just a few short months.

Lake Delhi Trustees Donate $15,000 to Project AWARE

February 28, 2019 | KMCH MIX 94.7 BLOG – The Lake Delhi Trustees have given back to an organization that helped them in a big way last summer.

Boone River to be focus of Project AWARE

February 4, 2019 | RADIO IOWA – It’s still cold and snowy but organizers of the Iowa Project AWARE campaign are thinking ahead to the steamy days of summer and they’re asking volunteers to mark off their calendars.

Iowa Project AWARE is cleaning up the state’s rivers, mile by mile: BTN LiveBIG

January 18, 2019 | BTN LiveBIG – Catfish? Bluegill? Crappie? Nah, the volunteers of Iowa Project AWARE are traversing the state’s waterways in search of a different quarry.


How the University of Iowa is helping clean up riverways, mile by mile

October 23, 2018 | BTN LiveBIG – With help from the Hawkeyes, Project AWARE volunteers are paddling down Iowa rivers, pulling out tons of garbage and creating a community of watershed awareness and stewardship that makes for a happier, healthier environment.

21 Tons of Trash Picked Up During Project AWARE River Clean-up

September 12, 2018 | KMCH MIX 94.7 BLOG – The final numbers are in for this summer’s Project AWARE clean-up along the Maquoketa River.

No Shortage of Trash, Volunteers, & “Thank You’s” on River Cleanup

September 10, 2018 | The Maquoketa River in east-central Iowa is now 21 tons of trash lighter, thanks to the efforts of 397 volunteers.

Project AWARE releases statistics for 2018

September 10, 2018 | KCRG-TV9 – This year the annual project that began in 2003 traveled 63 miles on the river and had 397 participants to take on the river in Delaware, Jones, and Jackson counties.

Project AWARE 2018: 14 Tons of Recycled Fun!

August 18, 2018 | FOX ENGINEERING – What began as a one-time AWWA volunteer activity has turned into an annual outing with family and friends.

Over 20 Tons of Trash Removed From Maquoketa River During Annual Cleanup

August 10, 2018 | WAVERLY NEWSPAPERS – Flint Hills Resources employees, their family members and friends recently joined over 300 other volunteers from across Iowa and the Midwest to paddle the Maquoketa River picking up trash and helping protect and restore Iowa’s water resources.

Project AWARE brings people together for river clean-up

August 7, 2018 | THE MONTICELLO EXPRESS – A six-day canoe trip down the Maquoketa River from Manchester to Canton is not so much a recreational trip, but a statewide service project.

A fulfilling day on Maquoketa River

August 3, 2018 | THE GAZETTE – The Nature Call: But author is sidelined with poison ivy during Iowa A.W.A.R.E.

Project AWARE: an Inspiring River Cleanup that Changes Lives

August 2, 2018 | IOWA RAPTOR PROJECT BLOG – For a week in July, myself, and our Assistant Director—Laura, went on a river-cleaning trip with Project AWARE, or A Watershed Awareness River Expedition designed to bring folks together in a community for a week each summer to canoe (or kayak) a segment of one of Iowa’s rivers to clean up trash out of the river…

Project AWARE wraps up river cleanup, volunteers find car on the final day

July 16, 2018 | KCRG-TV9 – When Project Aware started in Iowa in 2003, it was described as a small group of 25 to 30 people doing what they can to clean up the local rivers.

Volunteers pull thousands of pounds of garbage from Maquoketa River

July 16, 2018 | RADIO IOWA – A 63-mile long stretch of the Maquoketa River is a lot cleaner thanks to an annual effort known as Project AWARE.

Project AWARE volunteers begin river clean up in Manchester

July 11, 2018 | MANCHESTER PRESS – Over 200 volunteers took to the river to clean a 22-mile stretch of the Maquoketa River July 9-13.

Boat motors, carpet among the tons of trash pulled from Maquoketa River

July 10, 2018 | KWWL – Boat motors, carpets, and an endless amount of scrap metal, that’s what nearly 270 volunteers spent their day cleaning out of the Maquoketa River. These volunteers are with Iowa Project AWARE, A Watershed Awareness River Expedition.

State’s largest river cleanup to begin July 8

June 29, 2018 | LAB LINK (STATE HYGIENIC LABORATORY AT THE UNIVERSITY OF IOWA) -It’s not every day that hundreds of strangers from across the country converge on one stretch of river with a simple, yet shared, goal of picking up garbage.

Project AWARE plans for July river cleanup

June 13, 2018 | THE MONTICELLO EXPRESS – It’s not every day that hundreds of strangers from across the country converge on one stretch of river with a simple, yet shared goal of picking up garbage.

Project AWARE Volunteers to Clean Up Maquoketa River

June 13, 2018 | KMCH MIX 94.7 BLOG – A group of volunteers will be coming to Manchester next month to help clean up the river.

Reminder: Project AWARE Early bird prices end May 1

April 25, 2018 | MANCHESTER PRESS – Paddlers who wish to participate in the Project AWARE river clean-up effort have until May 1 to get early bird registration pricing.

Reminder: Project AWARE Early bird prices end May 1

April 25, 2018 | CASCADE PIONEER – Reminder: Project AWARE Early bird price end May 1.

Project Aware returns to Maquoketa River

April 4, 2018 | MANCHESTER PRESS – Fifteen years ago, three dozen volunteers set out to pick up trash from the Maquoketa River and, in doing so, sparked a river cleanup movement that became a nationally recognized leader in environmental education and stewardship efforts.

River cleanup returns to its roots

April 3, 2018 | CLINTON HERALD – A decade and a half ago during a drizzly first week of June, three dozen volunteers embarked on a first-of-its-kind river cleanup and outdoor education adventure.

Project AWARE river cleanup returns to its roots

March 29, 2018 | STATE HYGIENIC LABORATORY AT THE UNIVERSITY OF IOWA – During a drizzly first week of June, 15 years ago, three dozen volunteers embarked on a first-of-its-kind river cleanup and outdoor education adventure.

Maquoketa River Cleanup Project AWARE – June 8-13, 2018

March 19, 2018 | LAKE DELHI – A decade and a half ago during a drizzly first week of June, three dozen volunteers embarked on a first-of- its-kind river cleanup and outdoor education adventure.