Image Source: https://www.keeptnriverbeautiful.org/
Keep the Tennessee River Beautiful (KTNRB) partnered with Johnsonville State Historic Park in a three-part river cleanup series last weekend at which 25 volunteers helped to remove a whopping 9,208 lbs. of trash from the Tennessee River.
Volunteers hopped in KTNRB’s 25-foot aluminum work boat launching from Pebble Isle Marina to go clean nearby shorelines at cleanups over the course of three days.
“The really exciting thing about the cleanups in this new area of focus for our organization is that you see momentum building with our partners and volunteers from the time we held a cleanup in October to this past weekend,” said Kathleen Gibi, KTNRB Executive Director.
Gibi said the volunteer turnout for the public cleanup more than tripled this time around compared to their October visit, and that three river miles were adopted by volunteers who wanted to keep up the work on their own after this weekend.
“That’s how the change for our river will happen: through local partners and individuals who are eager about taking ownership to protect and improve their beautiful river community,” said Gibi. “It’s been truly inspiring for us to see these change makers take action—especially with the local leadership from Johnsonville State Historic Park.”
The cleanup series took place over the course of three days:
· Friday, Jan. 8 – River Cleanup with Chemours company staff 2,011 lbs.
· Saturday, Jan. 9 – River Cleanup open to the public 5,378 lbs.
· Sunday, Jan. 10 – River Cleanup with Humphreys County 4H Club 1,819 lbs.
When KTNRB hosted a cleanup partnered with the state park in October, they partnered with the national nonprofit Living Lands & Waters who brought along their five 30-foot work boats for transporting volunteers and the litter they collected. At that cleanup, volunteers removed 4,811 lbs. of trash. Combined with the January cleanups, that’s a grand total of 14,019 lbs. of trash removed from four cleanups held at the same area within a four-month span.
“On the banks of the Tennessee River, agriculture, industrial growth, fishing, Civil War battles, and much more have shaped the culture of Humphreys County,” said Ranger Noah Sinz of Johnsonville State Historic Park. “Cleanup projects like this past weekend help us to preserve those cultural resources, as well as the natural resource of the Tennessee River for many years to come.
We are so thankful for Keep the Tennessee River Beautiful, the local community partners, as well as the public volunteers who took time to make a difference and remove this amazing amount of litter from our banks of the Kentucky Lake Reservoir. We hope that these numbers help to show just how much waste ends up in our waterways, and with that, open eyes to how we can prevent it from continuing in the future.”
Ranger Sinz was instrumental in the local organizing efforts leading up to the cleanup weekend, pulling together local partners who made the cleanup series possible.
Humphreys County Sanitation donated a large, 30-yard roll off dumpster that Pebble Isle Marina allowed to be staged in their parking lot. By the end of the cleanup series, the dumpster was completely full.
KTNRB is in talks with Ranger Sinz about another potential cleanup weekend this April. Follow KTNRB on social media or visit www.KeepTNRIverBeautiful.org/upcomingcleanups to learn about upcoming cleanup dates.
In the meantime, individuals, organizations, and companies can officially adopt a Tennessee River mile by visiting www.KeepTNRiverBeautiful.org/adopt. Participants in the free program receive cleaning supplies, KTNRB swag, and a sign with their name declaring their river mile adoption.