Keep the Tennessee River Beautiful will soon launch a month-long tour of weekend cleanups and awards ceremonies in Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, and Kentucky in celebration of October being declared Keep the Tennessee River Beautiful Month. The cleanup in Chattanooga will be Oct. 5 at 9 a.m. supporting the Tennessee River Rescue.
“We’re excited to get out with our new boat and generate awareness for the Tennessee River, which is arguably the most intrinsic foundation block to our region’s basic life source, our thriving economy, and our very culture,” said Kathleen Gibi, KTNRB executive director.
The new, KTNRB boat is a 25-foot-long aluminum john boat, and will debut with public cleanups on this tour, taking volunteers out to do river cleanups and invasive plant pulls near public park shorelines.
Living Lands & Waters, a national nonprofit that cleans North American rivers, will assist with two cleanups in East Tennessee on Sept. 28-29, supplementing the cleanups with five 30-foot-long john boats, opening the opportunity for 75 volunteers to head out on the river.
Ms. Gibi said that it was the Tennessee Valley Authority who challenged KTNRB to celebrate an awareness month for the Tennessee River. The awareness month was launched in the state of Tennessee in 2018 and has now expanded into a four-state awareness campaign this year. A governor’s proclamation will be presented in each state declaring the month for the Tennessee River.
“The momentum we’ve seen spread throughout the Tennessee River Valley in KTNRB’s three year existence is indicative of how much people care for and want to protect our river,” said Kyle Howard, KTNRB Board President who also works at Keep Tennessee Beautiful. “We’re just happy that Keep the Tennessee River Beautiful is able to facilitate events and resources that are inspiring so many people to take action.”
TVA and Keep Tennessee Beautiful were the founding partners who initiated the formation of KTNRB as a nonprofit that would rally support for the 652-mile Tennessee River. To date, KTNRB has rallied more than 1,000 volunteers to remove over 70,000 pounds of trash from the Tennessee River and its tributaries.
As KTNRB month is celebrated in different states, Keep Tennessee Beautiful, Keep Alabama Beautiful, Keep Mississippi Beautiful, and the Land Between the Lakes have served as acting co-organizers. Local nonprofits such as Keep Knoxville Beautiful, Keep Guntersville Beautiful, My Lake Guntersville, and Friends of Land Between the Lakes are also supporting partners.
Additionally, the cleanups in Knoxville and Lenoir City are largely funded through a Tennessee Department of Transportation Special Litter Grant. In the grant, litter was collected and analyzed from the same sites in 2018 and will be compared to litter collected this year.
Coupled with the river cleanups during ‘Keep the Tennessee River Beautiful Month will be the 1st annual Ripple Effect Awards presented by Yamaha Rightwaters. Judges from national-level organizations and companies have been enlisted to select from nominated hard-working champions for the Tennessee River to be recognized in three separate state ceremonies.
Volunteers may register for any cleanup at www.KeepTNRiverBeautiful.org/upcomingcleanups.
Keep the Tennessee River Beautiful is the first Keep America Beautiful affiliate in the nation to focus solely on a river. They aim to rally communities along the river to preserve, improve and protect the river for generations to come.