What: Kickoff for Tennessee River Tour river cleanup

When: 1:30 p.m. Thursday, April 9

Where: Volunteer Landing Park (next to Calhoun’s), Neyland Drive

Who: Mayor Madeline Rogero and representatives from TVA, Keep Tennessee Beautiful and Ijams Nature Center will welcome Living Lands & Waters founder and president Chad Pregracke and his team to Knoxville for the kickoff of the Tennessee River Tour.

Knoxville, Tenn The Tennessee River Tour, a collaborative cleanup of the Tennessee River in eight cities within three states, is led by 2013 CNN “Hero of the Year” Pregracke and his organization. In Knoxville, it is working collaboratively with Ijams Nature Center’s 26th annual River Rescue of the Tennessee River on Saturday, April 11. The community-wide annual event covers 30 different cleanup sites and averages around 1,000 volunteers on Knoxville’s river and creek tributaries.

The Living Lands and Waters barge will be docked at Volunteer Landing from April 9-15, and will collect and display all of the trash that is removed from Knoxville’s waterways during the River Rescue. For more information, please visit www.tennesseerivertour.org.

The Tennessee River Tour’s primary sponsors are the Tennessee Valley Authority, Keep Tennessee Beautiful, Tennessee Valley Towing and Southern Shores. Knoxville’s portion of the tour is being organized by a committee of representatives from the City of Knoxville, Ijams Nature Center, Legacy Parks Foundation, TVA, Keep Knoxville Beautiful, Keep Blount Beautiful, the University of Tennessee, Knox County Stormwater, the Tennessee Izaak Walton League, and the Water Quality Forum.

In addition to assisting with the River Rescue event, Living Lands and Waters will make a push for water quality education with daily high school field trips to its “floating classroom” on the barge. Five tree planting days have been organized in various parts of town along the waterways to improve the river and creek banks with the planting of 500 trees at each site. There will also be several events held to benefit and raise awareness of local nonprofits that already work regularly in Knoxville to improve our waterways.