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River Clean-Up Nets 2.5 Tons of Trash

Posted on October 15th, 2013
Twenty-one IIHR students and staff volunteered to help clean up the Iowa River.

Twenty-one IIHR students and staff volunteered to help clean up the Iowa River.

More Iowa River Clean-Up Photos

If it could, the Iowa River would likely be heaving a big sigh of relief right now. Thanks to the efforts of 77 volunteers on Saturday, Oct. 12, the river is now free of about 2.5 tons of trash, including a riding lawnmower, numerous bicycles, tires, and more.

The effort was a collaborative effort that brought together University of Iowa students, staff, and other volunteers to pick up refuse in and along the Iowa River as it flows through Iowa City. Several organizations cooperated to organize the clean-up effort, including the City of Iowa City, the UI Engineering Staff Advisory Council (ESAC), UI Facilities Management, and the UI Office of Sustainability. Many students from campus Greek organizations also took part. The volunteers collected trash from Park Road to Sturgis Ferry.

A perfect fall day made picking up trash a lot more pleasant.

A perfect fall day made picking up trash a lot more pleasant.

Jon Durst, president of ESAC and an IIHR—Hydroscience & Engineering staff member, says the project is part of his organization’s continuing commitment to community service. “As members of the university community and especially as staff of the College of Engineering, we feel a special attachment to the river and the environment we work in every day. We’re glad to have this opportunity to help make things a little better.”

Dan Ceynar, an IIHR engineer, is a veteran of many river clean-ups. He took out his own canoe to be able to pull larger items out of the river itself. Ceynar is known for his ability to balance huge pyramids of trash on a canoe. Once you get started with clean-up efforts like this one, he says, something happens. “It gets in your blood.” He takes part in numerous events every year.

UI staff and students were joined by community members in this volunteer effort.

UI staff and students were joined by community members in this volunteer effort.

“If we’re lucky, we all find a passion in this life,” Ceynar says. His passion, shared by many others, is making Iowa’s rivers a little cleaner, one tire, one bicycle, one refrigerator at a time.

IIHR graduate student Nick Thomas.

IIHR graduate student Nick Thomas.

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