KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — To help keep the 33rd annual Ijams River Rescue organized, Ijams Nature Center is looking for volunteer site captains. The one-day cleanup brings together 500-800 volunteers to remove between 10-40 tons of trash from the Tennessee River’s shorelines and its tributary creeks each year.

“This year’s goal is to tackle between 40-50 sites in Knox, Blount and Loudon counties, and that will require between 80-100 site captains,” Ijams Volunteer Coordinator Sammy Shorey said. “If you want to volunteer with a friend or family member, you can be co-captains. Everyone has fun during the cleanup because we’re all working together to make a difference. ”

A site captain’s duties will range from checking in volunteers and going over safety procedures to completing a brief cleanup report. There are one to two site captains at each location. They will also receive training prior to the event.

“In 2021, 478 volunteers safely removed more than 15 tons of garbage from 32 sites. That’s really impressive because heavy rain moving through the area caused groups to stop early or even cancel their site’s cleanup,” Shorey said. “If the weather looks bad for March 12, the cleanup will move to the following Saturday, March 19.”

The deadline to sign up to be a site captain is Jan. 20. To sign up, contact Sammy Shorey at or 865-577-4717, ext. 132, or visit The cleanup will take place on March 12 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and in February a general call for volunteers will begin.