by Robert Barossi
Sitting here in the middle of a blizzard, it’s nice to think of a warm day in spring, walking along the banks of a river, watching the tranquil current as it makes its way downstream. Maybe it’s the Tennessee River, a 650 mile-long river in the southeast United States that makes up the largest tributary of the Ohio River. If I happen to be sitting on the shore of the Tennessee this spring, I might also see a barge float by, a barge that also happens to be a floating classroom. This traveling classroom will be teaching lessons about conservation and cleaning up the river as it makes its way from Knoxville, Tennessee to Paducah, Kentucky, over twenty-two days. It’s all part of a program spearheaded by the organization Living Lands and Waters. According to the organization’s website, the “Tennessee River Tour” will be “partnering with cities, government agencies and other conservation groups to host educational workshops, river cleanups, tree plantings and other conservation activities.” This unique program gives volunteers in a number of locations a chance to participate in environmentally beneficial programs while seeing firsthand just how much debris is in the river, since the trash pulled out during cleanups will be collected and carried on the barge. Providing that kind of visual evidence of what’s polluting our waterways is a great idea and one which would be helpful in many of our important rivers.
If you have enjoyed the stories on this blog, check out my book, Being Where You Are: How Environmental Volunteers Impact Their Community and the Planet Every Day.