Volunteers will help launch the 16th year of Renew Our Rivers with a cleanup Feb. 21 on the Alabama River.

More than 72,000 volunteers have collected nearly 14 million pounds of trash and debris since the program’s inception in 2000.

Renew Our Rivers began with one Alabama Power employee who had a vision to improve the health and beauty of the Coosa River near Plant Gadsden where he worked. Thousands of volunteers now participate in more than 30 cleanups each year, leaving a lasting impression on the state’s watersheds.

“For more than a decade, Renew Our Rivers has been committed to bringing together community volunteers and corporate partners to clean up Alabama’s unique rivers and watersheds,” said Matt Bowden, vice president of Environmental Affairs at Alabama Power. “As we begin the 16th year of this grassroots effort, we hope to engage the next generation in stewardship of our
lakes and rivers.”

During the 15th year of Renew Our Rivers, volunteers removed more than 380,000 pounds of trash across the state. Last year also marked the first year of the Alabama Power Foundation’s “Students to Stewards” grant program. The program awarded more than $40,000 in conservation education grants to 25 schools and nonprofit organizations. Recipients will use the money for projects ranging from creating outdoor classrooms, to field studies, to conservation-related classroom materials.

The Alabama River cleanup is the first scheduled for 2015, with the final volunteer event taking place in November. Alabama Power’s stewardship team provides advice and supplies to cleanup organizers and volunteers across the state.

For an up-to-date listing of Renew Our Rivers cleanups scheduled in 2015, please visit Renew Our Rivers. Cleanup dates are subject to change.

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