This year marks the 40th anniversary of National Volunteer Week and we are celebrating with a number of events where volunteers of all ages can participate to preserve, protect, and restore our Watershed.

Established in 1974, the ideals of National Volunteer Week which are about “inspiring, recognizing and encouraging people to seek out imaginative ways to engage in their communities” is at the heart of the work of the Illinois River Watershed Partnership.  Voluntary efforts are the strongest, most enduring actions that can be taken by diverse stakeholders that demonstrate by working together, we can meet the unique environmental, economic, and social challenges within our Watershed.


Opportunities abound to those who want to join the effort to preserve our watershed:


This week on Tuesday, we opened bids for construction to install a significant Green Infrastructure project along the Razorback Greenway at the Mercy Trailhead in Rogers. This trailhead will be 1 of 5 that will incorporate Green Infrastructure features in our major cities in the Watershed from Bentonville, Rogers, Springdale, Johnson and Fayetteville.  Our Clean Water Raingers program, with Captain Marshall Mitchell, will participate for the 3rd year at the Cherokee Nation Environmental Festival in Tahlequah, Oklahoma.



Walmart interns volunteering with Becky

Walmart Interns volunteer to install a Rain Garden

A sixth Rain Garden Academy will be held on Friday, April 11, which will include the installation of five rain gardens in Huntsville as part of an Arkansas Natural Resources Commission and EPA Grant to educate over 300 persons and install 60 rain gardens in the Illinois River and Beaver Lake Watersheds.  More information on how to register and where rain gardens will be installed this Friday is on our Facebook page and website.



Rex and cement mixer

Rex Barrett and Becky Christenson work to install a cave experience in the Watershed Learning Center

Saturday, April 12, is a workday at the Watershed Sanctuary from 9 am to 1 pm and Walmart Information Systems Division volunteers are coming to help clear trails outside at the Sanctuary and to help paint classrooms in the new Learning Center.  We are working to prepare for over 600 kids that are scheduled to visit the Sanctuary in May from Rogers, Lowell, Centerton, Springdale, and Prairie Grove.   Work continues on renovation of the new Learning Center that will provide visitors of all ages with a number of interactive experiences unique to the Watershed and the Sanctuary.



Fisher Ford planting area

Fisher Ford Whitewater Park planting area

More IRWP volunteer opportunities are coming up on Saturdays April 19 and May 3 at the Fisher Ford Whitewater Park just five miles south of Siloam Springs at the junction of Fisher Ford Road and the Illinois River.  Volunteers from the IRWP, Siloam Springs Kiwanis Club, and the High School Key Club will help plant over 250 trees, 330 native shrubs and two large rain gardens at the site on the Illinois River.


All these collaborative projects by IRWP volunteers are wonderful examples of what National Volunteer Week is all about — taking positive action and demonstrating our collective power to make a difference where we live.

Volunteers at IRWP activities


The IRWP Team wishes to thank the many individual volunteers, groups, and sponsors for their many contributions in working together to improve, preserve and protect the Illinois River Watershed!


Related Posts:

Coming Together for Good

Partners with a Passion

Making it Count

Grateful for the Beauty of Generous Hearts and Hands