The Partnership of the Illinois River Watershed is a large and diverse group of people.  It goes far beyond it’s staff, board, benefactors and even the citizens who contribute to an annual membership.  It is a group with at least one thing in common — a passion for protecting and improving our rivers, lakes and streams.

And, as was demonstrated this past weekend, that is a broad group indeed, with more than 200 people coming out to dig holes, plant over 4,000 tree seedlings, and clean stream banks!

Over 200 Riparian Volunteers

Our 7th Annual Riparian Project took place over six locations in Northwest Arkansas this past week:  Gentry, Siloam Springs, Bentonville, Rogers, Springdale and Prairie Grove.

 

Some of the Partners of the Illinois River Watershed include the city councils of Rogers and Springdale who issued Arbor Day proclamations and Mayors Hines and Sprouse who read the proclamations to the crowds who had gathered in support.

Mayor Sprouse

Mayor Sprouse reading Arbor Day Proclamation at Springdale Riparian site

 

The Partnership includes organizations such as the Benton County Planning Department, Parks and Recreation Departments, Prairie Grove Middle School EAST, University of Arkansas, John Brown University, local 4-H Club and Cub Scout packs, who supported the Riparian Project with many volunteers.

Gentry City Park

Gentry City Park preparations for Flint Creek Power Plant Tree Farm

 

And our Partners are made up of individuals who are college students, high school students, elementary students, Master Naturalists, involved neighbors, concerned conservationists and friends who logged on and shared, liked, pinned and tweeted in an effort to spread their common passion.

 

Riparian planting

Volunteers along creek in Rogers 

 

This Partnership spans a broad range of ages and occupations across a large geographical area that is bound together by a love of our water resources and the goal of improving the Illinois River Watershed.

 

Swamp White Oak Tree

Swamp White Oak seedling planted in Prairie Grove

 

More than 4,ooo trees were planted this year by this collective Partnership.  4,000 trees that will guard our land against erosion, filter storm water runoff before it reaches our streams, and provide habitats for beneficial plants and animals.

 

Lucas, a young volunteer

Lucas, a young steward and Riparian volunteer

 

These trees may be seedlings that will take years to reach maturity.  But they represent the hope and the promise for generations to come.

Our heartfelt thanks to all of our Partners who share the love for our incredibly beautiful watershed and who take action to protect it!