The “River Rascals” program connects youth with rivers so they can begin to value, respect, and enjoy rivers and the outdoors.
Since 2009, IRR has been partnering with the Children and Families Urban Movement to offer “River Rascals” and has since reached over 70 Des Moines-area children living under the stresses of poverty. The three-day program provides a hands-on river program with instruction about watersheds, river biology, river values, water quality issues, paddling skills, water safety, river etiquette, and river recreational opportunities.
The information and experiences the “Rascals” gain by the end of the program leave them empowered and confident in understanding and appreciating the benefits of rivers and our natural resources – an introduction and connection that will last a lifetime.
This model program pioneered by IRR, with the leadership of Robin Fortney, IRR board member, can be offered to other communities interested in bringing a comprehensive river course to Iowa youth.
In addition to the hundreds of volunteer hours and a passionate dedicated leader (Robin Fortney, IRR board member), the following partners have provided program funds and in-kind contributions to support the River Rascals program:
Bass Pro Shops (Altoona location)
Greg and Jenn Dreier Family
Hy-Vee (MLK location)
Iowa DNR Rivers Program
Iowa DNR IOWATER
Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation
Johnson County Conservation
Madison County Conservation
Polk County Conservation
Principal Foundation Group Foundation
Staples (Altoona location)
Target (Altoona location)