Resources for Educators & Youth Groups

Are you an educator, youth group leader, or parent wanting to bring your children and their friends to engage with the Big Muddy? Then you should bring your group to a Missouri River Clean-Up!

Here are all the resources and information you need to bring your students or children to a Saturday Missouri River Clean-Up. We even have resources you can download to help generate student interest in attending!

Thinking about taking your students or youth group to a Missouri River Clean-Up with Missouri River Relief? We’d love to have them! Reach out to us several weeks in advance and let us know you’re interested in bringing a class or group to a Saturday Missouri River Clean-Up, and we’ll take it from there! 

I am a parent or guardian who wants to bring my child's friend, is that okay?

Of course, and it is encouraged! Just make sure to download and print the minor risk release form and have the child's parent or guardian sign this before the clean-up. Make sure to bring the completed form to the river clean-up on Saturday! If you need, we can mail you a form for you to get signed prior to the clean-up. Just contact and we would be more than happy to help you out!

How far in advance should you contact us for groups?

To give our staff adequate time to prepare for your group, let us know you’re interested in bringing a student or youth group as soon as possible. We’d prefer to be notified about a month before the Missouri River Clean-Up. With that much lead-time, we can strategize how to best utilize your people power, and we’re more likely to have enough space at the Missouri River Clean-Up to accommodate your entire group! You can always check how much space we have left by checking our sign-up webpage.

To begin the registration process, reach out to our Operations Manager, Kevin Tosie at or by phone at (573) 443-0292.

What is the appropriate group size to bring?

To provide enough space for all parties interested in joining a Missouri River Clean-Up, we ask that you limit the number of attendees from school groups to less than 25 individuals, including chaperones and students. If you’re interested in including more students, an education program might be a better-suited experience. If that is the case, check out our education page to learn more!

How many adults should be in attendance?

To ensure the safety of all students in attendance, we encourage other adults to join. Please plan the number of chaperones in accordance with the number of students you’re bringing. We recommend 1 adult for every 4 students.

Who needs to sign a risk-release form?

Any minor without a parent or guardian present will need to bring a Missouri River Relief Student Risk-Release & Media Consent Form signed by a parent/guardian before coming to the Missouri River Clean-up. Please download the forms from our website and disperse them to your students. Teachers and chaperones will have to fill out an Missouri River Relief Adult Risk-Release Form which can be done that morning.

How long is a typical Missouri River Clean-up?

A Missouri River clean-up usually lasts about 4-5 hours. Since a handful of those hours are spent doing physical activity, let students know to bring snacks and extra water to tide them over until lunch.

What does a typical Missouri River Clean-up look like?

Here is a general outline of a Missouri River Relief Clean-Up (Please note the schedule may vary depending on the location):

8:30 AM: Participants arrive and turn in their risk-release forms and receive a t-shirt, gloves and a reusable water bottle. 

8:35 AM: Participants attend orientation, listen to a safety talk, and get fitted for lifejackets. 

9:00 AM: The clean-up begins! Attendees will board boats piloted by our experienced captains and will be ferried to pre-scouted trash sites to gather trash for later disposal. 

11:30 AM - 12:00 PM: The same boat that dropped you off will return to take you back to the boat ramp for lunch. Everyone will get to celebrate the day’s work with a well-deserved free hot lunch!

12:30 PM:  Our lively trash contest starts! All clean-up attendees will vote on the best finds of the day.

1:00 PM: The Missouri River Clean-Up wraps up and participants depart. 

How will you get your group to the Missouri River Clean-up location?

We encourage you to coordinate carpooling to the Missouri River Clean-up location with students and chaperones beforehand. Missouri River Relief will not be able to provide transportation for you and your students. Directions are given on the clean-up webpage, but let us know if you need any further assistance in finding the Missouri River Clean-up location.  

How should you prepare your students?

To best prepare your students for a Missouri River Clean-Up, please communicate the following to them:

  • Dress in layers for changing weather conditions. 
  • Wear work-appropriate clothing. 
  • Long pants are strongly recommended as weeds and poison ivy can be thick. 
  • Sturdy shoes or boots are required; no sandals or open-toed shoes are allowed on boats
  • Bring sunscreen, bug spray, and snacks to tide them over until lunch. 

What can you expect?

All volunteers will receive a free Big Muddy boat ride, a cool t-shirt, trash bags, a lifejacket, gloves, and a reusable water bottle. A hot lunch will be served around noon. Vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free options will be available for those with dietary restrictions. Please include dietary requests in your online registration so we make sure to order plenty. We'll also have a fun trash treasures contest, a favorite for students and the young at heart. Be sure to hang on to those strange or interesting trash treasures you find!

How can you get students interested in attending a Missouri River Clean-up?

Feel free to download the resources from our website to help generate student interest in attending our clean-up. We have a PowerPoint Slideshow that is brimming with photos and information on Missouri River clean-ups! It’s a great tool to use to show a more in-depth look at what a Missouri River clean-up entails, as well as how to best prepare for one. Another resource to utilize is our Missouri River clean-up poster, which you can download and hang around the classroom to help with student recruitment!

Please note due to the size of the PowerPoint file, the hyperlink is linked to a Google Slides presentation. If you're having trouble viewing the slides, please let us know and we can send the file directly to you!

Why volunteer with Missouri River Relief?

Missouri River Relief is a non-profit organization dedicated to connecting people to the Missouri River through river clean-ups, education programs and recreation events. As a non-profit, our organization is powered by dedicated community members who help us carry out our mission. Since our founding in 2001, with help from over 26,000 volunteers, we have been able to remove over 920 tons of trash from the Missouri River, and we are not slowing down anytime soon! We’re continuously looking for volunteers to help us clean up the Big Muddy! 

Thank you for your interest in bringing your students to experience the Missouri River! Participating in a Missouri River clean-up can have lasting effects on students, as they are able to help protect the natural world and see first-hand the effects of improperly and illegally dumped trash. They also have the chance to connect with the Missouri River in a way they most likely wouldn’t - from a boat with Missouri River Relief! 

Space is limited and Missouri River clean-up events tend to fill up quickly. Be sure to reach out to us about bringing your group as soon as possible. 

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This website is created and maintained by Missouri River Relief, P.O. Box 463, Columbia, MO 65205
MRR is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization. Federal Tax ID (EIN) 03-0425187
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