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UT students fundraise for Ijams Nature Center

Vols for Ijams, a group of five students from the University of Tennessee, have come together to assist local 501(c)(3) nonprofit, Ijams Nature Center, in their fight against harmful invasive plants that are taking root in the local area. These students are passionate to bring a lasting change in the community of Knoxville through preservation of the city’s natural beauty.

The 315-acre land that Ijams must manage displays a variety of natural attractions that appeals to their visitors. One of the goals that Ijams values is their motive to preserve the beauty of the greater Knoxville community. Vols for Ijams can do achieve that goal by raising funds in order to purchase a brush cutter to donate to the Ijams organization. This brush cutter will clean their land by removing invasive plant species and will maintain their green space to provide a safe area for native wildlife and plant species.

The brush cutter would significantly help the overall community surrounding Ijams. At this time, the work is done by groundskeepers and volunteers. Ben Nanny, the Grounds Manager for Ijams Nature Center states, “The brush cutter is an effort for Ijams to work more efficiently. Most of the efforts when it comes to exotic control [in house] is done with a chainsaw and an herbicide applicator.” This literally requires the workers to be on their hands and knees, and it could potentially serve as a health hazard.

The members of Vols for Ijams understand the need to protect the surrounding community. They enjoy the natural beauty of the surrounding Knoxville community, therefore they strive to focus on improving nature. The coordination director of Vols for Ijams, Chris Crawford, states, “Ijams owns one of the great outdoor facilities of the Knoxville community for people of all ages to enjoy. They really do provide a way for locals to enjoy the environment that lies right in their backyard.”

Vols for Ijams is receiving donations until April 26th, 2019. Learn more about the Vols for Ijams campaign at and on Facebook at

Published April 21, 2019

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