Season 1 Finale: Chad Pregracke grew up near the Mississipi River in East Moline, Illinois. From his childhood experience and first job as a clam digger, he decided he wanted to do something about all of the trash collected in the river. At the age of 17, Chad started making calls to government agencies to notify them of the problem, assuming someone would take care of it.
But overtime, the problem only got worse. In 1997, Chad decided that if no one else was going to clean up the river, he would. In 1998 at the age of 23, Chad founded Living Lands & Waters. The crew averages nine states a year along the Mississippi, Illinois and Ohio Rivers, as well as many of their tributaries.
Most recently, Chad expanded the mission of the organization to include Student Educational Workshops, The MillionTrees Project, Adopt-a-River Mile, Invasive Species Removal and The Great Mississippi River Cleanup. He’s received an abundance of awards and honors over the years including the Jefferson Award or Public Service and he was named CNN’s hero of the year. Chad is also the author of From the Bottom Up: One Man’s Crusade to Clean America’s Rivers.
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