Monday, April 20, 2009

Earth Day speaker to focus on cleaning nation's rivers

The University of Illinois at Springfield will be celebrating Earth Day on Tuesday, April 21, with a presentation by Chad Pregracke called “Making a Difference in the World: My Journey to Clean America’s Rivers.” The program will be held at 7 p.m. in Brookens Auditorium, located on the lower level of Brookens Library on the UIS campus. It is free and open to the public.

Pregracke is the founder and president of Living Lands & Waters, a not-for-profit environmental organization based in East Moline, Ill. The organization has involved tens of thousands of volunteers with community-based river cleanups, Riverbottom Restoration Projects, Adopt-a-River Mile Program and Big River Educational Workshops.

Pregracke has been the recipient of more than 40 national awards for his service and is the author of From the Bottom Up: One Man’s Crusade to Clean America’s Rivers, which chronicles his journey to clean up America’s rivers one tire at a time.

During Pregracke’s Earth Day program at UIS, he will discuss his experiences growing up on the Mississippi River and how it led to his unique vision to clean up the Mississippi River, from underwater shell-diving to open-air community clean-ups.

Sponsors of the event include the ECCE (Engaged Citizenship Common Experience) Speaker Series and Office of the Provost. Co-sponsors are Students Allied for a Greener Earth (SAGE), College of Public Affairs and Administration, Department of Environmental Studies and the Senate Committee on Sustainability.

For more information, contact Tih-Fen Ting, professor of environmental studies, at 217/206-7876 or