BACT hosted speaker, Chad Pregracke, at the 2016 Annual Gathering on Tuesday, April 26 in the ballroom at Barrington’s White House.
Chad was a perfect fit for the gathering, whose theme was water and the connectedness we all share through our waterways, as his story mirrors the journey BACT has begun with the high school students in our area. Chad recognized the impact of the BACT Conservation@School program with Barrington High School as an integral way to educate the students on the health of our local streams and inspire students to become more aware and active in local conservation efforts. As students are being introduced to the life teeming inside Flint Creek on the BHS campus, the effects of the creek on our local watershed, and sharing in clean-up efforts in and along the creek, an environmental ethic is being cultivated in these students.
Chad Pregracke, President and Founder of Living Lands & Waters (LL&W) and 2013 CNN Hero of the Year, led a room full of BACT guests on his personal journey full of challenges and adventures which started as a young adult living on a garbage filled Mississippi River to his current and ongoing efforts to clean this and other rivers’ trash. Chad’s enthusiasm and perseverance was infectious as he recounted, through a captivating, genuine, and oftentimes humorous presentation, his experiences growing up on the banks of the Mississippi River and the formation of his non-profit river cleanup organization, LL&W.
Chad was quick to give credit of the success of the non-profit’s clean-up efforts to the over 94,000 volunteers who have helped him since 1998, as well as individuals and corporations that have donated supplies he has used. The perseverance and his ongoing passion to make a difference in the health of local waterways is commendable. He overcame obstacles that made him at times question the value of his work. Ultimately, he came to realize that even if his efforts have a seemingly small impact when looking at our country and even the world, it is still worth it. To start somewhere and keep on going does make a difference. One person’s passion can quickly spread and create a passion in others that will continue to have an impact. He challenged the audience to support the efforts of groups such as BACT which, in essence, supports his efforts as well. We are truly all connected.
If you were unable to attend the evening with Chad, his book, From the Bottom Up: One Man’s Crusade to Clean America’s Rivers, is available to purchase on his website. LL&W has broadened its mission to include Adopt-A-River Mile Project and The Million Trees Project.
One attendee of the gathering stated, “He (Chad) is certainly an inspiration and a role model for all the people who would like to make a difference in this world. I might add he was the perfect choice for the event.”