The National Achievement Award is the highest honor presented by the National Rivers Hall of Fame to those people who are making significant contributions to America’s waterways. The National Rivers Hall of Fame with members in 36 states is the only national museum telling the stories of the people of America’s rivers.
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Honored in 2014
Pregracke founded Living Lands & Waters (LL&W) in 1997. In the past 15 years, through his passion and commitment, he has inspired thousands of volunteers living in river communities to join him and his crew in clearing trash, removing invasive species, and planting native trees along the river. He and the crew have educated thousands of teachers in understanding how to use the river as a teaching tool.
Chad has made it his life’s work to promote the importance of the nation’s waterways and to help protect and preserve them, particularly the Mississippi River. He is a “River Pied Piper,” showing community members the amazing feeling one gets when hands-on involved on the river.
While Chad and LL&W will be known best for the garbage barge, Chad’s efforts to promote river stewardship go well beyond that, as he has directed the organization to more widely embrace its mission to help restore the country’s vital Mississippi River watershed. He helped created an education effort that is expanding; the MillionTrees project will help reforest the river way; and there is, no doubt, more to come. The numbers of volunteers, hours, tons of garbage, education sessions and trees planted does not begin to explain the impact Chad has had on the nation’s rivers. Chad has chosen to spend his life telling people about his passion for the river and getting them onboard. It is Chad’s way of serving the country.