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2013 CNN Hero of the Year Chad Pregracke to Speak at the Harvest House in Boone on Monday, April 14

April 8, 2014. Chad Pregracke, CNN’s 2013 Hero of the Year, will speak at the Harvest House Performing Arts Venue in Boone on Monday, April 14 at 7 p.m. The free event is presented by Watauga River Partners, Mountain Keepers and Western North Carolina Alliance. 

Pregracke’s 45-minute talk will focus on his life’s work of cleaning garbage out of the Mississippi River and other waterways with his nonprofit Living Lands & Waters. Pregracke will follow the talk with a signing for his book, “From the Bottom Up: One Man’s Crusade to Clean America’s Rivers.”

The Harvest House Performing Arts Center is located at 247 Boone Heights Dr. in Boone. 

About Chad Pregracke

Pregracke was recognized by CNN last year as their Hero of the Year for his expansive efforts to clean the Mississippi River and other U.S. waterways. Through his nonprofit Living Lands & Waterways, Pregracke, his staff and more than 70,000 volunteers have collected more than 7 million pounds of garbage from rivers across the nation. 

Chad_Driving_2_webThe Mississippi River was literally CHad Pregracke’s backyard while growing up in Illinois. He worked various jobs on the Mississippi during his summer breaks and quickly realized the waterway was severely neglected and plagued by trash. His frustration led to his founding of Living Lands & Waters in 1998 at age 23. 

Today, Living Lands & Waters includes a full staff and fleet of equipment. Pregracke organizes 70 river cleanups a year. Close to 90 percent of what is recovered is recycled, and Pregracke says the rest gets disposed of properly. 

Pregracke lives on a barge nine months out of the year with members of his 12-person crew. They are credited with pulling more than 67,000 tires, 218 washing machines, 19 tractors, four pianos and 1,000 refrigerators from the Mississippi River. 

In addition to being the CNN Hero of the Year in 2013, Pregracke’s work has earned him numerous awards and honors over the years. He was the recipient of the Jefferson Award for Public Service in 2002. 

For more information, visit www.LivingLandsAndWaters.org.