Chad Pregracke, an activist for clean water and the author of “From the Bottom Up: One Man's Crusade to Clean America's Rivers,” will speak at 7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 8 in Albright Auditorium.
As a high school student, Pregracke first glimpsed the trash littering the bottom of the Mississippi River, and that shocking sight launched his quest to clean up the river.
After four discouraging years seeking government help, without success, he decided to take his fund-raising private — and a corporate sponsor decided to take a chance on this naive but determined young man.
Ten years later, his project has grown into a $500,000 operation with more than 60 sponsors including National Geographic magazine. His work has been featured on national news programs and won numerous honors and accolades, and its grassroots, can-do spirit still thrives aboard the 135-foot barge that serves as its home base and environmental classroom.
The book is also a first-person chronicle of Pregracke's life along the Mississippi featuring colorful characters, a near-death experience, a haunted swamp, and other flourishes worthy of a modern Mark Twain; and a fascinating portrait of the river itself — exploreing everything from the natural history of mussels and catfish to Indian lore to the key role of the Mississippi in our country's history.
His visit is sponsored by the Finger Lakes Institute; copies of his book are now available at The College Store.