University News

Living Lands and Waters Founder To Speak at Western’s Environmental Summit

April 5, 2006

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MACOMB, IL - - Chad Pregracke, founder and president of Living Lands and Waters, will be the keynote speaker for Western Illinois UniversityÂ’s third annual Environmental Summit at noon Tuesday, April 18 in the University Union Heritage Room. Pregracke founded Living Lands and Waters, a nonprofit environmental organization based in East Moline (IL), in 1998.

The Quad Cities native is familiar with Western Illinois University, having had many students assist him in Mississippi River cleanup over the past several years and participate in his Adopt-A-Mississippi River Mile program. In addition, his solo effort has grown to a seven-member staff, three of whom are Western graduates. In 2005 Pregracke was named the Quad Citian of the Year by Best of the Quad Cities River CitiesÂ’ Readers Poll. He was presented the Jefferson Award for Public Service in the U.S. Supreme Court in 2002. PregrackeÂ’s efforts have been documented nationally by all the major networks and featured in many national and international magazines.

In his presentation, Pregracke will tell the funny and compelling story about growing up on the river and how his experiences led to his unique vision to clean up the Mississippi River.

The 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Environmental Summit will feature displays by local environmental groups along with exhibits of environmentally friendly products, student posters, presentations and readings.

William Doe, director of the Institute for Environmental Studies, will host “Earth Café 2050: Measure your Ecological Footprint” from 9 a.m.-11:30 a.m. in the University Union Prairie Lounge. This simple, interactive exercise takes about 3-5 minutes to complete. Earth Café 2050 measures how much of the Earth’s renewable resources you personally use based on your lifestyle and habits of food consumption, transportation use, housing, material goods and waste generation. The activity uses an accounting method called the “ecological footprint.” Participants take a short “footprint” quiz to determine the amount of biologically productive land area needed to support them.

Students, staff, faculty and community members are also invited to join President Al Goldfarb for a tree planting ceremony at 10 a.m. on the east side of Sherman Hall. The bald cypress tree was purchased with proceeds from Sodexho Campus Services’ “Eat a Salad, Save a Tree” campaign.

Presentations from 1:30-4 p.m. will include topics such as campus sustainability and environmental management, landscaping, energy conservation and community recycling in the University Union Nauvoo Room; and MacombÂ’s water quality, cigarette butt littering trends, hazardous waste disposal and a creative reading in the University Union New Salem Room.

The Environmental Summit is sponsored by the recreation, park and tourism administration department, Institute for Environmental Studies, Illinois Institute for Rural Affairs, University Theme Committee, the Physical Plant and Sodexho Campus Services.

Western Illinois University is a signatory to the Talloires Declaration, a ten-point action plan for incorporating sustainability and environmental literacy in teaching, research, operations and outreach at colleges and universities.

All of the summitÂ’s events are open free to the public. For more information, contact Mindy Harpman at 309/833-5798 or email

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