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Study Aboard

Presented By: Rivers Are Life
“It’s not about the world,” Chad says. “It’s about your world.”

Alternative Spring Break

Each year, college students look forward to spring break to relax, let loose, and forget about their classes. But some take advantage of the time off to make their world a little better. These students travel from all over the country to Tennessee to spend the week living, learning, and cleaning up waterways on a conservation barge. 

Chad Pregracke founded Living Lands & Waters in 1998 with the philosophy that each person can make a difference in their community through hard work and dedication. Since the organization’s inception, it’s led numerous innovative projects to combat waste in America’s waterways. One of the most impactful is the Alternative Spring Break program, which invites college students to help clean up the waterways of McKellar Lake in Memphis, TN.  

Many Hands make light work

The barge hosts 60 students for each week-long session. Chad, along with Education Facilitator Mike “Coach” Coyne-Logan and communication specialist Callie Schaser, leads the exciting and engaging experience that’s designed to be just as entertaining as a vacation.

Coach explains, “What drives me is just the tangible results, the adventure of it all, the people you meet, the cool cities you visit.”

McKellar Lake

The creeks that flow through Tennessee’s cities carry litter into McKellar Lake, which feeds into the Mississippi River. Living Lands and Waters chose this location for its student program to collect as much trash and plastic pollution as possible before it enters the continent’s second-largest river, which provides drinking water to 18 million people and is home to more than 120 species of fish. 

2,228 students

have participated in Living Lands & Waters’ Alternative Spring Break program to date

1,558,571 lbs of trash

have been removed as a result of the Alternative Spring Break program 

18 million people

get their drinking water from the Mississippi River


Without donations from individuals and businesses, Living Lands & Waters’ river cleanup projects and educational initiatives could not operate.

Major expenses each year include gas/oil, repairs, insurance, disposal costs, and equipment maintenance. Show your support to keep their conservation efforts propelling forward!

Join the Movement

We invite you to join the Rivers Are Life movement and be part of a new era of modern exploration highlighting the wonder of our planet’s rivers, the humans and wildlife that call them home, and the issues that threaten this vital natural resource. Together, we can learn, understand, and inspire the action that will lead to real change.

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