It has been a busy spring for me full of service to sustainability (Water Matters series) and my ongoing work at the college to raise awareness, build eco-teams and to save money with efficiency strategies. The Cosand Center is participating in the Green Business Challenge, and Flo Valley, Meramec and Wildwood campuses are celebrating Earth Month with Green Fairs and an Eco-Art Festival. One of my favorite days was spent with Chad Pregracke of Living Lands and Waters organization. He joined the Water Matters series to speak about his work cleaning the Mississippi and other rivers, starting from the bottom of the river shell diving with his brother to the trash collecting on river shores and islands. I drove Chad around to his many gigs for the day, sharing stories about our common passions with the environment. He is my hero–modest, driven, business-savvy, and raconteur. He’s this generation’s Jacques Cousteau, without the French accent! I sat in the studio while he was interviewed by Don Marsh on KWMU. The topic was about how to steward the waterways and what got Chad started on his path. Trash is the visible challenge for the river’s health. Chad is also concerned about land management and pollutants that leach into the rivers–the invisible dangers. To really bring awareness for the rivers’ pollution, the Discovery Channel plans to follow Chad and his team as they do their work clearing the trash from the rivers. He just finished Alternate Spring Break in several cities, including Louisville, KY. College students join his teams on cleanup efforts rather than head to Florida to party. This kind of service expands horizons for stewardship in ways no textbooks on ecology can. Chad also joined the Flo Valley biology faculty and students at the Ponds. He told the students his story and encouraged them to follow their passions. He also is a community college graduate. Mark Manteuffel picked Chad’s brain about how to raise the money to do restoration to preserve the ponds for the habitat and the community’s enjoyment. If Chad knows one thing well, it is how to raise money for his causes. I saw him first when he spoke to the Sierra Summit in San Francisco in 2005. Chad asked a general in the audience for the military’s extras. Persuaded by Chad’s charisma and humor, the general made the donation happen. What made my day special was hanging with this same humility and delight. I created a very full day for him, and he went along with all of our plans without a grumble. The rivers seem to have taught him to “go with the flow.” I was reminded of that approach to life in his presence. If you too want to experience the Chad Charisma–you can join his efforts for his first ever multi-state effort on Saturday June 19th for the Great Mississippi River Clean Up down at the Arch. For full information, go to http://www.livinglandsandwaters.org/GreatMississippiRiverCleanup/default.htm I’ll be there, hope to see you too. Bring your students and family.