Chad Pregracke

WALWORTH COUNTY — Hackmatack Wildlife Refuge, located in southern Walworth County and northern McHenry County, is celebrating 10 years since its start in 2012. The public is invited to a free fall gathering on Sept. 13, 2022, to hear an inspiring presentation of one person’s vision to clean up the Mississippi River, and how it resulted in impacts far and wide.

The presentation headlines the Friends of Hackmatack National Wildlife Refuge’s Fall Gathering at George Williams College in Williams Bay, Wisconsin.

According to a news release, Chad Pregracke, 2013 CNN Hero of the Year, is living proof that one person can make a difference. As the founder of America’s only “industrial strength” river clean-up organization, Chad tells a compelling, uplifting, and inspiring story about growing up on the river and how his river experiences led to his unique vision to clean up the Mississippi River. In 1998 at the age of 23, Chad founded Living Lands & Waters. Today, the organization has grown to include a full staff and a fleet of equipment. The crew conducts cleanups in an average of nine states a year along the Mississippi, Illinois and Ohio Rivers, as well as many of their tributaries.

During his presentation, Chad will take the audience out on one of the world’s greatest rivers – a journey filled with endless challenges and gripping adventures. His delivery is motivating, captivating, genuine, and refreshingly spontaneous. Chad’s story will show you that one person can truly make a difference. 

Registration is free but seating is limited so people are encouraged to register promptly at The event is co-sponsored by: George Williams College of Aurora University, Friends of Hackmatack National Wildlife Refuge, Geneva Lake Environmental Agency, Kettle Moraine Land Trust, Hey & Associates, ILM Environments, Aquarius Systems, Friends of the Fox River, Environmental Defenders of McHenry County and the Nippersink Watershed Association.

Event Name:  Friends of Hackmatack’s Fall Gathering “From the Bottom Up: The Power of a Vision” by speaker Chad Pregracke.

Register at: 

When: Tuesday, September 13, 2022

Time: 6:30 – 8:00 PM, Doors will open at 6 pm to allow attendees time to visit sponsors’ tables and displays.

Where: Seabury Room, Beasley Campus Center, George Williams College of Aurora University, 350 Constance Blvd, Williams Bay, WI, 53191 

About Hackmatack National Wildlife Refuge— The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service manages an unparalleled network of public lands and waters called the National Wildlife Refuge System. With more than 560 refuges spanning the country, this system protects iconic species and provides some of the best wildlife viewing opportunities on Earth. Hackmatack NWR is the system’s 561st refuge, established on November 6, 2012. Through partnerships, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service leads the way in developing community-driven conservation solutions that reap ecological and economic benefits for fish, wildlife and people. Within the Refuge System, we work with landowners, Friends groups and local communities.

About Friends of Hackmatack National Wildlife Refuge— The mission of Friends of Hackmatack National Wildlife Refuge is to conserve and enhance the natural and cultural resources, rural character and scenic beauty of the Hackmatack National Wildlife Refuge and to connect people to these resources.

By Staff Report

Walworth County Community News