Cargill Hosts U.S. Premiere of Living Lands and Waters Floating Classroom

Oct 26, 2011 | Corporate Member News

Just in time for back-to-school season, Living Lands & Waters (LL&W) is launching a floating classroom that will bring students out on the river to learn about life on the nation’s waterways. This new, 150-foot barge features a handicapped-accessible classroom that can host up to 60 students at a time, as well as sleeping quarters for the eight-person LL&W crew. LL&W will premier the floating classroom at a dedication hosted on the Mississippi River by long-time partner Cargill on Thursday, September 1 in St. Paul.

The primary goal of the floating classroom is to give participants – specifically young people – the tools and experience to teach others about the need to preserve and protect natural resources. This classroom will bring kids of all ages on board for workshops on a variety of topics related to their studies in history, biology and economics among others, using the river as a teaching tool. Each workshop will be customized with the teacher to correspond with in-class curriculum. LL&W staff and classroom members will also participate in river clean-ups during their day-long journey on the river.

“This collaborative effort will give kids a first-hand look at our rivers and have a meaningful impact on them for years to come,” said Chad Pregracke, founder and president of LL&W. “This is really taking environmental education about river issues to a whole new level, and it could not have been done without the help of the many companies, such as Cargill, who believe in what we’re doing.”

The floating classroom was made possible by the generous support of five LL&W partners: Cargill, ADM, AEP River Operations, Caterpillar, and Ingram Barge Company, as well as several unions whose members donated many hours of labor to help complete this project in time for the upcoming school year.  

Cargill has partnered with LL&W since 1999. In addition to funding for the floating classroom and annual support for the organization’s operating needs, Cargill employees volunteer with the crew for river cleanups and tree planting projects in the communities along the major rivers where Cargill has operations and provide additional expertise to support the organization, including as guest speakers at LL&W’s workshops.

“The floating classroom on the river combines education and environment, two areas of focus for Cargill’s involvement in the communities where we operate,” said Michelle Grogg, senior director of corporate responsibility at Cargill. “Our employee volunteers take great pride in the work of Living Lands & Waters, and Cargill wants to help ensure that future generations understand the value of our river systems and work to preserve and protect them.”

LL&W was founded in 1998 with the mission to aid in the protection, preservation and restoration of major rivers, to expand awareness of environmental issues and to create an opportunity for stewardship of a cleaner river environment. The organization has held Big River Educational Workshops for seven years, educating teachers and interested citizens about the wide-ranging facets of big river systems. The new floating classroom barge will allow them to expand this effort and reach new audiences.

Earlier this year, Pregracke was honored by the Points of Light Foundation. This distinguished honor was established by former U.S. President George H.W. Bush, was awarded during a televised ceremony that featured all of the living former presidents.   Pregracke adds this honor to many others he has received since founding LL&W, including a Jefferson Award for Public Service and Heroes of Conservation Nomination.


Kelsey Stehlik, D: 952-742-0303, C: 952-807-7024, [email protected] 

About Cargill

Cargill is an international producer and marketer of food, agricultural, financial and industrial products and services. Founded in 1865, the privately held company employs 130,000 people in 63 countries. Cargill helps customers succeed through collaboration and innovation, and is committed to applying its global knowledge and experience to help meet economic, environmental and social challenges wherever it does business. For more information, visit  

About Living Lands & Waters 

Living Lands & Waters was founded in 1998 as a not-for-profit organization dedicated to the beautification and restoration of America’s major rivers and to the education of people about environmental issues. From his single boat beginning, LL&W has grown to an internationally known organization with a fleet of barges and workboats.  LL&W engages thousands of volunteers each year in river cleanups, hands-on environmental education workshops, the Great Mississippi River Cleanup, Adopt-a- River-Mile programs and the Million Trees Project. For more information, visit  

Floating classroom construction footage 

Living Lands & Waters footage

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