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Chad Pregracke was a high school student when he first glimpsed the trash that littered the bottom of the Mississippi, a shocking sight that launched him on a quest to clean up the river. After four discouraging years seeking government help without success, he decided to take his fund-raising privateand a corporate sponsor decided to take a chance on this naive but unshakably determined young man.
Ten years later Chad's one-man project has grown into a $500,000 operation with more than 60 sponsors (including National Geographic). His work has been featured on national news and won numerous honors and accolades, but its grassroots, can-do spirit still thrives aboard the 135-foot barge that serves as home base for his organization, a floating environmental classroom, and an inspiration to people of all ages.
This is the story of his personal triumph as an advocate for America's rivers. Chad measures success in tons of garbage removed and thousands of people with a new stake inand a new understanding ofthe river environment. But From the Bottom Up is much more as well: a first-person chronicle of Chad's own life along the Mississippi featuring colorful characters, a near-death experience, a haunted swamp, and other flourishes worthy of a modern Mark Twain; and a fascinating portrait of the river itself which explores everything from the natural history of mussels and catfish to Indian lore to the key role of the Mississippi in our country's history.