Founder & President
The Mississippi River was literally Chad Pregracke’s backyard while growing up near East Moline, IL. Chad’s vision, charisma, non-stop work ethic and natural leadership have garnered him an abundance of awards and honors over the years. Most notably, Chad was the recipient of the Jefferson Award for Public Service (America’s version of the Nobel Prize) in June of 2002. Chad accepted this award in the United States Supreme Court in Washington D.C. with other award recipients Rudolph Giuliani, Bill and Melinda Gates, and Lilly Tartikoff. Chad was also honored to be named the 2013 CNN Hero of the Year. Whenever he can get away from his rigorous work schedule, Chad enjoys fishing, hunting, skateboarding, windsurfing and recycling used and salvaged materials by incorporating them into new projects.
Mike, aka Nozzy, began as a volunteer in 2005 and was asked to join the crew in 2007. Mike graduated from Northern Illinois University in 2000 with degrees in history and teaching. Before joining the Living Lands & Waters team, he worked as a teacher in his hometown of Rock Island, IL. Much like the mighty paddlewheels on the majestic steamboats of yesteryear, Nozzy propels the crew to greatness. His knack for motivational speaking and his go-getter attitude have earned him the nickname “Coach.” His words have inspired thousands of volunteers at hundreds of river cleanups. Mike takes his coaching to the classroom as the Education Facilitator, teaching students about the importance of our nation’s rivers, clean water and recycling. In his spare time, Nozzy enjoys lifting weights, reading, seeing live music and picking up garbage.
Dan started as an LL&W volunteer in 2010 and, after participating in two Alternative Spring Breaks and completing an internship, he was invited to officially join the staff crew in May of 2013. He’s known as a modern day renaissance man with many talents. He’s creative and adds innovative ideas to many brainstorming sessions. He’s a professional disc golfer, technologically savvy, guru of trash collecting, a soccer goalie, skateboarding whiz, snowboarder, sage photographer, prospective American Ninja Warrior and he plays one mean kazoo. He loves traveling and listening to live music.
Serving as the keeper of the checkbook, Shelly carries the responsibility of payroll, expenses and record-keeping for the organization. She joined the LL&W office staff in the fall of 2013 and has a fun sense of humor and organizational and business skills that have added checks and balances to the operations. Shelly might be the kindest, sweetest, most giving person on the crew – but if anyone misses turning in his or her timesheets, Shelly will come a-looking. In her off time, Shelly enjoys watching her kids’ sporting events and serving as their full-time taxi driver.
Rhiannon Rogstad initially started working with Living Lands & Waters in 2014-2015, helping with grant writing and recently rejoined the crew in September of 2019. She taught university writing and literature courses for ten years before entering the non-profit world in 2014. She has worked over the last six years with three non-profits, including her current work as the Director of Philanthropy at Abundant Grace Coastside Worker, which serves the homeless. Her grant writing skills are as rock-solid as granite, and we don’t take them for granted, because they help keep our props spinning. Rhiannon’s grant writing skills are undeniable. But, she is probably most famous for co-writing the infamous indie river folk song, Pandiculation Station, with a former crew member, Nelson Curran. Rhiannon is almost as well-traveled as Carmen Sandiego, living in 24 towns in 12 states, including the Canadian Province of Ontario. She is a voracious reader, always reading at least two novels at a time. Rhiannon enjoys hikes and walks with her two middle school age boys and according to her other friends that are moms and AMAZING! The greatest joy in her life (apparently even over the birth of her sons) is when she made a margarita for Bill Nye the Science Guy.
Andrew is an East Moline, IL native. He has worked in many professions, from construction to making amazing bagel sandwiches, teaching, farming, pouring concrete, and everything in between. He married the love of his life, Casie, and they have two dogs, Lily and Chief, and two little girls, Virginia and Lucy. They love traveling the world and spending time with their amazing friends and loving family. Andrew also enjoys live music, the mountains, being in the woods, skiing, hunting/fishing, the Cubbies, new experiences, meeting people from all walks of life, and saving the world, one piece of garbage at a time. He has made it his life goal to bring the coach to justice for his unlawful coaching career, lies, and his multi-personalities. The ref will prevail.
YES HE IS BACK, FOLKS. Derek, aka Lil Scrap, aka Hoppy, started with Living Lands & Waters in the fall of 2017. Derek previously worked for Rock River Arms before living the tug life. One of his greatest life accomplishments is founding the Freshwater Mussels Gym (a weight room/secret elite social club in one of our basement barge chambers). When he isn’t working he enjoys fishing, hiking, snowboarding and, most of all, watching the Red Sox play. Derek, one day, aspires to be the next Master Chef but, right now, he will just stick to (rarely) doing dishes and caddying for Dan on the disc golf course.
Callie grew up in Waukesha, WI for most of her 25 years of living on this earth. Callie graduated from Lake Forest College, in 2018. She graduated with a major in Environmental Studies, and a minor in Communications. Right out of college she got her first “big girl” corporate job, but felt like she was missing something in her life. So, after some time she decided to pack up her belongings and head out west to Portland, Oregon to be a drummer in an island reggae band. Then, Covid hit...
On what was supposed to be a quick visit back to the midwest Callie got connected with Tammy, and the rest is history. Callie will be running LL&W’s social media, website, press releases, and whatever random ideas Chad calls her about to do. In her spare time, she enjoys visiting her parent’s alpaca farm, hanging out with her 3 older sisters, drumming, playing ukulele, swimming, scuba diving, traveling, and yoga. Callie grew up as a competitive swimmer and loves any and all types of water. So, living on a barge down by the river is her ideal work/life balance!
Social Media Specialist
Megan Shanafelt started her LL&W journey through the Bison Bridge Foundation in May 2021. You may have seen her towing the life-sized, green bison all over the QC! After a brief stint as a high school substitute and musical director, she’s back in the QC working on the marketing and social media for both LL&W and Bison Bridge.
Megan graduated from Illinois State University with a bachelor’s in English in 2020. We’re hoping she brings her Starbucks barista skills to the barge, though she doesn’t even drink coffee. Megan loves experimenting with different art mediums, seeing live music, lifting heavy things, reading anything she can get her hands on, and hunting for the nation’s best hot wings.
Laurel, known to some as Lo or Wild Laurel, is new to the crew in 2022, woo!! (Pretty good rhyme, yeah?) Since her teenage years, she has been an advocate for waste management, ensuring proper recycling at local events in her hometown and for large statewide events like RAGBRAI. In 2019, she graduated from Iowa State University with degrees in Urban Planning and Environmental Studies and spent the next two years in Harrisburg, PA as a planner.
Laurel is thrilled to join the crew as a videographer - reigniting two passions of hers from her youth - environmental stewardship and video editing. When she’s not kicking it with the crew, she enjoys spending time outside biking, canoeing, rock climbing, slacklining, rollerblading, playing guitar, and visiting her friends around the world!
Rachel is one of our newest crew members here at Living Lands & Waters. She is a proud Wisconsinite with a burning passion for bratwursts and cheese. She is a fresh college graduate from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point. She earned her bachelors of science in Environmental Science and Management. Rachel is an avid reader and lover of all animals. Even the “creepy crawly” ones. She worked for a year at a herpetofauna lab with all sorts of snakes, amphibians and invertebrates. She even misses the Madagascar hissing cockroaches she once cared for. She also is self-taught in stained glass art and finds that her favorite pieces take inspiration from the natural world. She loves spending time camping and hiking and is a wannabe mycologist. Oh and who could forget, she's a big fan of a classic BLT!
Bio coming soon!
If Travis could be summed up in one word it's loyal…loyal at least to LL&W’s maternal leader, Tammy. Travis was smart enough to not stray too far from the gravy train. However, when he heard someone rummaging through the refrigerator, he would be the first by their side. Travis was discovered in Southern Illinois with a patty of liquid nail on his head. Travis put the word “chill” in chiller and his exceptionally laid back personality was great for any campfire. A few of Travis’ accomplishments were: four-time champion softest fur coat at the National Fur Convention, fastest hot dog eaten North of the Mason Dixon line, and a variety of firsts and seconds at the biannual Alaskan river dog bark off championship. Simply put, Travis was a god among dogs.
After 16 amazing years on the river and more love than any dog has ever received, Travis crossed the rainbow bridge in August of 2022. He truly was the best Head Pooch LL&W will ever know.
After wandering the hills and valleys of Montana for eight months of his lonely puppy-hood, Pork Chop was taken in by the loving embrace of Chad and Tammy. Right away, it was apparent that he was made for life on the river. Never missing a boat or car ride, Pork Chop could be compared to a mix between Scrappy-Doo and Curious George. Pork Chop’s hobbies were wrasslin’, running full speed ahead (usually into Travis) and catching flies in mid-air. The crew absolutely loved having Pork Chop aboard!
Pork Chop passed away in October of 2022, just a month after his brother Travis. While it’s incredibly difficult to say goodbye to one of the best barge dogs the world has ever seen, we rest assured knowing Travis was waiting for him as he crossed the Rainbow Bridge.