Keynote Presentations to be given by Sean O’Connor of National Geographic and CNN Hero of the Year Chad Pregracke during MRWES Nov. 14 and 15

Article by: Louise Jett,


GODFREY – The Mississippi River Watershed Education Symposium (MRWES) Nov. 14 and 15 on the Lewis and Clark Community College campus in Godfrey, Illinois, will highlight two keynote presentations, one by Sean O’Connor of National Geographic and the other by Chad Pregracke of Living Lands & Waters.

Sean O’Connor is the program manager of educational mapping for National Geographic Education. His experience with educational mapping includes designing maps and interactive map technologies for a range of audiences. His work also involves a strong outdoor education component, helping educators understand best practices in using technology inside and outside of the classroom to enhance field-learning experiences.

O’Connor’s keynote presentation, entitled, Utilizing Technology in Citizen Science to Expand Educational Opportunities, will begin at 9 a.m. Friday, Nov. 14, in Trimpe 141.

Chad Pregracke is the president and founder of Living Lands & Waters (LL&W), the world’s only “industrial strength” not-for-profit river cleanup organization. Pregracke formed LL&W at the youthful age of 23, after spending his life growing up and working on the Mississippi River. Over the last 16 years, he, his crew and approximately 70,000 volunteers have removed more than 7 million pounds of garbage out of our nation’s rivers. Most recently, Pregracke was named the 2013 CNN Hero of the Year.

Pregracke’s keynote presentation, entitled Helping to Clean America’s Rivers: From the Bottom Up, will begin at 6:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 14, in Trimpe 141.

This two-day symposium will combine professional development workshops with speaker presentations and area field trips.

“Through keynote talks and presentations from speakers throughout the Mississippi River Watershed, attendees will be encouraged to utilize networking opportunities for partnering on unique, science-based watershed education programs,” said L&C Environmental Education Manager Natalie Marioni.

The registration fee of $55 includes keynote presentations, concurrent sessions and lunch both days, as well as a reception and dinner Friday, Nov. 14. Some workshops may require an additional fee. Those interested can register online at

MRWES co-sponsors include the National Great Rivers Research and Education Center, Little River Research & Design, Madison County Planning and Development, Missouri Botanical Garden, Lewis and Clark Community College, Office of Lieutenant Governor Sheila Simon, Southwestern Illinois College and the University of Illinois Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences.

For more information, contact Marioni at (618) 468-2783 or

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