Pregracke Speaks At New Mississippi River Conference At Culver Stockton College

Chad Pregracke, famed river cleanup activist, founder and CEO of Living Lands & Waters, was the plenary speaker at the inaugural Great River Collaborative Conference held at Culver-Stockton College April 7-9. The theme was “Changing Currents,” and the conference was part of a multi-disciplinary focus on the Mississippi River at the college. 

Other speakers included Scott Whitney, chief of project management for the Corps of Engineers; Mike Klinger, chair of the Upper Mississippi, Illinois and Missouri Rivers Association; Paul St. Louis, a project manager at the Rock Island Engineer District; and several professors from various departments of Culver-Stockton College. Bryan Nichols, communications director for Rep. Sam Graves, spoke on river policy in 2022. 

Located right on the Mississippi River in Canton, Mo., Culver-Stockton College was founded in 1853 by members of the Disciples of Christ Church.

The Great River Collaborative describes its mission as “conven[ing] a broad and motivated constituency to exchange ideas to benefit the region’s economic, cultural, artistic, political, spiritual, environmental and academic life. Ultimately we hope conversations generated through Changing Currents will foster innovative and collaborative solutions to the various challenges facing the river and the communities it impacts.”

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The conference was the first in what Dr. Scott Giltner, professor of history at Culver-Stockton and one of the conference’s moving spirits, hopes will be an ongoing series. “It could be an annual or bi-annual event,” he told The Waterways Journal, depending on support. Giltner said he became interested in Mississippi River history through his studies on Black labor patterns in the 19th century and the history of the Underground Railroad. 

Giltner hosted some of the panel events, including one featuring two other Stockton-Culver professors, “The My Mississippi Life Learning Communities: A Culver-Stockton College Signature Project.”