Local Union Donates Thousands of Dollars in Man Hours to Barge Building PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Environment & Weather
Written by Natalie Linville-Mass   
Thursday, 01 September 2011 08:17

Davenport, IA/ August 31st, 2011  – 12 fourth year carpenter apprentices and one instructor have just finished their 5 day stay aboard Living Lands & Waters (LL&W) new floating classroom last Thursday. These skilled workers are volunteers from the Carpenter Training Center of the Quad Cities and are among a group of 40 plus skilled craftsmen affiliated with Local Union 4 who have generously given their time and talent in the building of the newest barge in the LL&W fleet.

This new 150-foot long barge features a handicapped-accessible classroom, which can host up to 60 students at a time, as well as sleeping quarters for an 8 person LL&W crew. The new classroom will bring high school students on board for day long workshops on a number of different topics ranging from History to Biology to the Navigation of our waterways.  Living Lands & Waters has been conducting educational workshops since 2003, but this day long hands on experience could only be attended by teachers and instructors.  “We developed these workshops to give teachers a hands on look at our river environment with lessons they could take back to their students.  The instructors who attended were so engaged, but all said this would have much more of an impact if their kids could be on the barge for something like this,” says Tammy Becker, coordinator of the LL&W’s Educational Workshops.  Over the years, LL&W held 92 teacher workshops for more than 1,700 teachers and educators. There were over a 100 different presenters in these presentations and over 60 different topics covered. 

“We were approached by Living Lands & Waters to assist if we were interested. We never hesitated to volunteer, as a majority of our members enjoy time on the river hunting, fishing, boating, etc. Everyone already knew of   Chad   and what good things Living Lands & Waters are doing on our rivers. I think every person who has had a chance to see and hear about what this group does; be it river clean-ups to the tree planting projects to the educational seminars really got their eyes opened up to the magnitude and scope of what the organization is trying to accomplish, and is all about,” said local union member Steve Flogel.

Over the past month, the local carpenters union has donated up to 750 man hours of free labor to LL&W. They have done the entire vapor barrier on the roof and the walls of the exterior, and helped with the siding, windows, doors, interior walls, exterior upper deck, sleepers and floor insulation. This week the trim and finish class has been doing the trim for the doors and windows, finishing the ceiling board installation, and starting the installation of the bamboo floor.  ”We can’t express how thankful we are for the  Union ’s help.  Without them, this new barge would not be possible,“ expressed Chad Pregracke, founder of Living Lands & Waters.    

Chad Pregracke started Living Lands & Waters 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. 

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