Nature Matters: Riverquest Teaches Kids About Environment

By KBJR News 1

May 15, 2012 Updated May 15, 2012 at 12:04 PM CDT

Duluth, MN (Northland's NewsCenter)
"Welcome aboard. Watch your step, here." said the Vista Captain to hundreds of school kids.

For the last twenty years, 6th graders from Poplar to Duluth have looked forward to a springtime ride aboard a Vista boat.
This is Riverquest, an annual lesson about recreation on and protection of the Saint Louis River.

"Learn about how to wear life jackets, learn about hypothermia, they learn about invasive species." said Adele Yorde, one of the event's organizers.

And pollution and how it affects aquatic life.
This year's special guest is Chad Pregracke.
He's founder of Living Lands And Water, a company that cleans up polluted rivers.
He's pulled up thousands of discarded drums plus...

"Thousands of tires, pulled out cars, trucks and sunken boats, barges, you name it." said Pregracke.

Pregracke's most interesting recovery was bank robbery loot from the Mississippi River in Saint Paul plus evidence to catch the crooks.
They also threw the bank's security tape into the river.

"They wrapped it in plastic and duct tape so tight it didn't get wet." said Pregracke.

Pregracke told the Riverquest folks that the Northland's rivers are much cleaner than others due to our already high levels of environmental awareness.
He hopes we stay involved in keeping the Saint Louis and all rivers clean.

"I think it is important to get people involved because if people can't get involved in it, they're less likely to care about it." said Pregracke.

"Stern line is on!" said the owner of the Vista Line as he tied his vessel behind the DECC after a Riverquest cruise.

In Duluth for Nature Matters, the Northland's News Center.