Headquartered in East Moline, Illinois, Living Lands and Waters offers a far cry from typical entry-level jobs. Team members spend a 10-month season living on a barge.

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Between 1997 and 2005, Living Lands and Waters employees and volunteers have pulled 15,991 tires, 63 bicycles, 1 mannequin hand, 397 tons of metal, 545 refrigerators, and 30 messages-in-bottles from our waterways. Sadly, that’s just a small sample of the things that they’ve removed from rivers like the Mighty Mississippi.

Living Lands and Waters was founded by a man who made it his mission to singlehandedly clean up the river behind his house. That river just happened to be the Mississippi. Chad Pregracke has documented the story of his crusade to clean up America’s waters and his formation of Living Lands and Waters in his autobiography From the Bottom Up. After reading this book, we thought that Living Lands and Waters would be another great organization to feature during our weekend postings of non-profit jobs.

The jobs at Living Lands and Waters are a far cry from your typical entry-level jobs. Team members spend a 10-month season living with 7 or 8 other people on a barge on one of the country’s major river systems. The work can vary greatly day to day, but will often include intense manual labor. You may also be directing volunteers, talking to schoolchildren, repairing equipment, or helping raise funds. You’ll definitely learn many new skills, meet all kinds of people, and hopefully have the experience of your life.

Living on a barge isn’t for everyone, but if you think you’d enjoy working or volunteering for Living Lands and Waters, visit their website, watch this video, and read Chad’s book. Even if you’re not interested in the jobs, the book is an inspirational read about how one person who cares can initiate seemingly impossible change.

Note: On April 26th we revisited entry-level jobs at Living Lands and Waters.

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What do you know about Living Lands and Waters? Have you read Chad’s book? Leave a message in the comments section.

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