Alternative Spring Break

Each year, we hit the water in the spring to engage college students in the spring break experience of a lifetime. To date, we’ve worked with 713 college students from all over the country to remove 730,213 lbs of trash!

Next year, we are going to Grafton, IL where students will traverse the river on foot and in boats while working closely with our crew and fellow students. Living Lands & Waters hosts several week-long cleanups (Monday through Thursday) where students can meet the infamous Chad Pregracke and his boisterous crew of river rats. This spring break experience is guaranteed to leave you with not only the satisfaction of knowing that you’ve given back to the community but also a lifetime’s worth of laughter and memories.

In addition to a new location, something else that makes the 2018 ASB unique is the addition of invasive species removals on the Grafton bluffs and state park restoration at Pere Marquette State Park!

Get registered now or keep reading!

Don’t know what you’re getting yourself into? Catch a glimpse of the action by watching last year’s Alternative Spring Break Video or check out our What To Expect/Safety Guide.

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Living Lands & Waters provides breakfast and lunch. Dinner is the responsibility of the students and groups (with the exception of Sunday night). We encourage bringing snacks to stash in the hotel. Each room has a fridge, microwave, coffee maker and a few sets of dishes and silverware.

*Sunday night dinner at the Grafton Oyster Bar will be provided.

If you or anyone in your group has any dietary restrictions (i.e. allergies, vegetarians, vegans, or religious restrictions) you MUST make Leah, the Project Coordinator, aware as soon as possible. If you do not disclose this before/when making your final payment, we will be unable to accommodate. We work with a caterer to provide lunch each week and need adequate notice when planning! You are allowed to bring your own lunch aboard if necessary.


Our lodging location is at the scenic Aerie’s Resort in Grafton, IL.

Rooms include 2 queen sized beds and can accommodate up to four people per room. Each room is $90 per night, which breaks down to $22.50 a night and $112.50 for the week (Sunday night to Friday morning) at full capacity.

A $75 deposit is required to lock in your spot which will be rolled into the lodging fee for students staying at the resort; the deposit is returned to students who do not lodge with us.

**Please see the “Deposit/Payments” tab below for more information on deposits. Deposits are due as soon as possible. Without a deposit, we cannot guarantee your spot. Final payments will be due by February 1, 2018.**


Individuals and groups will be required to secure their own transportation to and from Grafton, IL. We will provide the transportation to and from work locations daily. The shuttle picks up and drops off at Aerie’s Resort.


To learn more about hotel cost, please see the “Lodging Info” tab above.

All students will be required to put down a $75 deposit to lock in their spot. This money will be non-refundable and roll directly into your hotel fee (or it will be returned to you if you opt out of lodging with us).

**Deposits are due as soon as possible. Without a deposit, we cannot guarantee your spot. Final payments will be due by February 1, 2018.**

Payments can be made online via our donations page. Click on the donate button and be sure to make note of your group name along with the notation “2018 ASB”.

Ex: 2018 ASB – Smith College

We will also accept checks made out to Living Lands & Waters. Please make sure to have your group name included and send to:

Living Lands & Waters

17624 Route 84 North

East Moline, IL 61244

Attn: Leah Cafarelli


Each year LL&W presents six (6) $500 scholarships to students in need of financial assistance. To be considered, your application must be completed by December 19, 2017. Scholarship winners staying in our hotel will be required to have their hotel fee taken out of their winnings. Participants applying for a scholarship will automatically have their spots saved without filling out the registration below.


Past Feedback

“We are so glad we mixed it up and visited ya’ll this break. You have warmed our hearts, brightened our spirits, and ignited our minds to be more eco-friendly. I couldn’t have asked for a better week or a better group of inspirational leaders for the students to work with!” -Kim, LL&W Dream Team

“Thank you for giving us the opportunity to help the environment become a better place. I had lots of fun and it was honestly one of the best spring breaks I’ve ever had! I loved how each one of you was so motivating and caring!” -Alondra

“I would like to thank you once again for making our spring break such an amazing experience. It truly an inspiring gift you have of making people feel unique with their nicknames and making picking up trash a fun activity. This was the last spring break of my college career as well as the best spring break of my college career. It was the best because of all the skits you did, the educational piece throughout the week, and the overall enthusiasm that you all exuded throughout the week!” -Kyle

“You’ve been really inspiring to me. I had a great time making a difference in the community, and now I want to make a difference in the world. You guys have been so kind and energetic. Thank you for your hard work and passion!” -Natalie S.

“I can’t thank each and every one of you enough. I feel a lot better about the movement towards a cleaner earth and can’t wait to keep the momentum going! Keep being hysterical and keep making this world a more enjoyable place!” -Cole

“I had more fun than I could have ever imagined and am so inspired to make a difference!” -Tori 


What are the 2018 dates?

WEEK 1: March 4-8
WEEK 2: March 11-15
WEEK 3: March 18-22

Are there any risks associated? Yes, there are risks associated with participating in a cleanup. Please be aware poison ivy is a high risk at this time of year. Other common hazards include bee stings, heaving lifting and sharp objects. It is recommended that all students be up-to-date on their Tetanus and Hep A and B vaccinations. River cleanups can be extremely physically demanding.

Please check out our What To Expect/Safety Guide. Although we will cover safety points each day, site leaders will be expected to forward this to all students participating.

Do I have to be in a group to participate in ASB? Absolutely not!

Do I have to be a college student? Unfortunately, yes. We do reserve this event for college students only. Graduate students or non-traditional students DO qualify.

Do I have to stay at the provided lodging option to participate? No. We provide a discounted option to help out, but you can stay wherever you’d like.

What if I can’t make the Sunday meeting? Talk to Leah the Project Coordinator. It isn’t mandatory, but very helpful.

What should I pack?

**Be prepared to get dirty!! Wearing appropriate shoes can make or break this trip for students.**

  • Tall rubber boots and/or hiking boots: Athletic shoes are not advised. There is high potential to become wet and muddy and some areas we work will be rocky and semi-difficult to navigate. We encourage an extra pair if your shoes become wet and don’t dry in time!
  • Raincoat/suit: Work often continues in light rain conditions and nothing is worse than being wet and cold!
  • Layers: In the years past, week 1 has been extremely cold and rainy. We’ve experience sleet, storms and snow! You can always take layers off, but if you don’t bring enough you will be COLD! A hat that covers your ears is a great idea! We will provide work gloves.
  • Sunglasses: We will be traveling in boats every day and frequently there is dust/debris on the bow. Sunglasses will protect your eyes!
  • Reusable water bottle/dining utensils: Please help us reduce the waste we create at this event! As well as your water bottle, bring a plate and utensils! You will be able to wash them on the barge each day. PLEASE write your name/group name on these. LL&W cannot be held responsible for lost items.


  • Your favorite new hat/shirt
  • Your lucky watch
  • Your new Nikes
  • White pants
  • Your purse

Click here for the downloadable version of this list!

Can I come early/stay late if we are staying in the hotel? Special exceptions have been made for groups who wish to come a few days early. The earlier you know of these exceptions, the more potential there is for us to make it work. You will be expected to cover all additional costs.

For information on 2018’s ASB in Grafton, IL, call Leah at 309.236.0728, email us at or GET REGISTERED!