GODFREY – The Captain Planet Foundation, an organization dedicated to funding educational programs that give students hands-on, project-driven learning experiences with real environmental outcomes, recently awarded an educational grant of $2,500 to Lewis and Clark Community College, which will use these funds toward the Illinois RiverWatch Mussel Project launch.
“We are so impressed with the project brought to us by Lewis and Clark Community College,” said Captain Planet Foundation Executive Director Leesa Carter. “We are honored to play a part in funding its implementation and wish Lewis and Clark Community College great success on this important project. It is our hope that our combined efforts to educate, empower, involve and invest in today’s youth will cultivate a better tomorrow for everyone.”
Freshwater mussels are excellent bioindicators of water quality. However, half of the freshwater mussel species in North America have been proposed to be listed as endangered, threatened, or of special concern, as a result of pollution.
Illinois RiverWatch Mussel Program participants will learn about freshwater mussels in an interactive workshop, before doing a freshwater mussel survey of their own at a local stream to measure water quality based on the mussel community.
“Mussel monitoring is a great addition to the long-standing Illinois RiverWatch program,” said LCCC RiverWatch Biologist Matthew Young. “The Mississippi River Watershed has the highest diversity of freshwater mussels in the world, which I think will captivate the interest of many students and volunteers interested in conserving our rivers.”
Data collected will be stored in the Illinois RiverWatch database to track the condition of Illinois streams, as well as to identify exceptional mussel communities in need of conservation. Participants can register for a workshop by visiting www.ngrrec.org/Riverwatch.
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