Mussels in The Classroom

A First In the Nation...

Through its partnerships with Kentucky Fish & Wildlife Service, Ohio State University, and Thomas More College, ORF is pleased to offer Mussels in The Classroom (MIC), an extension of the River Explorer program, to schools in Greater Cincinnati, Columbus (OH), and Lexington/Frankfort (KY).

Freshwater mussels are an often overlooked but important bio-indicator species of any watershed ecosystem that help illustrate the health of the environment.. Many species are imperiled and several are extinct. However, a determined and concerted effort is being made by several experts and agencies to raise and repatriate thousands of these "silent messengers of water quality" to rivers, creeks, and streams. Schools participating in MIC will be supporting this "cutting edge" scientific regional effort.

For those schools selected to participate, MIC will enable students to care for and raise freshwater mussels provided by ORF and its partners. At the beginning and during the experience, ORF will provide instruction and the students can take a field trip to a nearby freshwater mussel facility. The classroom activities will involve caring for live mussels in the classroom, including daily feeding, water changes, and temperature management. There are additional optional activities, as well opportunities for students and teachers to create new activities. Space is required for a 10-gallon tank as well as extra water and supplies. Students will monitor, feed, and share activity information with ORF and its partners and other participating schools. Feedback and advice by ORF staff and its partners will be provided.

Participation in MIC for Spring 2018 is free for Lexington schools and free for Greater Columbus and Cincinnati schools that also participate in a River Explorer spring field trip. All equipment (i.e., aquaria, filters, etc.), mussels, and supplies will be provided. Duration can be 2 weeks up to 5 weeks. Availability is Sept. 1 thru Dec.15, Jan. 15 thru June 1.


For Columbus and Greater Cincinnati Schools: In order to be eligible to participate in MIC Greater Cincinnati and Columbus school/class MUST be registered and participate in a SPRING 2018 River Explorer field trip. A teacher must submit separate MIC and River Explorer applications. To be considered for the MIC program, BOTH the River Explorer registration and MIC application must be received by March 1.

Greater Columbus and Cincinnati school fees: $200 for first 2 weeks. $100 each additional week.


For Lexington/Frankfort Schools: No River Explorer participation requirement or fees for SPRING 2018. However, the MIC application must be received by March 1.

Lexington fees: No fees for SPRING 2018.

Questions? contact us or call 513-238-0196.