Kids and Mollusks

Not many folks think about mollusks. Nor do many know that there is a lab in Frankfort, Kentucky dedicated to mollusks. But there is. This week KWA helped bring students from Rogers Elementary School and Wolfe County High School (both in Eastern Kentucky) to the Center for Mollusk Conservation in Frankfort.

Students toured the lab and got a chance to see how the center protects mollusks and restores their habitats. Mollusks, also known as freshwater mussels, are native to most Kentucky waterways and are an indicator of a river’s health.

Unfortunately, many species of mollusks have disappeared from our waterways due to pollution. Of the 103 species of mussels native to Kentucky, 20 have completely disappeared and 36 more are considered rare or endangered.

By giving students a hands-on introduction to the under-appreciated mollusk, we hope to give them a new reverence for waterways and inspire them to learn more about biology and environmental sciences.