GODFREYThe 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.”

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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 L&C 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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About Lewis and Clark Community College

 L&C, founded in 1970, is a two-year higher education institution with multiple campuses, a river research center, humanities center, training center and Community Education Centers located throughout its more than 220,000-person district. L&C offers associate degrees and certificates in more than 40 career programs, numerous transfer options, College for Kids, a nationally accredited dual credit program for high school students, GED completion and workforce training, among others. The college serves approximately 15,000 credit and non-credit students annually and is a national and state award-winning standout among Illinois community colleges. The college also employs more than 600 people, and adds $369.4 million in regional income annually, which represents 4.7 percent of the regional economy.

About The Captain Planet Foundation

Based on the critically-acclaimed animated series “Captain Planet and the Planeteers,” CPF was co-founded in 1991 by media mogul Ted Turner and producer Barbara Pyle. Since then, the Captain Planet Foundation has played a critical role in helping to ensure that the next generation of business leaders and policy makers are environmentally literate citizens, who leverage technology and information to manage and protect the air, land and water upon which all life depends.

CPF is a grant-making foundation that has funded more than 2,000 hands-on environmental education projects with schools and non-profits that serve children in all 50 U.S. states and in 23 countries internationally. More than 1.2 million children have directly participated in and benefited from these educational projects. In addition to its Small Grants Program, the Captain Planet Foundation also operates the following programs: Project Learning Garden, Project Endangered Species, the Leadership Center, SAGES, Planeteer Clubs, and a number of other science education initiatives that promote the intersections between technology, innovation, the environment and personal action. For more information visit www.captainplanetfoundation.org.


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