Ohio River Foundation
ORF is dedicated to protecting and improving the water quality and ecology of the Ohio River and all waters in its watershed. ORF works towards these goals through environmental education and conservation activities that serve to inspire environmental stewardship for the benefit and enjoyment of current and future citizens. ORF has grown to offer programs in education and stewardship that reach thousands of schoolchildren each year and touch the lives of thousands more citizens by protecting water quality and improving quality of life.
Our River Explorer and Mussels in the Classroom programs work with schools by enhancing STEM learning while developing student interest in the environment and in conservation careers.
River Explorer - River Explorer is an innovative, inquiry based, outdoor learning-lab that provides experiential, activity-based environmental focused STEM education about the Ohio River and its watershed. Using nets, live specimens, and field grade equipment, students are junior scientists for the day and learn about the ecology and importance of the Ohio River, its tributaries, and watershed. Classes are taught in and along the rivers, streams, and creeks in the watershed; in Ohio, Indiana, and Kentucky.
Mussels in the Classroom - As the first classroom-based mussel education program in the US (maybe the world!), teachers use MIC to strengthen the real world connections that teachers seek to reinforce science curricula and help students better understand the complexity of aquatic environments. The MIC program comprises the following: An in-classroom visit from ORF education staff with freshwater mussel collateral and shells that involves a 45-minute classroom hands-on learning experience. Students learn about the importance of mussels to an ecosystem, their life cycle, and their current status in the environment. The class is then provided an aquarium and the necessary equipment to maintain and monitor their visiting mussels. Teachers and schools can elect to have tanks and mussels for 2 to 5 weeks.
Grades, Ages Served
Home School students grades 4-12.
Greater Columbus for both education programs, and Lexington for Mussels in the Classroom