Freshwater Mussels

Adopt a Mussel

Support river restoration and our Mussels in the Classroom education program!

Give the Gift of River Conservation!

Donate at the $25 level or above and you can adopt a mussel. Your donation will be used for food, aquariums and other supplies to care for your mussel(s). Funds also support ORF’s work restoring critical habitat for mussels and other aquatic creatures. See below for a list of our adoptable mussels. 

Freshwater mussels serve as our rivers’ natural filters, straining the water and eating everything from dead leaves to algae. But pollution, habitat destruction and overfishing are taking a toll on these important animals: Nearly half of the 127 mussel species once found in the Ohio River Basin are now considered extinct, endangered or species of concern.

Ohio River Foundation’s mussels visit classrooms around the region, serving as ambassadors, promoting a healthy environment and helping enhance student education. Mussels in the Classroom (MIC) is the first program of its kind in the nation, serving thousands of students each year.

Symbolically adopting for a friend or loved one is the perfect gift for holidays, birthdays, and anniversaries. Make Adopt a Mussel an annual tradition for your family!

Feel free to adopt one or several mussels. Our mussels were raised and reared in a research facility and were not taken from the wild.

To help you choose, we’ve put together bios of our adoptable mollusks: 

Mariah Mussel

The most glamorous of our mussels, Mariah likes to hang out among the fancy rocks on the riverbed, like Quartz.

She’s proud that she won ‘Miss Mussel 2018’.

Maverick Mussel

Maverick is feisty and will squirt you if you try to pick him up. He is not afraid of working hard and getting dirty, and is always trying to break his own record for gallons filtered in a day.

Moe Mussel

Moe enjoys attending the Cincinnati Coffee Festival as a mussel ambassador, and believes that his filtration makes the best coffee. He also believes the crowds have actually come to see him.

Mandy Mussel

A lifelong Cincinnati Reds fan, Mandy dreams of being the next Reds mascot. She likes to pretend she is running the bases with her foot, leaving trails on the riverbed.

Monty Mussel

Monty is a bodybuilder, and likes to show off his ‘muscles’ to the other mussels. He believes he can bury into the bottom substrate faster than any other mussel.

Maryann Mussel

A self-proclaimed nerd about water quality, she always ensures that the water she expels is of the highest quality.

Melody Mussel

You will often see Melody with her foot out, freely exploring her surroundings. She enjoys her 100% organic, vegan diet of algae.

Mike Mussel

Mike fancies himself a superhero for filtering pollutants out of the water. He secretly calls himself the ‘pollution solution’ when he is pretending to be a superhero.


Your Donation Makes a Big Impact

  • $25 can provide food for the freshwater mussel “ambassadors” we use in our Mussels in the Classroom program.
  • $100 can buy water quality equipment to enable us to identify pollution problems.
  • $500 can help 50 students be River Explorers for a day of learning in a river or creek.
  • $1,000 can plant 100 native trees to restore critical habitat and help keep our water clean.