The Show Us Your Mussels Challenge

Minnesota middle and high school students create original digital media campaigns educating the public about the importance of native mussels, the impact of water quality has on native mussels, and what actions we need to take to ensure their survival. The school groups who reach the most people in combination with receiving the most votes win a FREE field trip to the Minnesota Zoo! A free field trip includes bussing, Zoo admission for participating students and adult chaperones (as per student/adult ratios), parking and interactive session with our Zoo staff at the Mussel cabin.

All participating schools receive support from the Zoo’s mussel education staff including professional development, access to resources and curriculum, and school visits. For more information see the Frequently Asked Questions below or email us at [email protected].

Here are a few past participating projects:

Sign up for the challenge by clicking the + sign to open the registration form


Free Professional Development

Signed up for the Challenge and don’t know where to start? Here are two options to get you started.

Virtual Teacher Training (90 minutes, on-demand viewing)

Watch the Show Us Your Mussels Virtual Teacher Training videos to learn more about native freshwater mussels, water quality, and the Minnesota Zoo and DNR’s important mussel conservation work. This training is self-guided, allowing you to access the information at a time and place that works for you. The training is divided into 9 different short videos so you can pick which topics work for you.

To watch this asynchronous training, simply click on the following link to our YouTube playlist at:

In-Person Teacher Training (5 hours, at the Minnesota Zoo, Saturday, October 14)

Come to the Minnesota Zoo and learn about freshwater mussels through hands-on activities and a behind-the-scenes tour of our Mussel cabin. In addition to receiving CEUs, participants will leave with more knowledge of these at-risk species and resources to implement the Show Us Your Mussel Challenge for the 2023-2024 school year.

You must register to attend. Participation in the Challenge is not required to attend training. To register, click here.

2022-2023 Show Us Your Mussel Winners!

The Minnesota Zoo would like to thank the 15 schools who participated in the Show Us Your Mussel Challenge this year. This year they reached over 42,000 people!

Apollo High School (St Cloud)
Braham Area Schools (Braham)
Brooklyn Middle STEAM School (Brooklyn Center)
Cretin-Durham Hall (St Paul)
Discovery Public School (Faribault)
Harbor City International (Duluth)
Heritage E-Stem (West St Paul)
Humboldt High School (St Paul)
Lakeview School (Cottonwood)
Melrose High School (Melrose)
NRHEG Elem (New Richland)
Shakopee West Middle (Shakopee)
School of Environmental Studies (Apple Valley)
SoWashCo Online High School (South Washington County)
Washburn High School (Minneapolis)

Frequently Asked Questions
What is the “Show Us Your Mussels” Challenge?
Why should we participate in the challenge?
How is this project aligned to my curriculum?
Is there any curriculum developed to support the Challenge?
Is there any professional development to support the Challenge?
What other support do you provide for teachers doing the Challenge?
Can members of your mussel conservation team come visit me at my school?
What types of projects can be created?
What are some best practices that students may choose to promote through their campaigns?
How will the winners be selected?
When is the challenge?
What do the winning groups receive?
When will the winners be announced?
When will field trips occur for the winning schools?
What are the important dates to remember?