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River Museum invites community to help eradicate invasive species

The public is invited to join the National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium at the Mines of Spain State Recreation Area on April 27 from 10 a.m. to noon or 1 to 3 p.m. for what is being coined as an “Invasive Species Beatdown.”

The event is one of several conservation events planned by the River Museum throughout the month of April. The intent is to draw attention to various conservation topics through a month-long Party for the Planet celebration in conjunction with other facilities accredited by the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA).

“Party for the Planet is the largest combined Earth Day, Endangered Species Day, and World Oceans Day celebration,” said Jared McGovern, senior education manager at the Museum & Aquarium. “Our ‘Invasive Species Beatdown’ is a great way to partner with local conservation groups, encourage residents to get out in nature, and learn new and easy ways to be better stewards of our lands.”

McGovern will lead volunteers in making our public lands healthier through learning about and eliminating the alien and invasive Oriental bittersweet. Oriental bittersweet is a beautiful but deadly relative of native bittersweet. Fast growing and clingy, the plant can strangle nearby native plants and trees within a few short years.

Space for the event is limited, and volunteers interested in joining the Museum & Aquarium’s efforts should pre-register at Participation in the “Invasive Species Beatdown” is open to those eight and older; however, those under 18 must be accompanied by an adult. Necessary equipment will be provided to participants and waivers will be required prior to or upon arrival.

Other conservation events scheduled throughout April include Cocktails for Conservation, FrogWatch USA, and a Party for the Planet celebration. Details on these events can be found at

About the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA)
The Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) is a non-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of zoos and aquariums in the areas of conservation, education, science, and recreation. AZA represents more than 230 institutions in the United States and overseas that meet the highest standards in animal care. To learn more about AZA, visit