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Let us connect you to authentic conservation action through hands-on experiences. Learn more about these engagement opportunities below.

Big River C.A.A.R.E.

Monarch Butterfly

Big River C.A.A.R.E., presented by Dimensional Brewing Company and Dark Bird Tap House will engage teens in building value and connection with a place. That place in this instance being the Mississippi River, and later on other big rivers in our region. These boats, will be the vehicle used to create a safe, fun, and relevant experience for students who do not yet have a strong relationship with our rivers and through these experiences we hope to instill a sense of comfort with, understanding of, and love for our big rivers.

Part of our mission is to inspire stewardship of rivers through education experiences. These experiences will catapult students down their pathway towards environmental literacy and inspire them to steward rivers, to take actions that will improve the health and wellbeing of our waters.

Donate Here  

Special thank you to our sponsors:

Darkbird Taphouse logoDimensional Brewing Company logo One 4 Water logo

Become a Conservation Volunteer

Become a conservation volunteer with the National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium.

  • Conservation Volunteer: Work and play alongide our conservation team on various conservation projects in the community, including habitat restoration, mussel survey work, and head starting rare prairie plants. 
  • Conservation Action Days: Join the Dubuque County Conservation Board, the River Museum, and other local partners to act on behalf of the Mississippi River and its watershed. Conservation Action Days are tailored to families and adults and include efforts to save endangered species, create new wildlife habitats, and restore habitats through invasive species removal, trash clean up, tree plantings, and citizen science initiatives.
  • Teen Stewardship Team: Become part of a delegration of dedicated local teens and their efforts to inspire positive change through education. Empower communities to take action in creating a better world for future generations. This team is designed by teens, led by teens, and for teens. The River Museum operates as a facilitator and convener--finding resources and providing support for the team's passion and connecting those passions to community action opportunities and applicable partnerships.

Contact Jared McGovern at or 563-557-9545 x215.


Mussel Monitoring

What’s SUPSY? Other than a terrible pun, SUPSY stands for Submersible, UPwelling, SYstem. A tool used in raising juvenile freshwater mussels to a size large enough where they can be tagged and released back into the wild as part of varying species restoration projects.The project is led by our partners with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service’s Genoa National Fish Hatchery and the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.

North America has the highest diversity of freshwater mussels in the world. These magnificent mollusks are considered by many scientists to be the most imperiled group of animals in North America, with roughly 70 percent extinct or imperiled. What is more, the general public is still largely unaware of this problem and unaware of mussels' importance as natural water filters, nutrient cyclers, and a keystone of our freshwater habitats. 

This is where we come in.The River Museum works to inspire stewardship, and hope by engaging our community in real, authentic, conservation. We engage high school and college students in formal mussel programming and internships, museum visitors who wander onto our dock, and people walking the stream bank on the Bee Branch Creek. We flex our conservation "mussels" by engaging others in and connecting people to the restoration of these imperiled species.

Become a river steward by joining us in our work or serve as a citizen scientist and contribute to a valuable data set through the Wisconsin Mussel Monitoring Program linked below.


Monarch SAFE

Monarch Butterfly

Our monarch vision is that native, pollinator-friendly plantings become the norm in gardens, throughout cities, and within farmlands. This will create a conservation corridor between Canada and Mexico, leading to annual celebrations of monarch migrations and the comeback of this amazing species.

SAFE stands for Saving Animals From Extinction. The purpose of SAFE programs is to bring groups of AZA (Association of Zoos and Aquariums) members together with field-based partners to enhance the probability of conservation success for threatened species or a group of related taxa in the wild. SAFE species programs help AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums do more conservation in a better way.

Specifically, SAFE species programs: 

  • Protect threatened animals in the wild
  • Build on established recovery plans and track records of commitment
  • Prioritize collaboration among AZA member institutions and field-based partners
  • Implement both strategic conservation and public engagement activities
  • Measure and report real conservation

Join us and all of our partners across the country by:

  • Promoting wildlife friendly landscaping at your homes to help feed the migration
  • Pledging to reduce pesticide use on your properties
  • Choosing native species in your landscaping such as native milkweed instead of tropical milkweed
  • Converting turf to wildflower milkweed meadows
  • Enjoying watching wild monarchs instead of rearing them indoors
  • Sharing your monarch sightings with community scientists
  • Encouraging others to rethink what it means and looks like to have a healthy, attractive yard

Lean more about how you can become a steward in your own back yard by visiting and participating in our partners programs below.

Good Neighbor Iowa  
Plant. Grow. Fly.