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EAST ALTON – Illinois RiverWatch will be premiering their film “Biodiversity of Freshwater Mussels: Community Science in Action” along with a short presentation highlighting community science during the next National Great Rivers Research and Education Center’s Neighbor Nights event, Jan. 17.

This month’s event will be held in a hybrid format, giving participants the opportunity to join virtually or in-person at the NGRREC field Station, located at 1 Confluence Way, East Alton, Illinois.

“The goal of this film will be to demystify the overall process of scientific research,” said RiverWatch Director and Stream Ecologist Danelle Haake. “We also want to show that community science projects are for everyone and no experience in science is required to participate.”

The Field Station will open at 6 p.m. for in-person guests, with a tour starting at 6:15 p.m. The hybrid portion of the event will begin at 7 p.m., beginning with a 30-minute presentation from RiverWatch Technician and Volunteer Coordinator Hannah Griffis. 

“We hope this film highlights the great work being done by the Upper Sangamon River Conservancy (USRC),” Griffis said. “The film talks about the experience of being a community science participant and shows how communities form around these experiences.”

Partners on the mussel project include Illinois RiverWatch, USRC, the Illinois Natural History Survey, St. Louis Zoo, and the Missouri Botanical Gardens.

The film was produced by Jason Lindsey Production and filming took place this past August at four locations throughout the Upper Sangamon River Basin, located in East-Central Illinois, at mussel monitoring events hosted by the USRC. 

Funding for this project was provided by the Let’s Talk About Water grant through CUAHSI the (Consortium of Universities for the Advancement of Hydrologic Science, Inc.) from funding provided by the National Science Foundation as well as Living Earth Collaborative.

Those interested in attending the event, register at or contact Griffis at or (618) 468-2781.

Visit to learn more about the Illinois RiverWatch community science programs.  

National Great Rivers Research and Education Center (NGRREC℠)

Founded in 2002 as a collaborative partnership between the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Lewis and Clark Community College, NGRREC is dedicated to the study of great river systems and the communities that use them. The center aspires to be a leader in scholarly research, education, and outreach related to the interconnectedness of large rivers, their floodplains, watersheds, and their associated communities. To learn more about NGRREC, visit