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Traveling Trunk Adventure

Dive into Environmental Learning

Aquatic invasive species pose a real threat to our lakes and wetlands — without natural predators, they often displace native species and negatively impact recreation, water quality, pollutant cycling, and habitat.

Teachers and their students can play an important role in helping our environment by learning about aquatic invasive species and how to stop them from spreading.

Choose from two different Traveling Trunk Adventures:

Exotic Aquatics — for ages 9 to adult

Get up close and personal with exotic aquatic animals and plants! Your students will have fun learning about and touching zebra mussels, Eurasian watermilfoil, sea lamprey, purple loosestrife, and Eurasian ruffe — all invaders that are in the news and may be in a lake or wetland near you.

What’s in the Trunk?

  • 9-lesson curriculum — developed in cooperation with University of Minnesota researchers and state environmental agencies — integrates math, social studies, geography, language arts, and other subjects
  • Museum-quality preserved specimens of zebra mussels, Eurasian ruffe, purple loosestrife, Eurasian watermilfoil, and spiny waterfleas
  • A realistic rubber sea lamprey
  • Imitation rusty crayfish
  • Models of native clams
  • Books
  • Maps
  • Posters
  • Magnifying glasses
  • An award-winning video produced by the Minnesota DNR

How much does it cost to rent?

  • $40 for a ten-day period if shipped outside the Duluth-Superior area. Cost does not include return shipping.
  • $15 for a ten-day period if you pick it up.


Doug Jensen
(218) 726-8712

Exotic Aquatics Lending Centers


Isle Royale National Park
Houghton (906) 482-0984
Michigan Sea Grant College Program
East Lansing (517) 353-9748
Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore
Empire (231) 326-5134 ext. 330


Minnesota Sea Grant Program
Duluth (218) 726-8712
University of Minnesota
Bell Museum of Natural History
Minneapolis (612) 626-2299
Yoyageurs National Park
International Falls (218) 283-9107 ext. 6163


St. Croix National Scenic Riverway
St. Croix Falls (320) 629-2148
Wisconsin Sea Grant Institute
Green Bay (920) 683-4697

Zebra Mussel Mania — for ages 8 to 14

Learn all about zebra mussels and other invasive species with this award-winning science kit and curriculum. Zebra mussels, which invaded North American in 1998, have caused serious economic and environmental problems. They spread rapidly from the Great Lakes region in to many inland waterways and are found in 23 states.

Zebra Mussel Mania includes experiments, role-playing games, stories, and other hands-on activities. This Traveling Trunk, which meets National Science Education Standards, will help you teach kids about a wide range of problems associated with zebra mussels and other invaders. Students will learn through inquiry and discovery while understanding how to become involved in community action projects that will help prevent the spread of zebra mussels.

What’s in the Trunk?

  • A teacher-friendly curriculum guide with 10 activities that integrate science with mate, social studies, geography, language arts, and other subjects
  • Student activity sheets
  • Zebra mussel shells
  • Native mussel shells
  • 4 video programs
  • Posters
  • Shell classification guide (dichotomous key)
  • Web of Life ecology game
  • Pre- and post-tests
  • A teacher resource portfolio filled with background reading


Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant
(217) 333-9448

Zebra Mussel Mania Lending Centers


UC Sea Grant Extension
San Bruno (510) 219-9125


Maritime Aquarium
Norwalk (203) 852-0700


Children’s Discovery Museum
Normal (309) 433-3444
National Great Rivers Museum
Alton (618) 462-9676 ext. 7807
Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum
Chicago (773) 755-5100 ext. 3047
Southern Illinois University
Office of Science & Mathematics Education
Edwardsville (618) 650-2149
University of Illinois Extension
Grundy County (815) 942-2725
Orpheum Children’s Science Museum
Champaign (217) 352-5895


4-H Youth Development
Purdue University
W. Lafayette (765) 494-8433
Great Lakes Research & Education Center
Indiana Dunes in Porter (219) 929-1707
Lake County Soil and Water Conservation District
Crown Point (219) 663-0588 ext. 3
Project WILD
Natural Resources Ed Center
Indianapolis (317) 547-3104


Louisiana Sea Grant
Baton Rouge (225) 578-1558


Massachusetts Institute of Technology Sea Grant College Program
Cambridge (617) 253-9308


Belle Isle Nature Zoo
Detroit Zoological Institute
Royal Oak (313) 852-4056 ext. 202
MSU Extension - Michigan Sea Grant
Ann Arbor (734) 764-1118


Minnesota Sea Grant Program
Duluth (218) 726-8712
Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge
Bloomington (952) 858-0731

New York

Finger Lakes Institute Geneva
Geneva (315) 781-4380
National Aquatic Species Clearinghouse
Brockport (585) 395-2516
New York Sea Grant Institute
Buffalo (716) 645-2088


Lake Erie Nature and Science Center
Bay Village (440) 871-2900 ext. 202


Pennsylvania Sea Grant
Chester (814) 898-6421


San Antonio Zoo
San Antonio (210) 734-7184 ext. 1505


ECHO — The Leahy Center for Lake Champlain
Burlington (802) 864-1848

West Virginia

Oglebay Zoo
Wheeling (304) 243-4033


Gordon Bubolz Nature Preserve
Appleton (920) 731-6041
Heckrodt Wetland Reserve
Menasha (920) 720-9349
Wisconsin Center for Environmental Education
Stevens Point (715) 346-4950
Disovery World
Milwaukee (414) 347-1489


Ontario Federation of Anglers & Hunters
Peterborough, Ontario (705) 748-6324 ext. 238


For Educators:


Doug Jensen
Aquatic Invasive Species Specialist

This page last modified on February 15, 2017     © 1996 – 2020 Regents of the University of Minnesota     The University of Minnesota is an equal opportunity educator and employer.
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