COLUMBIA, Mo.– Students ages 14-18 can learn about the nation’s longest river through hands-on activities this summer. “Meet the Big Muddy: The Missouri River Academy,” July 20-24, is part of the Summers @ Mizzou program hosted by the University of Missouri Extension 4-H Center for Youth Development.

“Participants will learn from experts in their fields about the ecology, history and biology of aquatic life in the ecosystem of the nation’s longest river,” said Bob Pierce, University of Missouri Extension fisheries and wildlife specialist.

Youth will learn how biologists study the fish that swim the Missouri River’s muddy depths, how to analyze water quality as part of the Stream Team program, how scientists track migrating birds and how conservationists manage floodplains and wetlands, Pierce said.

Missouri 4-H is hosting the Missouri River Academy in partnership with Missouri River Relief, a not-for-profit organization that conducts cleanup, education and stewardship activities along the Missouri River.

If conditions allow, participants will explore the river by boat, helping Missouri River Relief clean up trash from the river banks and floodplains, says Melanie Cheney, assistant program coordinator for Missouri River Relief.

Students will stay in university dorms while attending four days of workshops, river excursions and service-learning projects.

Registrations must be received by May 7 to qualify for early-registration discount. Final registration deadline is June 30.

For more information about the Missouri River Academy and other Summers @ Mizzou programs, go to

For more information about Missouri River Relief, go to or contact Cheney at 573-443-0292.

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