‘Mussel Man’ returns to West Forest

West Forest Elementary students Clover Morrison and Zackery Hawk discuss mussel shells with Philip Mathias during his visit to the school on Tuesday, Nov. 13. (Submitted photo)
From staff reports

Philip Mathias made his third annual visit to West Forest Elementary School in Tionesta on Tuesday, Nov. 13.

Mr. Hale’s fourth-grade and Dr. Sawtelle’s ninth-grade watched Philip’s presentation about the local endangered mussels that were removed from the Allegheny River prior to the construction of the Hunter Station Bridge.

Mussels are bottom feeders that use filtration for nutrients.The section of Allegheny River at Hunter’s Station is one of the best locations in all of the United States for mussels.

The students also learned that larvae from mussels use fish for hosts. They attach themselves to the gills to receive their nutrients.

When able to survive alone, they drop to the river bed. This lesson relates to future lessons on trout that both classes will receive.