Kara shares clam knowledge at Loreto festival

June 4th, 2016 marked the date of the 4th Annual Chocolate Clam Festival in Loreto, Mexico. Hosted by the Restaurant and Bar Association of Loreto, the festival was attended by over 500 people from Mexico and abroad. This was the second year that I’ve worked with festival organizers to set up a biology education tent near the entrance.

This year’s tent featured a touch tank where participants could “meet a chocolate clam,” and learn about clam anatomy. I talked with visitors about how clams eat, breathe, and reproduce. In addition to showing people the ins and outs of clam anatomy, I also taught participants about the growth rings on a clam’s shell. These rings can not only be used to tell the clam’s approximate age, but also to learn about changing environmental conditions. For younger participants, there were coloring sheets of clamshells and a diagram of the clam life cycle.

The event was a success. Many participants of all ages visited the biology education tent throughout the evening, asking questions about the clam life cycle and the clam fishery of Loreto Bay. Children flocked to see the live clams squirt water from their siphons, and many drew pictures of the clam body parts they had learned about through the clam dissection demonstration that I did.


– Kara Pellowe, UMaine graduate student in Ecology and Environmental Sciences (and in residence at the DMC!)