"To protect and restore the Florida coastal and Indian River Lagoon ecosystems
through education, research and community stewardship."

Campers contribute to restoration

Jun 17th, 2014 | Category: Blogs, MDC News, Oyster Restoration News, Shoreline Restoration News

Campers proudly show off their oyster mats

Our Mangrove Maniacs, the Marine Discovery Center’s 9-12 year old summer campers, learned all about oysters as part of their week of hands-on, feet-wet activities in our local waters. The students first engaged in a discussion about what an oyster is, why shellfish are important, and, of course, the best way to eat them (plenty of horseradish and hot sauce, they instructed!).

11Jun_MM4After the discussion, campers paired up to construct oyster mats that will be used to restore damaged oyster beds in the area. They worked together to attach cleaned oyster shells, donated from local seafood restaurants through the Shuck and Share oyster recycling program, to mesh mats using zip ties. The shells are secured onto the mats in a particular configuration to increase the number of oyster spat that can land on the new ‘artificial reef’ and grow into living oysters.

The Mangrove Maniacs created 14 new oyster mats, and put them together to replicate a restored reef. When placed together in shallow water, much like a quilt, the mats will create a foundation for new oysters and other organisms to grow.11Jun_MM2Oyster reefs create complex habitat for dozens of species, provide food for humans and other animals, and help secure the sediment against erosive forces such as wind and boat wake. Oyster also play an important role as filter feeders, keeping our waters clean and clear. Already, Shuck and Share volunteers and staff have helped deploy 775 oyster mats to create a ‘Living Shoreline’ at Canaveral National Seashore.


Mangrove Maniacs with their new oyster reef

Stay tuned for updates on camper contributions to this shell recycling project. They’ll be helping out all summer. We love planting the seed and nurturing environmental awareness and appreciation, and getting youth involved in oyster reef restoration is a great way to do that!