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

Embry Riddle AFROTC helps restore lagoon

Nov 20th, 2014 | Category: Blogs, MDC News, Oyster Restoration News, Shoreline Restoration News

IMG_20141115_125350234_HDRWith a resounding victory for Amendment 1, Floridians across the state made it clear that they care about preserving the natural beauty of our  state. Along with voting, many citizens are also taking action in their local communities through programs like MDC’s Shuck and Share oyster recycling project. The turnout of volunteers at the most recent Shuck and Share oyster mat-making event was a strong testament of local interest in taking care of the environment. IMG_20141115_101023255_HDR

A total of 39 volunteers came out on a Saturday morning to make oyster mats using recycled oyster shells. Almost 2 dozen of these volunteers were Air Force ROTC cadets from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach. Many of the cadets had started the morning by volunteering at a Walk to End Alzheimer’s, and came directly to MDC afterwards to continue a full day of service.

IMG_20141115_101156359Other volunteers included a group from Spruce Creek High School, several students and a teacher from Deltona High School looking to get more involved in coastal restoration in Volusia County, and others from the community. It was encouraging to have so many energetic students dedicated to improving their community. Here at MDC, we love working with local schools and universities to create hands-on, feet-wet experiences to educate residents and visitors, as well as improve Florida’s coastal ecosystems.

In a matter of 4 hours, the team of volunteers constructed a record 101 mats,  and also performed ‘quality control’ on about 55 mats that had been previously made by other volunteers. All oyster mats are double checked before going into the lagoon to ensure proper construction. The mats will be placed in the Indian River Lagoon to restore damaged oyster beds or secure eroding banks. New oysters and other invertebrates will grow on top of the recycled shell material, forming a living reef in a matter of weeks. These reefs provide vital habitat to many species, and help prevent erosion along our shorelines.

IMG_20141115_101321733The next Shuck and Share event will be Saturday, December 6th from 9am – 1pm at the Marine Discovery Center. Volunteers will be using recycled shells to create oyster bags for restoration. Oyster bags are applied similarly to oyster mats, and provide the foundation for new oyster reefs.

For more information about oyster restoration or how to get involved with Shuck and Share, please contact the Marine Discovery Center at 386-428-4828.