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

Maniacs Make Mats

Jun 19th, 2014 | Category: Blogs, MDC News, Oyster Restoration News, Shoreline Restoration News

19Jun_MM1This week during the Mangrove Maniac summer camp for 9-12 year olds, campers created 24 new oyster mats through the Shuck and Share oyster recycling project! The students learned about estuaries and the importance of oysters during the activity. Having already kayaked and spent time exploring the mangroves and spoil islands during camp, the students were able to identify many organisms that call the estuary home.

Campers worked in pairs to attached drilled oyster shells to UV-resistant plastic mesh mats. They caught on quickly and soon were creating their 2nd, or even 3rd, mat! The mats will be used for shoreline restoration projects conducted by the Marine Discovery Center or our partner organizations. Before long, the group of campers had created their own mini oyster reef, which is now awaiting deployment in the Indian River Lagoon.

19Jun_MM2When deployed, oyster mats are attached together and weighed down to create the foundation for a new reef in an area with damaged or lost oyster beds. Within a matter of days or weeks, invertebrates including floating oyster larvae, settle onto the recycled oyster shells and begin to grow. Fish, crabs, and larger organisms looking for food and a place to hide will soon follow.

Shuck and Share is a community effort to recycle oyster shells from local seafood restaurants back into the natural environment. If your organization, class, youth group, summer camp, or group of friends wants to create oyster mats or bags for shoreline restoration, please contact Annie@marinediscoverycenter.org or call 386-428-4828. We can all help keep our waterways healthy and beautiful! 19Jun_MM3