Conservation Science Updates

Updated December 1, 2021
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Help Us Bag Oysters

Help us bag oysters to use in lagoon restoration projects! These events are open to the public. Saturdays, 9am – 12pm | 12/4, 1/8, 2/5, 3/5, 4/2

The biodegradable oyster bags, filled with shells recycled from local seafood restaurants, will be placed into the lagoon to help stabilize shorelines and provide a foundation for oyster communities to rebuild. They provide a place for tiny floating oysters, or spat, to settle and grow, and the cumulative weight of the new oyster growth helps build and strengthen the reef.

Oyster Bagging

Wear clothes you don’t mind getting a little dirty, and make sure to bring sun protection and reusable water bottle! Volunteers 16 and under must be accompanied by an adult.
No RSVP is necessary. If you would like more information please contact Jessy Wayles at

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Marsh Madness

Marsh Madness with Atlantic High School

In late November we hosted students from Atlantic High School as part of “Marsh Madness”, a program for advanced high schoolers in Volusia County schools. They traveled by boat to Firecracker Island, learning all about the estuary, and while on the island participated in sessions about water quality, trash cleanup, and plant life.

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Pepper Bustin’

In early November eight volunteers gathered at the Marine Discovery Center to remove Brazilian peppertrees from the southwest corner of MDC property. The “tree busters” were organized by Jessy Wayles, MDC’s Conservation Science Coordinator, to keep this invasive species in check. This was the second eradication day coordinated this fall to eradicate Brazilian peppertrees from MDC property. Tree busting events are done here in the fall for two reasons: 1) It’s finally cool enough to put on long pants and long sleeves for the tough task; and 2) Berries on the plant ripen in early December. Timing is important to get rid of Brazilian peppertrees before seeds ripen and are dispersed. Learn more…

Brazilian Pepper Busting
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To participate in our conservation science programs, you must first become an MDC Volunteer.

Visit our volunteer page for information or contact Volunteer Coordinator Heather Gilder at

To learn more about our citizen science and shoreline restoration projects, contact Conservation Science Coordinator Jessy Wayles at

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Our Mission:

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