On Wednesday, May 25, 2011, students from Orlando Science Schools (OSS) will welcome representatives from The Nature Conservancy and Brevard Zoo to learn how to construct “oyster mats” as part of the Indian River Lagoon Oyster Reef Restoration Project.  The goal of this event is to build 200+ oyster mats, making it the largest oyster mat-making event ever in Central Florida.


Students will watch a presentation about oyster reefs, the lagoon environment, and the benefits of oysters; and then be instructed on how to create the oyster mats.  Each oyster mat requires 36 oyster shells attached vertically to a mesh mat utilizing zip ties. The mats are later attached to each other in the water, forming a large quilt-like structures that are anchored in place to create permanent artificial oyster reefs.  Forty-tworeefs have been restored in the Indian River Lagoon since 2007.

 

Oyster reefs benefit marine flora and fauna, improve water quality and help protect shorelines. Globally, 85 percent of oyster reefs have been lost, making them the most severely impacted marine habitat on Earth.  Restoring these reefs will greatly improve Florida’s marine

ecosystems - please see the Oyster Reef Fact Sheet here. 

We need parent volunteers on Wednesday, May 25th, anytime from 7:30am to 5:00pm.  Volunteers DO NOT need to be here all day, even an hour or two of your time would be a big help.  Please contact Ms Becc at the front desk or Marisa Dawson at 407-924-6294.  This will be a fun activity to enjoy with your child and his or her classmates.