FHS project replenishes lagoon oysters

French Honors Society made oyster beds during club on Monday to help restore the oyster population and the environment in the Indian River Lagoon.

Junior Michelle Chin won The Green Connection Scholarship last February at Congres enabling her to travel to La Rochelle, France to learn ways to help the environment. The oyster restoration project was one of the few projects FHS will be doing to help the ecosystem.

Brevard Zoo Oyster Restoration Outreach Coordinator Jody Palmer talked to students about the importance of oysters in the lagoon.

“Oysters need a place to live so they can filter water, provide a habitat, prevent shoreline erosion and provide food,” she said via email. “By building oyster reefs, we are allowing the oyster larvae (babies) a solid substrate to land on so they have a nice place to grow and develop to provide the functions listed above.”

Palmer works with volunteers to make the beds and place them in various locations at the Mosquito Lagoon, a part of the Indian River Lagoon.

“We work with volunteers to prep materials that we then take out into the community to allow people to become educated on the project and then assist with oyster mat making, we take the mats and place them into the Mosquito Lagoon, and build an oyster reef,” she said.  “We go out and collect data and do research on these reefs each year to monitor their continued success.”

FHS Publicity Officer Sarah Tanke volunteers at the Brevard Zoo and has had previous experience with making oyster beds.

“We drill the holes in the shells so they can be attached to the mats with zip tie. We also make the mats because we all know how important oyster restoration is,” she said.

Palmer says it’s important for students to get involved in their community and to help conserve the natural resources available.

“It’s a sense of accomplishment that they have helped the Indian River Lagoon, a very important waterway right here in our backyard,” she said. “It’s important to have a community based volunteer project that people can give their time to. Oyster restoration is a great project because it allows for that opportunity and helps the environment at the same time.”

For more information on oyster restoration contact Jody Palmer at http://www.BrevardZoo.org/Conservation or see a schedule of public events in the county at http://www.BrevardZoo.org/.

By Brianna Silvestre