Friday, September 7, 2012

The 'Shell'ebration Continues!

A little more than a month ago we walked you through a day in the life of the glamorous (albeit smelly) party that picking up oysters for an oyster recycling program is. While all aspects of our recycling program here at the GTM Research Reserve continue, we wanted to take a brief pause from “boogying down” with our oyster shells to bring you some very exciting updates.

The Numbers

Two of the seven successfully installed sections of oyster reef.
First we would like to puff up our own feathers and brag a bit about what we have helped to accomplish so far along with the GTM Research Reserve staff (whom we could not be accomplishing any of this without by the way- call them our “party hosts”!). 46 volunteers have contributed more than 470 hours of volunteer work to the recycling program since March. So far we have successfully installed seven sections of oyster reef. These seven sections required 1,260 bags of shell equaling more than 37,800 pounds in total! Although we still have quite a ways to go, it is exciting to reflect upon all we have accomplished so far.

The Babies

Yep! You read it correctly! This party is family friendly, and the “babies” have arrived at our oyster reef! The life cycle of the oyster begins with a free-swimming larval stage that eventually attaches to a hard substrate forming an oyster spat. The spat then begins a growth period that is classified into sub-adult and adult phases. It is with as much pride as any parent that we announce the arrival of our very own oyster spats amongst our completed reef sections. We expect, by the end of the project, to identify many other species benefitting from the restoration of this oyster reef nursery habitat and look forward to sharing those with you in the upcoming project phases!

Oyster spat on a shell at our restoration site.



The “Shocking” Announcement

SHELLSHOCKED follows efforts to prevent the
extinction of wild oyster reefs, which
keep our oceans healthy by filtering water
and engineering ecosystems. Wild oyster reefs
have been declared 'the most severely
impacted marine habitat on Earth’.
Now scientists, government officials, artists and
environmentalists are fighting to bring oysters
back to the former oyster
capital of the world - New York Harbor.

We recently learned that the director and producers of a new (not yet released) and powerful documentary titled SHELLSHOCKED: Saving Oysters to SaveOurselves read about and were so impressed with our community-based efforts that they offered us a pre-screening of the film! The pre-screening event will consist of the 40 minute film, a question-and-answer follow up with film director Emily Driscoll that speaks specifically to what this means to us in NE Florida and a tie-in to our project at the NERR, and finally an oyster tasting/shucking demonstration by the Matanzas Inlet Restaurant. The screening will coincide with the 2012 National Estuaries Day being held September 21st & 22nd. Click here to learn more about the events and to reserve your place!

The“Actual” Party!!

The sweetest "oyster" you will ever eat sits
against the backdrop of the GTM Research Reserve.
Top a cupcake with icing, graham
cracker crumbs, a “shell” cookie, and
a white chocolate covered espressobean
or yogurt covered raisin and you can
enjoy one too!
We wanted to end our updates today with a huge THANK YOU to Lauren Flynn and all of the GTM Research Reserve staff members that made us feel extra special at a recent thank you luncheon put on for us oyster volunteers. We were treated to some amazing food, oyster themed decorations & trivia, and the cutest “oyster” cupcakes you’ve ever seen!

To learn more about the oyster project and volunteer opportunities with the GTM NERR, visit our Volunteer Wiki site at:

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