Brevard Zoo Oyster Gardening Program Aims Improve Indian River Lagoon Water Quality

Brevard Zoo, in partnership with the Brevard County Natural Resources Department, will double the size of its Oyster Gardening volunteer program by the end of the year. The Oyster Gardening program, funded by the Brevard County Commissioners, is part of the larger Brevard Oyster Restoration project, available for residents with direct waterfront on the Indian River Lagoon. The program teaches participants to use the filter-feeding power of native oysters as a means of cleaning up local waterways. Volunteer oyster gardeners use special habitats suspended from their docks to grow oysters that will be used in future oyster reef restoration projects in Brevard County.

There are currently about 500 active Oyster Gardening volunteers, but the program is preparing to expand into a second phase that will train an additional 500 waterfront residents over the coming months. To get involved, qualified individuals must attend an educational workshop, where supplies and training will be provided. Reservations are required and can be made at www.BrevardOysterRestoration.org.

Oyster gardeners will not only grow oysters but also act as citizen scientists, monitoring their habitats to collect important data on growth, survivability and recruitment of oysters that will help determine the locations of future reef restoration sites.

Upcoming Oyster Gardening Workshops (reservations required):

8/9 9:30a.m. – 12:00p.m. Eastern Florida State College, Melbourne
8/9 1:00p.m. – 3:30p.m. Eastern Florida State College, Melbourne
9/12 9:30a.m. – 12:00p.m. Cocoa Beach Country Club, Cocoa Beach
9/13 9:30a.m. – 12:00p.m. Trinity Wellsprings Church, Satellite Beach
9/13 1:00p.m. – 3:30p.m. Trinity Wellsprings Church, Satellite Beach
9/20 9:30a.m. – 12:00p.m. Eastern Florida State College, Melbourne
9/20 1:00p.m. – 3:30p.m. Eastern Florida State College, Melbourne
10/9 9:30a.m. – 12:00p.m. Sandrift Community Center, Titusville