The Vision for OysterCorps!
To establish a training academy focused on oyster habitat restoration, strengthening coastal resilience, and economic diversification through aquaculture. OysterCorps members are youth ages 17 through 25 years old (Veterans up to age 27) who reside in North Florida between Pensacola and Tallahassee. Those who complete the program will earn a series of certifications, a certificate of completion, and an AmeriCorps education award.
O.Y.S.T.E.R Offer Your Shell To Enhance Restoration What is O.Y.S.T.E.R?
A collaborative effort between the Apalachicola National Estuarine Research Reserve--Florida Department of Environmental Protection, the Conservation Corps of the Forgotten Coast, Apalachicola Bay Systems Initiative (ABSI)- FSUML, the City of Apalachicola and five area restaurants to reuse oyster shells recycled from area restaurants for restoration projects.
What does O.Y.S.T.E.R hope to accomplish?
Use oyster shells to provide natural materials to build breakwaters that protect Franklin County shorelines from erosion and provide create habitat for marine organisms. The recycled shell will also be used by the Apalachicola Bay Systems Initiative in their efforts to restore the bay. Spat spawned at the FSUML hatchery will be placed on the recycled shell and then placed in the bay to help jump start some of the oyster bars. Recycling the shell also keeps them out of the restaurant’s dumpster and out of the landfill.
What is required of restaurants who agree to participate O.Y.S.T.E.R?
Collect top shell of shucked oysters and store them in the lidded 5-gallon buckets provided by the Corps. Place the buckets outside to be picked up on Tuesday and Friday. The buckets will be replaced with clean 5-gallon buckets.
What’s in it for the restaurant?
Recognition as a partner in the effort to recycle oyster shells. Participating restaurants will receive recognition via social media and printed materials that recognize their participation.
What is Oyster Corps?
The Oyster Corps is a new pilot program under the Conservation Corps of the Forgotten Coast, a program that trains young adults on restoration practices. Now in its 6th year, the Conservation Corps has a history of completing significant environmental restoration projects, responding to disasters, and meeting critical community needs. The Corps has employed, trained and provided service opportunities to over 210 young adults, earning over 1080 industry certifications, completing over 160 conservation/construction projects, and responding to 7 regional disasters. Oyster Corps is modeled after a similar program in Escambia and Santa Rosa counties that has been very successful.
How does it work?
Members who will come to your restaurant and collect the top shells you have saved from the trash. They will take them to the staging area where they will be cured and then used for building living shorelines in the county. This project is funded by the Northwest Florida Water Management District and the Nature Conservancy’s GulfCorps Program, this program was created as a pilot program to collect oyster shells from area restaurants to use in shoreline restoration projects. A similar program is happening in Santa Rosa County.
Where can I get more information?
For more information about the program, contact Anita Grove at the Apalachicola National Estuarine Research Reserve Anita.Grove@dep.state.florida.us or call (850) 653-5951.