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Last weekend in February, I went to the Marine Discovery Center in New Smyrna Beach (on the causeway) to volunteer for what I think is a worthwhile project...helping replenish the oyster beds at Chicken Island. Essentially, what they are doing is attaching oyster shells to plastic mats (made from plastic netting originally used to keep fish confined in aqua culture operations). Essentially, the empty oyster shells are drilled, and then 36 of them are attached with "zip ties" to each mat. The mats will be deployed around mid April. They are going to weight them down around the island. During the oyster spawn, the spawn sense the calcium carbonate emitted from the empty shells and attach themselves, thus replenishing the colony. Oysters are "filter feeders", and thus help maintain the water clarity, as well as provide a habitat for our "finny friends". They also prevent shoreline erosion from wave and tide action. This is a continuing operation, and volunteers will meet on the 2nd and 4th Saturday of each month until the project is completed, beginning at 9AM and running until 2 PM. You can come late and/or leave early if you don't want to stay the entire time. I think it's a dang good project, so I'd invite anyone in this area who wants to help out to stop by and help...an hour, two hours, or whatever. Any groups who want to participate during the week can also do so by making special arrangements. They need about 9,500 mats, so we aren't close yet. Deployment will begin before all the mats are finished. If you decide to join in, you may want to bring some "Jergens Lotion", LOL. You don't have to be a member...just show up. PM me with any questions. For a link to the MDC, click here:

http://www.marinediscoverycenter.org/
 
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