Brevard Zoo’s Palmer Hero of Conservation
By Space Coast Daily // May 12, 2013
recognized by Field & Stream magazine
BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA – Jody Palmer, oyster restoration community outreach coordinator, was recognized by Field & Stream magazine as a hero of conservation for her efforts in an ongoing collaborative oyster reef restoration project in the Indian River Lagoon – the most biologically diverse estuary in the continental United States.
“If I can get people excited about something as small as an oyster, I guess my passion shows,” said Palmer, who recruits and trains volunteers to prepare, build, and deploy oyster-shell mats in an ongoing collaborative reef project in central Florida’s Indian River Lagoon.
The oyster reef restoration project was started in 2005 by Linda Walters of the University of Central Florida. Palmer brought the project to the attention of Brevard Zoo, and they partnered with UCF and the Nature Conservancy in an effort to allow species to flourish in the Indian River Lagoon.
IN THE RUNNING FOR CONSERVATION HEREO OR THE YEAR
The project consists of preparing, building and deploying oyster-shell mats, constructed from mesh and oyster shells. This project has brought together more than 30,000 volunteers who have made more than 36,000 mats to restore 58 reefs in Mosquito Lagoon, according to Palmer.
Oysters are filter feeders that improve water quality and clarity by filtering water. They also are a food source and provide habitat for many species of wildlife.
Recognition as one of March’s heroes of conservation puts Palmer in the running to be the conservation hero of the year and has earned the conservation department $500 to put toward operations.
For more information about the oyster reef restoration project log on to BrevardZoo.org/conservation/local