Oyster Restoration Project at Brevard Zoo Receives Conservation Award

By  //  September 25, 2013

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more than 36,000 volunteers assisted

ABOVE VIDEO: Since 1995, the Disney Worldwide Conservation Fundhas awarded $20 million to conservation projects in 112 countries to protect wildlife, ecosystems and the communities so closely linked to their survival.

BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA – Brevard Zoo’s Oyster Restoration Project has received the highest recognition from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) for its oyster restoration efforts in the Mosquito Lagoon by being awarded the prestigious 2013 North American Conservation Award.

The Mosquito Lagoon Oyster Restoration team is comprised of Jody Palmer, Linda Walters, Paul Sacks, Kirk Fusco and more than 36,000 volunteers who have assisted throughout the years. The team was one of only fourteen recipients this year. (Brevard Zoo image)

The Mosquito Lagoon Oyster Restoration team is comprised of Jody Palmer, Linda Walters, Paul Sacks, Kirk Fusco and more than 36,000 volunteers who have assisted throughout the years. The team was one of only fourteen recipients this year. (Brevard Zoo image)

According to the association, AZA names conservation as its highest priority and recognizes exceptional efforts by AZA institution, related facility and conservation partner members toward regional habitat preservation, species restoration and support biodiversity in the wild through its North American Conservation Award.

“The Oyster Restoration Project is unique in that it is a powerful tool in restoring aquatic habitat and it provides an opportunity for everyone to participate in hands-conservation efforts,” said Keith Winsten, Executive Director of Brevard Zoo.

“Oysters have great potential for restoring the health of the Indian River Lagoon. Each oyster can filter 50 gallons of water a day and can remove the nitrogen in the water that leads to algae blooms and brown tides. In the coming years, the mighty oyster might prove to be the savior of the lagoon.”

AWARD MARKS THIRD HONOR FOR RESTORATION TEAM

“Oysters have great potential for restoring the health of the Indian River Lagoon. Each oyster can filter 50 gallons of water a day and can remove the nitrogen in the water that leads to algae blooms and brown tides. In the coming years, the mighty oyster might prove to be the savior of the lagoon.” – Keith Winsten, Executive Director of Brevard Zoo.

Keith Winsten

Keith Winsten

This award is the third honor received this year for the Oyster Restoration Team. In March, Jody Palmer, oyster restoration community outreach coordinator, was recognized by national magazine, Field and Stream, as one of their heroes of conservation for her efforts in the project.

In August, the Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund recognized the Oyster Restoration Team as one of only 14 recipients of the 2013 Disney Conservation Hero award.

Brevard Zoo’s Oyster Restoration Project is a community-based effort that includes Jody Palmer and Kirk Fusco of Brevard Zoo, Linda Walters, Ph.D., and Paul Sacks, Ph.D., of the University of Central Florida, and more than 36,000 volunteers dedicated to saving a keystone species in Florida’s treasured Indian River Lagoon.


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