Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Oyster Mat Making

Today, the Beachside Kid Explorer Club went to Riverwalk Park to make some oyster mats.

The mats are a piece of ocean-safe mesh, with a bunch of oyster shells zip-tied to them.  Once they are finished, they are placed in the river (its not actually a river, its the strip of water between the Barrier islands and the mainland, but it looks like a river!).    They are arranged in grids, like a big quilt, and weighted down in the corners by those round cement things that they put around sprinkler heads.   Baby oysters attach to these and it helps restore the oyster beds. 

Each oyster filters up to 50 gallons a day, so this really helps keep the river clean.   

Here is how the mats are made.

The kids learned a bit about what we were trying to accomplish, got some instructions, and saw a slide show of what the finished mats are used for.

First, they drill holes in a whole bunch of shells using a big drill press:

Then, you take a mesh square and a pack of 36 zip-ties, and attach them all on.  The "tails" of the zip ties are cut off. 

Hard at work!

And then they look like this when you flip them over:


When the kids were done, they did some exploring.

Beauty Berries (these are edible, but icky tasting, pretty though!)

And a big black snake:

And this is the river at the end of the boardwalk!  Sometimes there is no beach here at all, depends on the tides. 

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