Dean Bozeman Students Use 'Oyster Reefs' to Restore Callaway Shoreline

CALLAWAY, Fla. - Students at Deane Bozeman School took a step outside the classroom, and into the waters of Callaway Friday. They partnered with St. Andrew Bay Watch to restore shoreline erosion with bags filled with oysters.

Together, they lined 1,000 bags at the shoreline of John B. Gore Park.The purpose is to construct reefs to protect the shoreline.

"It's a really unique chance for the kids to come out, get hands on experience where they're working hard to help our environment," said St. Andrew Bay Watch Habitat Restoration Education Coordinator, Riley Timbs.

Timbs says the 'living shoreline' project started at the beginning of the school year. It's part of the 'Bay Grasses in Classes' curriculum.

"It's such a privilege to come out here and be able give back to our environment because we live here too," said 10th grade student, Caitlynn Oswald.

The bagged oysters placed offshore will cover about 250 ft. of shoreline and will be used as breakwaters to reduce wave strength.

Some students say it's a good hands-on activity to learn.

"It gives me experience on how the wildlife in the ocean can evolve in these oyster reefs and how I can be a part of that," said 9th grade student, Kassidee Bilyk.

In addition to laying out oyster bags, the students will install 1200 black needlerush plants that were grown in their nursery.

"If we can stop erosion here, we can stop it at most other places," said 7th grade student, Caleb Powell.

"The Bay is a huge resource. Probably the biggest resource that Bay County has to offer. So I think it's of great importance to learn stewardship of the Bay," added Timbs.

Timbs expects the group to finish the project next month.

The 'Bay Grasses in Classes' project is funded by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Coastal Program, and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.

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