Teaching Kids with Oysters

OystersMost folks enjoy eating oysters; however high school students working with the N.C. Coastal Federation prefer to dissect them. This is one component of a multifaceted Oyster Education Program which connects students to the coast using the oyster in the classroom and in the field. Federation educators work with eight high schools in all three coastal regions on the program. The classroom and field activities are correlated to the N.C. Standard Course of Study objectives for high school grades to help teachers integrate the program into their courses.

Students are provided an interactive class lesson on oyster ecology followed by a hands-on dissection of oysters. Filled with lots of information about the value and functions of oysters, and probably more aware than they would like to be of what they are eating when they swallow an oyster, the students are ready for their field trip and stewardship activity. The program strives to include the students in all facets of restoring oyster reefs. Students help bag oyster shells, put the bags on new reefs and monitor the restored reefs.

Students involved with the Oyster Education Program:

  • Gain knowledge and awareness
  • Create and strengthen their connection to the coastal environment
  • Practice environmental stewardship skills
  • Have a fun learning experience.

The Incredible Oyster

Why the oyster? Oysters are top-notch water filters, improving water quality by removing sediment, nutrients and plankton from the water as they feed. One adult oyster can filter between 15-35 gallons of water a day. Oyster reefs provide critical habitat for a diverse collection of aquatic animals, including many important commercial and recreational fish species. Oysters also are an important link in the estuarine food chain, and they are an important recreational and commercial fishery. Read more about our oyster habitat restoration program.

For More Information

The federation works with numerous schools on it oyster projects. If you are interested in learning more about the federation’s educational opportunities for students, please contact one of our educational coordinators: Rachel Bisesi, Sara Jean Hallas or Ted Wilgis.