Withlacoochee program on oysters Saturday

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The Friends of the Withlacoochee Gulf Preserve present a program on oysters on Saturday, Jan. 5, at 10 a.m. at the Ellie Schiller Education Center in the Withlacoochee Gulf Preserve.

Dr. Jennifer Seavey, assistant director of the Seahorse Key Marine Laboratory, will speak on “Restoring Resiliency in a Changing World: Oysters in Florida’s Big Bend.” 

Dr. Seavey holds a bachelor's in Biology, a master's in Wildlife Science, and a doctorate in Landscape Ecology. She has conducted research on birds and coastal issues throughout the United States and internationally. She is particularly interested in addressing conservation and management issues for threatened species and ecosystems. 

   Her current research focuses on climate change ecology, especially along low-lying coastal systems in Florida such as oyster reefs. 

   Oyster reefs offer diverse ecological and social services for people and natural environments. These reefs are one of the most endangered marine habitat types in the world. Florida’s Big Bend coastline supports large expanses of oyster reef habitat that have existed for thousands of years.

   Although the Gulf of Mexico remains a global stronghold for oysters, there is evidence that oyster reefs have been declining since the 1970’s in Florida’s Big Bend.

   The Friends are also sponsoring another program on Jan. 18 at 6 p.m. — An evening with the stars, as in the heavenly bodies and planets. The Chiefland Stargazing Team will bring their powerful telescopes and aim them at the sky overhead. 

   The Friends is also having its membership drive. Visit the group's website at www.withlacoocheegulfpreserve.com  or use the membership form on the back of the preserve trail map to join.