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April 1, 2013

Texas State Aquarium and Local High School Students Work Together to Restore Habitat
$52,000 State Farm YAB Grant Funds South Texas Oyster Restoration & Awareness Program

State Farm YAB logoCORPUS CHRISTI, TEXAS – Students from CCISD’s Foy H. Moody High School and Richard King High School will participate in an oyster reef restoration event at Goose Island State Park on Saturday, April 6, from 8:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

The students will work to “bag” reclaimed oyster shells, transport them to a staging area, and then place them in the water to enhance the oyster reef at Goose Island State Park.

The South Texas Oyster Restoration and Awareness (STORA) project is a service-learning program supported by the State Farm Youth Advisory Board that engages Moody and King High School students in efforts led by the Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi and Harte Research Institute to restore valuable oyster habitats. HRI’s habitat restoration efforts include the “Sink Your Shucks” program that recruits local restaurants to recycle oyster shells that are used to build new oyster reefs.

The Moody students’ interest in “Sink Your Shucks” started in 2010 when they learned about HRI’s habitat research and restoration efforts and then presented this locally significant project at the 3rd National Student Summit on Oceans and Coasts in Washington, DC. After presenting the importance of oyster habitat at the Summit, they have continued their efforts by interacting with the public at community events and participating in restoration events. The Texas State Aquarium facilitates and coordinates the students’ involvement in this effort.

“The students interact with scientists by directly participating in habitat restoration, and increase awareness about the role oysters play in the ecology and economy of South Texas by sharing information in fun new ways at local fairs and public events,” said Leslie Peart, Director of Education and Conservation at the Texas State Aquarium. “As a student-led project, STORA is a near-perfect blend of education and conservation activities for teens in the Coastal Bend. We look forward to related initiatives from the students in coming years.”

“State Farm is proud to support the STORA program because it integrates community service into classroom curriculum,” said Amelia Folkes, community specialist for State Farm in Texas. “This was one of only five YAB grant recipients in Texas and 68 nationally awarded a YAB grant.”

About the State Farm Youth Advisory Board: The State Farm Youth Advisory Board is a diverse group of 30 youth, ages 17-20, who were chosen through a competitive process to lead and oversee this $5 million/year signature service-learning initiative. The Youth Advisory Board identifies the issues, issues competitive grants and provides technical assistance, communication and oversight to grantees. The State Farm Youth Advisory Board has granted over $20.7 million in grant money since its inception in 2006, empowering youth to implement service-learning in 331 communities.

About the Texas State Aquarium: The mission of the Texas State Aquarium is to connect people with nature and inspire conservation of the Gulf of Mexico. The Aquarium’s goal is to be a nationally recognized Aquarium leader in creating entertaining, educationally enriching programming, conducting wildlife rehabilitation, and supporting conservation. The Texas State Aquarium is a private, not-for-profit organization that receives no city, state or federal funding for its operations. The Aquarium relies on general admissions, memberships, retail sales, event rentals and the generous support from donors to maintain its operations.

 

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 Texas State Aquarium--Connecting people with nature and inspiring conservation of the Gulf of Mexico.

The Aquarium is an accredited member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums

and the Alliance of Marine Mammal Parks and Aquariums.

www.texasstateaquarium.org