2012/8/21 Category: Conservation News
This summer was a very successful season for the Mosquito Lagoon Oyster Reef Restoration Project, a partnership between Brevard Zoo and University of Central Florida.
On Friday, July 27, Brevard Zoo joined UCF, along with a group of volunteers from the U.S. Navy, to conduct quality control and inspection of each of the eight oyster reefs that were restored this year. The team visited each oyster reef and checked every oyster mat to ensure proper installation into the Mosquito Lagoon. The day also included the placement of more than 100 oyster mats on reefs that needed just a few finishing touches. At the end of the day, all of the oyster reefs were in tip-top shape and ready to provide life-saving habitat to oyster larvae and many other species in the lagoon!
We are proud to announce the Summer 2012 oyster mat deployment season ended with record-breaking numbers, a total of 5,878 oyster mats were deployed to create eight restored oyster reefs! The largest oyster reef created this year is made up of 1,617 oyster mats. The oyster reef built and named by Brevard Zoo, "Oscar Reef", is made up of 509 oyster mats.
All of this success could not have been achieved without the hard work and dedication of all the volunteers who contributed to this important restoration project in the Mosquito Lagoon.
2012/8/21 Category: From the Volunteers
By: Sarah and Amanda, Zoo Teens
On Saturday August 4, we hosted our very first Youth Eco Summit to educate and encourage youth in Florida to work to conserve the environment that surrounds them. The event was held in the Nyami Nyami River Lodge and coordinated by Zoo Teens. Sixty participants ages 11 to 18 attended, and had the opportunity to meet others their own age that shared the same interests and aspire to preserve the environment.
At the summit, we had many educational speakers representing various conservation organizations with a 30-minute presentation. Participating organizations included the Sea Turtle Preservation Society, Keep Brevard Beautiful, Environmentally Endangered Lands Program, as well as staff from the Brevard Zoo who work in the conservation department.
Throughout the day, participants engaged in hands-on conservation projects and listened to motivational talks to inspire them to make a difference in their community. Zoo Director Keith Winsten spoke to attendees about what inspired his work in conservation at a young age. At the end of the day the teens made a pledge and signed a banner stating what they would do to make a difference in the environment.
We were thrilled to see the plans and ideas that the next generation in conservation had for the future.
We plan to make our Youth Eco Summit an annual event, and to continue our work to educate and inspire the next generation to make a difference in the environment around them.
For more photos from the Eco Summit, CLICK HERE.
2012/6/19 Category: Conservation News
Brevard Zoo is now home to a growing population of Atala butterfly (Eumaeus atala), one of Florida's most colorful insects!
Large scale harvesting of native cycads, called coontie, for starch during the late 1800's greatly reduced the number of coontie, resulting in a sharp decline of the Atala butterfly. Development of habitat favored by the Atala also had a huge impact, and by 1965 there was only one colony left. The Atala has made a recovery but additional efforts are needed to stabilize the population.
The Zoo has agreed to provide a safe home for the captive propagation of the Atala butterfly in order to provide specimens for a reintroduction program.
Take a look at these photos of the Zoo’s growing Atala collection:
Freshly laid Atala eggs on the fiddlehead of a coontie plant.
Larvae preparing to pupate.
Pupae or chrysalis.
Adult female taking a break from ovipositing (laying eggs).
Zoo staff will release several adult Atala into the aviary, located in the Zoo’s Australia-Asia loop, on Wednesday, June 20. On your next visit to the Zoo, be sure to stop by for a chance to see these brightly colored insects up close!
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