North/South American Chapter Plan for 2017-19
As host to the 6 th International Oyster Symposium in 2015, the N/S American Chapter accomplished its goal of increasing awareness of the World Oyster Society (WOS) within the Chapter, and building its membership, which now totals 235 members. IOS6 sessions fell under the categories of Science, Industry and Culture. Topics, speakers, and special talks and events reflected the objectives of WOS, which embrace the diverse interests of people and enterprises connected with oysters (WOS mission). Additionally, there was a Trade Show that included not only innovations for industry, but also restoration efforts and cultural expressions.
Going forward, the N-S American Chapter will build on the success of IOS6 and the vision and mission of the WOS. Recognizing that each chapter has unique characteristics and leadership with particular areas of expertise and interests, and the difficulty in addressing fully each of the WOS objectives, the N-S American Chapter will build from its strengths and focus on two major areas, Education and Restoration. Over the next two years the Chapter will focus on WOS objectives 2 & 3, and objectives 7 & 8.
gThe fact is that oyster habitat is the most degraded coastal habitat globally; the loss is about 85-90%, in comparison with coral reefs loss of 20%. We know the ecological value of oyster reefs, and importance to coastal protection and intertidal engineering connectivity between the land and ocean. Oyster reefs used to embrace coasts of all continents, and were not limited to just tropical and subtropical areas. Still, the restoration efforts are at minimum for oysters in comparison to other coastal habitats,h points out Dr. Anamarija Frankic, Deputy Director of the Chapter.
This reality and the lack of public awareness about the oysters' functional role, and the importance of oyster habitat restoration, calls for a national/global public awareness campaign. Given that young people are our future, it is significant that WOS lists oyster education for children as its third objective. Therefore, public awareness efforts will be intergenerational.
N-S American Chapter Objectives for 2017-19
1. Create novel ways to increase understanding of and love for oysters, and to help mobilize civic engagement on oyster issues, especially in young people.
2. Advance the work of Green Harbors Project (GHP) and its restoration efforts locally, and share its success via media outlets to inspire communities
throughout the Chapters.
3. Collaborate with organizations and hold public events to build public awareness: talks/screenings locally, and regionalize an annual Oyster Grand Tasting event.
Increase membership and identify ways in which the chapter can add value and be responsive to members' efforts, concerns, interests.