City Island Oyster Reef believes that engaging the community through educational initiatives is an important way to protect the environment into the future.
We aim to educate the local community about oysters and their place as a keystone species within Long Island Sound’s rich biodiversity. Working with the Billion Oyster Project, CIOR volunteers have developed educational programs with the local school, P.S. 175, both in the classroom and at the Living Shoreline behind the school. We now monitor four Oyster Research Stations (ORS) as “in the field” classrooms to teach the community about oysters and other marine species in their natural habitats, and we partner with the City Island Yacht Club Junior Sailing Camp to provide opportunities for their campers to learn about the monitoring of oyster cages.
In October 2021, CIOR hosted its first outdoor educational festival, Viva la Sound, which brought together local environmental groups to display and demonstrate their activities to visitors from the community. Now an annual event, Viva la Sound welcomes more than 30 environmental groups and attracts about 500 visitors. After the festival, CIOR offers four workshops on such topics as understanding water-quality parameters, oyster cage monitoring, the role of a living shoreline, and debris and contaminants in local waterways. Funding from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation’s Long Island Sound Futures Fund and the Lily Auchincloss Foundation has made these programs possible.
Our fundraising events are accompanied by educational presentations explaining the work of the organization, such as shell collection, water-quality monitoring, oyster-cage monitoring, and reef restoration.
Additionally, CIOR offers an ongoing virtual webinar series presented by experts who discuss topics such as the restoration of local marshlands, oyster reef renovations, general wetlands ecology and marine biology, and more.