Summaries of the bimonthly Working Group Webinars can be found below. Please get in touch with Corina Peter firstname.lastname@example.org or the Secretariat if you would like to be informed about future meetings.
NORA Outreach Group: Oysters as a model system for high school genetics classes.
The third NORA Outreach group meeting of this year will take place online on Tuesday June 22th at 10 am CET/ 9 am GMT.
Read more in our post…
Sixth NORA Outreach Group Meeting Summary 20.04.2021
The topic of the sixth NORA Outreach group meeting was the development of education materials for schools, using the native oyster and its biogenic reefs as ecosystem examples.
To kick off the discussion, Celine Gamble, Project Manager for the Wild Oysters Project presented the progress of the Education Programme developed by ZSL and BLUE education teams. The materials are in line with KS2 and KS3 students (age classes 7 – 14), including lesson plans, presentations and worksheets. The materials are still in the development and design phase. Once finished, it is planned that all materials will be made available and can be used by everyone interested.
Following up, Corina Peter from the German oyster restoration project PROCEED presented some examples for the materials they have been developing, e.g. in cooperation with school students for senior classes (age classes 14yrs +). Furthermore, since December 2020 the online knowledge platform www.heimische-Auster.de is online, which was developed in order to make knowledge about the native oyster, its habitat and restoration available. Within the student version of the webpage, students can learn all about ecological principles on the example of the native oyster and its oyster reefs. In the download section of the web page, teacher can find useful information and all materials needed to bring the native oyster into German high schools. The homepage itself is available in German and English, although most of the download material is currently available only in German. The recording of this short presentation is available on the NORA Outreach Videos page.
Subsequently, the process of developing materials together was started by discussing possible topics and methods for future NORA outreach and educational material. Several ideas were collected and are being developed further within a separate brainstorming and planning meeting, taking place online on May 27th, 10 am CET. The goal of this meeting is to design outreach and educational material for all NORA members to use within their country and projects. The first step here will be to determine common topics, which are represented in school curriculums around Europe. From there, it is intended that materials can be developed and translated to the various languages of participating countries. All are welcome to join us. For further information please contact Corina (Corina.email@example.com) or the NORA secretariat (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Fifth NORA Outreach Group Meeting Summary 16.02.2021
During the first Outreach Group Meeting of 2021, Pete Malinowski from the Billion Oyster Project (BOP) in the New York Harbor, USA, shared insights into the successful outreach work being done within the project. The BOP seeks to engage people to care for the environment they live next to, by contributing to its restoration. The oyster beds in the New York harbor used to be vast in area, creating the backbone to the former biodiversity of this environment. BOP aims to restore 1 billion oysters by 2035 and, using different outreach programs, connect the New York citizens to the wildlife surrounding them.
The Harbor School together with the BOP for example offers an aquaculture curriculum, including technical training and monitoring programs. This way, students get hands-on field experience in restoration practice, thus learning the practical and ecological principles behind in the process.
During the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, knowledge exchange on oyster restoration was supported via videos from the field and online learning resources. Other stakeholder groups are reached by the shell-collecting-trucks driving through the city and collecting the shell material from collaborating restaurants. Pete further gave some insights into the active restoration work at various sites in New York harbor and how the Harbor School students set up and learn about remote setting of oysters, welding, and biological survey techniques.
Following the presentation, Pete answered questions from the attending NORA outreach group attendees. Topics included the permitting process, the shell collection from restaurants and how to start such large outreach programs. The full question and answer session is available in the video of the presentation on the NORA Outreach Videos page.
You can also find out more about the Billion Oyster project and their outreach activities, both in-person and online through their website: www.billionoysterproject.org
Motivated by the great work done overseas, the NORA working group then discussed future steps for preparing outreach materials together and agreed on topics that are commonly represented in curriculums Europe-wide such as marine food webs and definitions of ecological key words. Those ideas will be developed further at the next outreach meeting in April. Please join then to get involved in actively producing these materials.
Fourth NORA Outreach Group Meeting Summary 08.12.2020
During the fourth NORA Outreach Working Group meeting, Alec Reid of Cuan Beo shared their group’s experiences of engaging with a wide range of stakeholders around Galway Bay, Ireland. Alec provided advice on engagement with stakeholder groups which might otherwise generally be considered, and consider themselves to be in opposition to oyster restoration efforts. In particular, Alec provided insights into how to approach and work with agriculture to address water quality concerns. We also learnt about the work that Cuan Beo has undertaken with schools, providing children with tangible learning outcomes in an adventurous setting.
During the question and discussion Alec was joined by Noreen Cassidy, a founding member of Cuan Beo. Attendees learnt more about the activities of the Cuan Beo group. So much can be achieved on a shoe string budget if there are champions willing to volunteer their time and energy to running events. The key to public engagement with children is to engage with their natural sense of curiosity and adventure, and to empower them where possible. The example of asking them to develop their own “pledge” statements (commitments they could sign on to) was provided as a successful example of this.
Following the presentation and discussion, the grouped moved on to thinking about public engagement during a global pandemic. Outreach opportunities are few and far between, but the reliance on online access can also provide opportunities. Preparing simple tasks for primary school aged children (colouring, word searches), as well as more involved but creatively based tasks for older children (e.g. stop animation film making) were considered as potential avenues to consider for future collaborative efforts which could be posted on the NORA website. How to inform a wider range of the public of the existence of online materials was identified as a key issue which requires further resolution.
Third NORA Outreach Group Meeting Summary 06.10.2020
Information Boards: Advice from the NORA Outreach Working Group.
During the third NORA Outreach Working Group meeting experts from the UK and Germany shared their experience in developing information boards on the seafront.
Matt Uttley of the Essex Native Oyster Restoration Initiative (ENORI) discussed ENORI’s experiences of designing and working towards the installation of a public information board. The process has been longer than expected and further delayed by Covid-19, but final installation is planned this year. Key considerations of the design and planning the build were target audience, board content, location, permissions required and building materials. See the presentation here.
Corina Peter from PROCEED shared her experience in developing Information boards about the oyster and its value for the biodiversity in the North Sea on the island of Helgoland. She will give some insights on the cooperation between research, tourism service, design agency and municipality to produce and set up these information boards. See the presentation here.
The Outreach Working Group developed a useful bullet point guide of factors to consider based on the discussion, which can be found here.
Second NORA Outreach Group Meeting Summary 23.06.2020
Question and Answer session with Dr. Ian McLeod
Following on from the Question and Answer session, Celine Gamble of the Native Oyster Network UK and Ireland shared some draft infographics with the group for comment and improvement. The infographics presented are being formalized by a designer for the European Native Oyster Restoration Handbook, UK and Ireland.
First NORA Outreach Group Meeting Summary 21.04.2020
Bringing NORA members together for exchanging outreach experiences: The first NORA Outreach webinar was hosted successfully on April 21st 2020!
This webinar focused on 1) the introduction of this newly formed group and an outlook on possible future activities presented by Philine zu Ermgassen, 2) the experiences on outreach events at a primary school, conducted by the Blue Marine Foundation and presented by Luke Helmer, 3) the development of educational material for High Schools, specifically in Germany, by the PROCEED project and presented by Corina Peter and 4) an overview of the current outreach and engagement methods outlined in the draft UK-Ireland Native Oyster Restoration Handbook presented by Celine Gamble, ZSL.
In the webinar, the working group identified common interests, future collaborations between projects and possible outreach products, which could be developed together and then be provided to everyone on the NORA homepage. Further details can be found below, and you can watch the associated presentaions in the „Video“ section of the Outreach Group website.
Philine – Introducing the NORA Outreach Group
The NORA Secretariat are delighted that Corina Peter (AWI) has proposed chairing a NORA Outreach Group. Bi-monthly meetings are planned, in which participants can share their outreach experiences and learn from one another. The group will also seek to share outreach materials where possible, through the NORA website.
The NORA Secretariat look forward to actively supporting this effort to share experiences and knowledge of oyster restoration outreach. They will also be looking to support outreach activities at the NORA conferences. For the 2020 conference a range of experience sharing opportunities are offered. Participants are invited to share their experiences in a poster, talk, or through a “speed dating” slot. These short presentations are designed to allow projects to introduce themselves and their work, or share news about their project in a friendly setting, or to make calls for data or collaboration. There will also be a “Games Night” at the conference (registration required), where the participants will be facilitated in group working to develop their own oyster-themed educational games for a range of age groups. There is an open call to anyone who wants to assist with the running of, or participate in this session.
Most importantly, the NORA Secretariat extend a warm welcome to the Outreach Group, and thank them for their ongoing efforts to support and educate others about the exciting, important and growing field of oyster restoration in Europe.
Corina Peter is a researcher in the restoration projects RESTORE and PROCEED at the Alfred-Wegener-Institute Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research, Germany. Within PROCEED, an active knowledge transfer capacity is being developed, with the goal of utilizing the native oyster and the reefs it forms as an example for the importance of ecological key species and their ecosystem services. This talk focuses on one subject of the outreach work of PROCEED: The development of educational materials which then can be used in (German) High Schools.
PROCEED is supported by the Federal Agency for Nature Conservation with funds from the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety within the Federal Programme for Biological Diversity (Bundesprogramm Biologische Vielfalt).
Dr Luke Helmer is the Scientific Officer for the Blue Marine Foundation and works on the Solent Oyster Restoration Project. To increase the projects wider impact, the team have been developing lesson plans, online educational material and outreach activities for audiences including primary school children, university students and the general public. In this talk, Luke covers case studies of the classroom-based learning and hands on field trips conducted in association with Wicor Primary School.
Celine is the Coordinator for the Native Oyster Network – UK & Ireland, co-founded by the Zoological Society of London and the University of Portsmouth. The UK Network is currently producing a “Native Oyster Restoration Handbook” in collaboration with NORA, including a chapter on “Engagement and communications for a restoration project”. In this presentation Celine provides an overview of the current outreach and engagement methods outlined in the draft handbook, seeking to share the methods and gain feedback from the NORA Outreach working group.