New ABCRC Site Director

Cora Johnston
Cora Johnston

Effective April 9, 2018, Dr. Cora A. Johnston has  taken on the role of Site Director for the Anheuser-Busch Coastal Research Center.   She will also direct the Education and Outreach programs, with assistance from Donna Fauber.

Cora is a coastal ecologist, who recently completed a post-doctoral research appointment at the University of California – Santa Barbara. She comes to us with an impressive combination of collaborative and leadership skills, ecological research experience, and training in STEM education and outreach.

Cora grew up on the Eastern Shore, and so has a strong sense of place for the ecosystems and people of the region.

Oyster Restoration Workshop

On January 20, the University of Virginia’s Anheuser-
Busch Coastal Research Center (ABCRC) in Oyster
invited K-12 teachers from Accomack and Northampton
Counties to attend an Oyster Restoration Workshop. Each
participant received approximately $600.00 in instruction
and supplies at no cost to the teacher or the schools. The
workshop, along with the construction of an oyster reef on
site, was funded by a sub-grant from the Chincoteague Bay
Field Station and the Environmental Protection Agency.
The University of Virginia invited Laurie Sorebella
from Oyster Reef Keepers of Virginia to instruct the teach-
ers. Laurie is passionate about oysters and the “Schools
Restoring Oysters to the Chesapeake” program. She gave
a brief history of the oyster and a short biology lesson,
followed by a hands-on demo. Laurie explained the various
equipment and the proper procedures for monitoring and
growing healthy oysters.
After receiving training, classroom teachers will be
able to teach their students methods for monitoring water
clarity, salinity, and water temperature; taking accurate
measurements; and identifi ng oyster reef critters. Students
will record data and report them to the Oyster Reef
Keepers on a monthly basis.
Laurie also explained how to collect data from inside
the classroom in order to circumvent logistical problems,
as well as ensuring that the monitoring project is age- and
ability-appropriate. At the end of the school year, teachers
and students will have the opportunity to transplant their
oysters onto a sanctuary reef on the Eastern Shore.
The sub-grant funds, along with matching funds from
the University of Virginia and the Long-Term Ecological
Project, not only provided teachers with all of the instruc-
tions and supplies needed to bring oyster restoration to
their students, but the grant also funded the oyster castle
material for the construction of a demonstration reef at
the ABCRC. This reef, as well as the Oyster Restoration
Workshop, are part of an initiative to “Educate for
Sustainable and Resilient Communities.”
Restoring oyster habitat to Shore waters is a reward-
ing activity and is adaptable for students of various ages
and capabilities. If you are a teacher, parent, or student
and are interested in fi nding out about future workshops,
please email dhf4k@virginia.edu and ask to be put on the
mailing list. The ABCRC hosts various workshops during
the year, and many are free for Eastern Shore of Virginia
educators.  — Donna Fauber in ShoreLine: A journal of natural resources, pubic affairs and culture on the Eastern Shore of Virginia. Vol. 31, number 3 page 5.  http://www.cbes.org/uploads/3/4/8/7/34875804/marsl18rev2.pdf