A group of Harris Corporation employee volunteers answered a call to aid the Indian River Lagoon with a machine that will help restore oyster beds to the endangered waterway.
The employees designed and built a mechanism to funnel shells into oyster bags, which serve as the foundation for new reefs. They donated the machine to the Brevard Zoo’s Oyster Restoration Program.
Volunteers can now fill an oyster bag in eight seconds, when it used to take several minutes by hand. Six volunteers can do the job that previously took a team of 40.
The Brevard Zoo has been working on oyster restoration in the lagoon for more than a decade and has plans to continue the efforts. Oysters are beneficial because their filter feeding improves water quality in the lagoon, which is among the most biodiverse estuaries in North America.
Six Harris employees donated a total of 240 hours to design and build the machine under the company’s volunteering program, which is called Harris Employees Actively Responding Together, or HEART. More than 2,900 employees have donated more than 40,000 hours under the program.
Harris was the first company to join the National Estuary Program’s Indian River Lagoon Innovators and Investors (IRL-I2) network. The company is dedicated to working with governments and groups to help improve the body of water, which stretches for 156 miles along Florida’s East Coast.
Who: Brevard Zoo: Jody Palmer, Director of Conservation
Jake Zehnder, Restoration Project Coordinator
Harris –Tom Campbell, Innovation Director
Employee volunteer team:
Ihosvany Garcia, project lead
What: Media availability to unveil oyster bagging machine designed, built and donated by Harris employees to the Brevard Zoo oyster restoration program. Reporters can interview employees who worked on the project and representatives of Harris and the Brevard Zoo as well as take photos and video of the oyster bagging machine in action.
When: Jan. 13, 2016, 9 a.m.
Where: Oyster shell impound area southwest of the interchange of I-95 and Eau Gallie Blvd. Impound area is remote and requires assistance with entry. All media are asked to meet at the Park-And-Ride lot (~1000 Inspiration Ln. 32934) west of I-95 on Eau Gallie Blvd. so they can be escorted by Zoo staff.
Why: Harris is committed to helping efforts to restore and preserve the Indian River Lagoon and is a member of the IRL-I2 group. The oyster bagging machine is a result of Harris employees taking that commitment to heart and volunteering time and expertise for this important initiative under the able leadership of the Brevard Zoo.
If you plan to attend the event, please RSVP by close of business Wednesday, Jan. 11.
Harris Corporation is a leading technology innovator, solving customers’ toughest mission-critical challenges by providing solutions that connect, inform and protect. Harris supports customers in more than 100 countries and has approximately $7.5 billion in annual revenue and 21,000 employees worldwide. The company is organized into four business segments: Communication Systems, Space and Intelligence Systems, Electronic Systems and Critical Networks. Learn more at harris.com.
Brevard Zoo is home to more than 800 animals representing 180 species from all over the world. As a not-for-profit organization, it is a leader in the fields of animal wellness, education and conservation. More information is available at www.brevardzoo.org.