Headline for Featured Item #1 Oyster Film Created by University Students Wins Golden Conch Award - Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi
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Oyster Film Created by University Students Wins Golden Conch Award

December 20, 2013

Golden Conch Award 1

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – Lauren Hutchison and Brittany Blomberg, two Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi Ph.D. students, recently won the Third Place Golden Conch Award for their short film, “Sink Your Shucks.” The film screened at the 2013 CINEFISH Film Festival in conjunction with the Gulf and Caribbean Fisheries Institute Conference, hosted by the Harte Research Institute (HRI) from November 4-8 in Corpus Christi.

“Oyster restoration draws a lot of public interest, and had proven to be an interesting subject during public speaking engagements,” said Blomberg, a Ph.D. student in the Coastal and Marine System Science Program. “We saw an opportunity to work together to create a film that would reach many more people than we could on our own.”

Blomberg’s research focuses on oyster reef restoration and Hutchison, who has a background in film, focuses on the intersection of social science and ecology. Tiara Marshall, a recent graduate of Savannah College of Art and Design, had an interest in using her animation skills to communicate science.

“Sink Your Shucks” competed against 13 other films at the screening. More than 200 scientists, marine managers, fishing enthusiasts, and students voted on their favorite films.

“The film has brought awareness to the Oyster Recycling Program, with over 2,000 views on YouTube,” added Blomberg. “We use the film to introduce the program and local restoration efforts during public speaking engagements.”

The film takes a look at the ecological and economic importance oysters play in Texas waters. Animated by Marshall, the film engages audience members and teaches them about the Oyster Recycling Program.

Founded in 2009 by Drs. Jennifer Pollack and Paul Montagna in partnership with the HRI, the program collects oyster shells from local participating restaurants and reintroduces them back into Texas bays to restore oyster reefs. The old oyster shells are the perfect substrate for young oysters to settle on.

No stranger to recognition, the film also received an award for Best Conservation Film at the Beneath the Waves Film Festival, Mobile, Ala., in 2011.

Hutchison, Blomberg, and Marshall have continued working together to create more films. Their most recent film, “Ecosystem Services of the Ocean,” has been screened at four film festivals, including one in Portugal. In addition, they are currently producing a Spanish translation of the film.

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