Evaluating Oyster Gardening Programs of the U.S. Gulf and Atlantic Coasts
Type of DegreePhD Dissertation
Fisheries and Allied Aquacultures
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We investigated oyster gardening programs along the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic coasts (United States) for their organization, volunteer makeup and their capacity to change the perceived knowledge of participants. Further, we investigated participant motivation to join an oyster gardening program as well as their motivations to engage in a general activity both prior to and after joining. We found that programs within our study region may benefit from an exchange of ideas, success and failures despite their varied size and structures. Additionally, we found participants increase their perceived knowledge of oysters significantly following participation up to year five. Finally, our investigations found that participants are motivated to engage in an activity, such as oyster gardening, by the opportunity to improve their environment, to learn and to improve fishing at the gardening site. The findings described may be useful to program managers who wish to improve the efficacy and efficiency of their recruiting efforts as well as demonstrate measurable program impacts.