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Civic EcologyAdaptation and Transformation from the Ground Up$
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Marianne E. Krasny and Keith G. Tidball

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780262028653

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: September 2015

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262028653.001.0001

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Oyster Spat and Live Oaks—Memories

Oyster Spat and Live Oaks—Memories

(p.65) 4 Oyster Spat and Live Oaks—Memories
Civic Ecology

Marianne E. Krasny

Keith G. Tidball

The MIT Press

Biological memories consist of the biological or genetic material needed to recolonize an ecosystem. They are the remnant populations of plants and animals that civic ecology stewards use to restore broken places. If an organism like an oyster becomes extinct—its biological memory forgotten—restoring that species, alongside the important functions it contributes like food, filtering contaminants from water, and protecting fragile coastlines—becomes impossible. Social memories are memories shared among a group of people and help shape our behaviors, including our actions as members of a community. Residents of New York still retain social memories of healthier city waterways and how oysters played a role in a thriving estuary and waterfront. When social memories of oyster cultivation, gardening, and tree planting also include the genetic material—oyster spat, seeds, and seedlings—they are referred to as social-ecological memories. In a feedback process, civic ecology stewards draw on these memories in their practices and new memories are formed through participating in civic ecology practices.

Keywords:   Oysters, Oyster gardening, Oyster restoration, Social memory, Collective memory, Biological memory, Ecological memory, Social-ecological memories, New York City

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