Here at Free Fly, we’re lucky to live in the Lowcountry where we’ve got access to an incredibly unique stretch of coastal wilderness. When we’re not at work, you can usually find us on the water—poling through flood tides, surfing at Folly, or throwing back oysters on Sullivan’s Island. So we jumped at the chance to partner with South Carolina’s Department of Natural Resources earlier this year, to help restore some of the natural ocean habitats in our neck of the woods. 

On February 22nd, we joined their community-based oyster restoration program called the South Carolina Oyster Recycling and Enhancement Program (or SCORE) at their Fort Johnson site on James Island—where we helped build 56 Manufactured Wire Reefs (MWRs). These reefs help restore and enhance oyster habitats which play a critical ecological and economic role in South Carolina. We also planted 16 trays of spartina grass as a part of SCORE’s restoration program—where spartina is planted along the state’s coastline to restore areas of salt marsh.

We had a blast helping out, and learned so much about the unique and vital habitat restoration process—we’ll 100% be back for more. Check out a few photos and thoughts from our volunteer crew below along with more details on how these MWRs play a vital role in habitat restoration.

"This community-based habitat restoration project is an important endeavor because oysters play a significant ecologic and economic role in South Carolina; however, oyster populations are declining. It is important for the community to understand how oysters improve water quality, control erosion, and provide habitat for other commercially-important shellfish and fish species by learning about their biology and the human activities that can influence their well being.

Manufactured Wire Reefs (MWRs) are fabricated by volunteers using galvanized wire, wire benders, and pneumatic air tools. We incorporated a thin lay of recycled oyster shell and used coconut husk that will assist in sediment deposition and shoreline stabilization. These MWRs will be planted in tidal creeks where they will aid in the creation of essential fish habitat, as well as provide other ecosystem services—such as stabilizing saltmarsh shorelines and water filtration."

Learn more about SCORE community programs here.

"Every time I work with the SCORE program at SCDNR, it reminds me to properly recycle oyster shells, whether I am at an oyster roast or shuck a few for dinner, it is important to bring those shells to their recycling areas and not to discard them in the trash. It was great working together with my coworkers and becoming efficient in the cage-making process. Our team was the fastest and made the most, I swear!"
—Nate Glass, Ecommerce Merchandiser

"I learned how much energy and passion goes into keeping our ecosystem the way it is! It's a great reminder to see all the hard work people do from building oyster reefs to growing spartina grass from seeds and planting them along our waterways."
—Ashley Thoma, Graphic Designer

"A big part of Free Fly's core is rooted in getting outside and doing what you love. It's always incredibly fun and rewarding to take time outside of the office to give back to our community alongside colleagues—especially when you can learn about oyster rehabilitation on a beautiful day by the marsh!"
Lillian Holland, Marketing Coordinator