What the rise and fall of oysters tells us about Ohlone culture, the Gold Rush era, public health, and industrialization.

Recorded as a live podcast in collaboration with East Bay Yesterday, Liam O'Donoghue interviews Casey Harper, deputy director of Wild Oyster Project.  Oysters may seem like a simple creature at first glance – they can’t even move on their own – but their presence can determine the health of an entire ecosystem. Just like tree rings hold clues to Earth’s history, oyster shells can reveal much about past millennia. Although local oyster populations were nearly wiped out following decades of pollution and habitat destruction, a few survivors were discovered in recent years, leading to a surge in restoration efforts. Despite challenges ranging from invasive predators to ocean acidification, groups like Wild Oyster Project are hopeful that these projects will grow to provide shelter for marine life, filter pollutants out of the water, and eventually mitigate sea level rise more effectively than concrete barriers. 



About the speaker

Liam O’Donoghue (he/him) is the host and producer of the East Bay Yesterday podcast, which airs bi-weekly on KPFA-FM, and co-creator of the Long Lost Oakland map. Since 2016, this independently-produced series has explored stories of culture, politics and nature from Oakland, Berkeley and other towns throughout Alameda and Contra Costa counties. O’Donoghue has written for many media outlets and gives local history tours and presentations at museums, book stores, and even breweries throughout the Bay Area.

A conversation with our special guest: Casey Harper, Wild Oyster Project, Deputy Director Casey is a San Francisco native transplanted to Oakland and a life-long lover of all things outdoors. She completed her bachelor’s in Zoology at the University of Otago in New Zealand. After college she worked as a Fisheries Observer in the Gulf of Alaska. More recently, Casey received a degree in Landscape Architecture from Merritt College. She is interested in creating regenerative landscapes that emphasize the intersection of art, science, and ecology, and is fired up to be a part of the Wild Oyster Project.

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