Whale Branch Middle School honors student with oyster reef - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Whale Branch Middle School honors student with oyster reef

Norman Kirkland Norman Kirkland

Seventh graders at Whale Branch Middle School are honoring their classmate, Norman Kirkland, by making an oyster reef on the Whale Branch River.

Kirkland drowned in the Ashepoo River in Colleton County Sunday.

"It was Norman who really liked to go outdoors and work on the marsh," said Adrian Manigo, student. "He was really an outdoorsman."

That is the reason Manigo and his other classmates decided to name it Kirkland's Reef.

According to Kirkland's former teacher, Kathryn Madden, Kirkland was very dedicated to the environment.

"Well, he understood the whole system," she said. "He understood the importance of this."

According to Madden, oyster reefs are very important, especially in South Carolina. Osyter reefs protect the shoreline by reducing waves.

"That means the soil is actually stable, so we won't have as much erosion," said Madden.

The reef will also attract many new species to the marsh.

"Building an oyster reef allows for a whole habitat to form, so once the oysters starts to establish, we'll see other things move in," said Madden.

The other things Madden expects to move in are shrimp, fish and crabs.

Manigo said Kirkland would have loved to see that.

"He really liked animals."

It will take two years before Kirkland's Reef is fully matured. When it does, that's when the new species will move in.  

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