Evening @ Skidaway Program Examines Oyster Revival on Georgia’s Coast with André Joseph Gallant


On Friday evening, November 16, The Book Lady Bookstore, The University of Georgia Skidaway Institute of Oceanography, UGA Marine Extension and Georgia Sea Grant, Coastal WildScapes, and The UGA Willson Center of Humanities and Arts will present a special lecture as part of the Skidaway Institute’s Evening @ Skidaway Series.

André Joseph Gallant, author of A High Low Tide: The Revival of a Southern Oyster is coming to Savannah for a talk and book signing, beginning with a reception at 6:15 p.m. in the McGowan Library on the University of Georgia Skidaway Marine Science Campus. Gallant’s presentation will begin at 7 p.m. 

The program is open to the public, and admission is free. Space is limited. To reserve a seat, please call (912) 598-2325 or e-mail mike.sullivan@skio.uga.edu.

There once was a time when Georgia dominated the oyster harvest and canning industry. However, Georgia oystering was slowed by environmental and economic shifts. Today, a group of scientists and oyster farmers are working to revive the state’s oyster industry. Their story is profiled in Gallant’s new book, A High Low Tide, published this fall by the University of Georgia Press.

Gallant uses the bivalve as a jumping-off point to tell the story of a changing southeastern coast, the bounty within its waters, and what the future may hold for the area and its fishers. With A High Low Tide he places Georgia, as well as the South, in the national conversation about aquaculture, addressing its potential as well as its challenges.

Brett Anderson, a James Beard Foundation Award-winning restaurant critic and food writer, says of A High Low Tide, “A High Low Tide belongs on the short shelf of essential literature of the beguiling bivalve. It is also a modern story of the South’s eternal struggle to preserve its past—and how aquaculture, of all things, brought disparate people together to do just that.”

About the Author:

Gallant is an independent journalist whose writing has appeared in Oxford American, Gravy, Bitter Southerner, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Modern Farmer, Southern Cultures, Atlanta Magazine, and Civil Eats. He is the founding editor of Crop Stories, a literary journal exploring farm culture in the American South. He lives in Athens, Georgia.

Gallant_High Low TideMore about A High Low Tide:

Oysters are a narrative food: in each shuck and slurp, an eater tastes the place where the animal was raised. The Georgia oyster industry dominated in the field of oysters for canning until it was slowed by environmental and economic shifts. To build it back and to make the Georgia oyster competitive on the national stage, a bit of scientific cosmetic work must be done, performed through aquaculture. The business of oyster farming combines physical labor and science, creating an atmosphere where disparate groups must work together to ensure its future. Employing months of field research in coastal waters and countless hours interviewing scholars and fishermen, Gallant documents both the hiccups and the successes that occur when university researchers work alongside blue-collar laborers on a shared obsession.

The dawn of aquaculture in Georgia promises a sea change in the livelihoods of wild-harvest shellfishermen, should they choose to adapt to new methods. Gallant documents how these traditional harvesters are affected by innovation and uncertain tides and asks how threatened they really are.

Praise for A High Low Tide:

“Gallant’s ability to explain the biology/ecology of the Georgia seacoast oyster is remarkable for both its depth and understandability. Likewise, his introduction of a cast of strongly individualistic characters involved in this unique coastal culture is key to creating a rich and compelling story of place. Moreover, his descriptions of the physical power and beauty of the region create a fascinating world that is a pleasure for any reader to enter.”

—Ronni Lundy, James Beard Award–winning author of Victuals

More About the Sponsors:

The Book Lady Bookstore, located in the heart of Savannah’s Historic District at 6 East Liberty Street, has been Savannah’s only full-service used and new books bookstore since 1978, and is a frequent community partner with author events and fundraisers.

The UGA Skidaway Institute of Oceanography is a multidisciplinary research and training institution located on the north end of Skidaway Island near Savannah. The Institute’s primary goals are to further understanding of marine and environmental processes, conduct leading-edge research on coastal and marine systems, and train tomorrow’s scientists.

Coastal WildScapes is a 501 (c)(3) organization formed in 2008 to address the increasing need to educate and engage the public in practices that will preserve the biodiversity of the Georgia coast. The mission of Coastal WildScapes is to actively preserve and restore the highly significant biodiversity of Southeastern coastal ecosystems by protecting existing native habitats, rebuilding the connectivity of impaired habitats and minimizing the future fragmentation of the coastal landscape.

The UGA Willson Center for Humanities and Arts, founded in 1987, is a constituent of the Office of Research at the University of Georgia, and is a member of the Consortium of Humanities Centers and Institutes. The mission of the Willson Center is to promote research and creativity in the humanities and arts. It supports faculty through research grants, lectures, symposia, publications, visiting scholars, visiting artists, collaborative instruction, public conferences, exhibitions, and performances. It is committed to academic excellence and public impact.

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