Matt's Point

A memorial for Matthew M. Oyler '05
Sandra Stetson Aquatic Center: Living Shoreline Restoration Project

Matt’s Point

The Sandra Stetson Aquatic Center (SSAC) on Lake Beresford is home to Stetson’s Institute for Water and Environmental Resilience (IWER) and our rowing team. Once restored through the project described below, the Matt’s Point peninsula will provide an ideal location for a memorial space for Matthew Oyler ’05, who was tragically killed by a drunk driver just seven months after he graduated from Stetson. Matt is remembered as an accomplished fisherman and athlete, a loving son, friend to all, and the nephew of Stetson University’s 10th president, Dr. Christopher Roellke.

Your contribution will help ensure that the "Matt's Point" project honors and celebrates Matt's memory while also demonstrating Stetson's leadership in the emerging green infrastructure field with a critical example of environmental stewardship needed in the 21st century.

The Need

The SSAC’s Lake Beresford shoreline is composed of a relict marina lagoon that was created through a dredge-and-fill operation in the late 1950s. This lagoon was originally constructed to provide a protected location for boat landings. Aerial photography dating to the 1950s shows that the breakwater peninsulas on the north and south side of the shoreline have been actively eroding since their original construction. Most of the shoreline is also characterized by undesirable invasive exotic and/or weedy plant species.

All of this creates detrimental ecological conditions, which degrade the habitat and water quality, and create hazards for Stetson's rowing team based at the Center.

The Solution

Stetson's IWER is partnering with local, state and federal environmental agencies to develop a living shoreline restoration project at the SSAC. This unique project will provide high-profile opportunities for Stetson students, faculty and alumni to engage with some of our region's leading environmental engineers, scientists and policy professionals who are at the forefront of the rapidly growing green infrastructure field. The world-class demonstration site will bring together the rich environmental history of Lake Beresford, highly innovative ecological engineering and design concepts, long-term aquatic science research opportunities, and a "win-win" partnership between Stetson's academic and athletic programming.

Matt's Point will be a best-practice demonstration site on how to protect and restore our precious freshwater shorelines by using native vegetation and other natural elements. Thank you in advance for your support!