Monday, August 19, 2013

CBF Oyster gardening workshop

Had a great time attending the Chesapeake Bay Foundation's oyster gardening workshop this past Thursday. The one I went to was being done at Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS) at Gloucester point. It cost $30.00 to sign up and with that you get a bag of thousand seed oysters.  I was amazed by how small of a bag a 1000 osyter seeds was.

Here is a picture i found on the web for reference:



The class was taught in a classroom style setting and was very infomative. CBF went over the importnace of Oysters to the Chesapeake, the reasons behind our drastic decline in population, the filtering power of the oyster, their life cycle, optimum growing habitat conditions, and alot of other useful info. They also brought floats and bags that you could purchase at cost to make your own float for raising oysters. A truck full to be exact:


 
 
Never having been to VIMS before, i went a few minutes early to make sure i wasn't that guy that walked in after they had started. I found the place with time to spare so I took a minute to look around. It is a pretty cool place if you live close by to take your children on a little learning lesson. While its not a huge display, they do have some neat stuff and it is ALL Chesapeake Bay related.  Took a few pictures with my phone so they are not the best but you get the idea.


They even have a few tanks with croaker, horseshoe crabs, drum, spadefish, tautogs, sheepshead, and a few other local fish as well. I enjoyed watching drum sift through the sand looking for leftovers while the spades frolicked in a school with what looked like a game of Follow the Leader or Tag until it was time for the class to start.





I recommend anyone that has access to a dock or live on the water to take a look at the CBF and VIMS programs. . All the oyster raised are brought back the following year and added to Oyster Sanctuaries so its a fun project and helping do your part to clean up our waterways.There are so many ways to give back to the bay and most require very little time from raising sub-aquatic grass to cultivating oysters and Clean the Bay trash pickup days.

Here is the link for the CBF Oyster Growing classses available around the state:

http://www.cbf.org/how-we-save-the-bay/programs-initiatives/eastern-shore-maryland/oyster-gardening-program/new-oyster-gardeners

For more information on VIMS follow this link to their page as well:

http://www.vims.edu/


SOME QUICK OYSTER FACTS:

  • An adult oyster filters and cleans up to 50 gallons of water per day gobbling up algae, and removing dirt and nitrogen pollution

  • Today, less than 1% of the original 17th century population (when the original colonists arrived) is thought to remain in the Chesapeake Bay

  • The Chespeake Bay was once as clean as the Carribean when John Smith arrived due to teh filtering power of the Eastern Oyster.