Our first-ever Oyster Social was held June 21st at The Tidewater in Easton, MD. This event was held to celebrate and discuss our successes and experiences from the 2011-2012 growing season. We were joined by our oyster growers, some of their friends/neighbors who were interested in the initiative, past attendees from our Oyster Workshops, as well as representatives from both Phillips Wharf Environmental Center/Tilghman Islanders Grow Oysters (PWEC/TIGO) and Maryland’s Department of Natural Resources(DNR).
The evening began with an hour of socializing, cocktails and hors d’oeuvres for the guests. Kelley Cox and Carol McCollough from PWEC had a display of an actual Marylanders Grow Oysters (MGO) cage with live oysters and information about PWEC/TIGO and what they do for our community. After the first hour, the guests were invited to take a seat as Scott introduced our Oysters for the Bay website. Following the website debut, Chris Judy, the Director of DNR’s Shellfish Restoration Program, enthusiastically shared MGO’s history, operation and growth over the years. Following Chris’ informative presentation, the floor was opened to the guests for questions. At the end of the Q&A, we invited all of the participants from past and present as well as those who would be first time growers, to sign up for the 2012-2013 growing season.When the night was over and everything was packed up to be taken back to the office, we stopped to check to see how many cages had been requested. Fifty-six! We are already signed up to put 56 cages of spat in the water later this summer. We haven’t even held our annual workshops, nor have we had an opportunity to contact past participants who weren’t able to attend the social to sign up. We are already close to doubling the number of cages we did last year!!!
It would be an understatement to say that the Oyster Social was wildly successful. We are so grateful for all of our wonderful participants and their dedication to helping to restore the Chesapeake Bay. We couldn’t do it without you and your docks. For those who came out to the event, thank you! And to those who weren’t able to attend, we hope you can make it next year!
We are making a difference together, one oyster at a time.