Last year the oyster spat on shell and cages arrived in a box truck. This year the cargo was carried on a tractor trailer! If that doesn’t convey the magnitude of our program’s growth, then how about going from 33 growers last year to 84 growers this year. Or from delivering 106 cages last year to over 300 cages this year! It is amazing how many community-minded folks have taken to the cause of restoring oyster populations in the Chesapeake Bay.

To help with assembling cages for the big delivery day, we owe much thanks to our volunteers: John Bayliss, Bob Barton, John Prahl, Carl Doll, Norm Franck, Mike Payne, Mark Gross, Ed Boyer, Bill Hughes, Bob Lucas, Gordo Reyes-Seber, as well as Bertha Bryan, Kim White, Scott Eglseder, Jenika Downs and Kelsey Harned from Eglseder Wealth Management Group, Inc. Perdue Farms sent over 15 volunteers to help as well, and they were instrumental in getting all those cages filled and ready to go.

Also in attendance was Paul Polizzotto, founder of EcoMedia, a CBS company, and his crew. EcoMedia was founded on the principal of environmentally and socially conscious media and aims to “harness the power of advertising and channel it into tangible social change.” The EcoMedia team filmed volunteers as they filled cages with spat on shell and will use footage for a documentary they are working on. We would also like to thank the EcoMedia team for helping assemble the cages.

Stephan Able, Executive Director of the Oyster Recovery Partnership (ORP) came to show his support and got his hands dirty along with Chris Judy from the Marylanders Grow Oysters Program and Tommy Price, also from the ORP.

The 2013 Delivery Day was the biggest undertaking we have accomplished here at the ORRI, and it was all orchestrated and facilitated by Kelsey Harned. Without her hard work and dedication it wouldn’t have been possible.

Thank you again to all of our growers who signed up to be oyster gardeners this year. We commend you for caring enough about the health of the Bay to participate in our program. We look forward to all those healthy oysters you are growing and can’t wait to pick them up next Spring and transplant them onto the state sponsored oyster reefs. Little by little, we ARE making a difference in rehabilitating the ecosystem of our Bay!

Pictures from the day’s deliveries…