Oyster Deliveries this year were the largest we have ever performed. Last year we had 322 oyster growers and this year we grew to include 386 growers. Those growers signed up to raise 1,022 cages of oyster spat. Our Program Coordinator, Kelsey Spiker, stepped down in August to pursue another passion, so we were sad to see her go and had to scramble to keep the Delivery scheduled as planned. We are proud to announce our new Program Coordinator, Julie Ashford. She did a phenomenal job of stepping up to the plate–without any prior knowledge of the program–and pulling off the Delivery Day in an extremely organized fashion. So, a big thank you and congratulations to Julie for tackling this monumental task. And, of course, a HUGE THANK YOU to all of our volunteers who showed up, once again, to help out on this important day. We would not be able to function without our volunteers and we are extremely grateful for all of your hard work and dedication to the Oyster Reef Recovery Initiative!

Delivery Day Recap in Julie’s Words:

“So, the day was amazing! More than 80 volunteers came and, even though we had more volunteers than the total number of routes to run, all of our volunteers happily pitched in. From the time the oysters were delivered by Wayne Wetzke of the Oyster Recovery Partnership until the last vehicle pulled out for deliveries, only one hour elapsed–that makes for record time getting cages and buckets of cages ready for delivery! Over the course of the day we ended up adding 5 new growers just from people seeing the activity at Easton Point or through meeting one of our volunteers along the delivery routes.

On Friday, Chris Judy of the MD DNR took me out on the boat to finish delivering oysters to growers along the Tred Avon. This allowed me to see part of the Eastern Shore that I don’t often get to see and meet some pretty wonderful people. I had so much fun learning about different nautical knots, what the spat looks like, and how the oysters grow. Being able to deliver oysters on my own on Saturday allowed me a little extra time to chat with some of our growers and answer any questions they had. I look forward to reversing the process in the spring and seeing how much our baby oysters have grown!”