ANNAPOLIS — Own waterfront property? Have a pier or a dock you access? Want to help rebuild the oyster population of Chesapeake Bay? Then consider being an oyster gardener.
Oyster gardening workshops are now being scheduled for those interested in raising oysters in cages. The Chesapeake Bay Foundation offers these workshops for all new oyster gardeners. Participants will get the supplies and training necessary to grow their own oysters.
Workshops last about two hours, during which time there will be lessons on oyster ecology, the importance of oysters to the Chesapeake Bay and how to care for the oyster garden. Class members will also construct four oyster gardening cages to grow the oysters.
Once the cages are finished, each registered participant will receive two bags (roughly one bushel, approximately 2,000 baby oysters) of oyster "spat on shell" to take home and care for over the fall, winter, and early spring months.
Once grown to adult size, gardeners will return their oysters to CBF for replanting onto a nearby sanctuary reef. The now hardy adult oysters will remain on the sanctuary where they can provide water quality and habitat benefits for the Chesapeake Bay.
All new oyster gardeners get the supplies and training necessary to grow their own oysters. Registration is required. The nearest session to the Lower Eastern Shore is at the Eastern Shore Conservation Center on Washington Street in Easton on Sunday, Oct. 17 from 10 a.m. to noon. There is a one-time fee of $50 to cover materials and oysters. To register visit the website.
For more information on water quality requirements and program specifics, please visit the Frequently Asked Questions page. For further questions and inquiries please contact our oyster gardening team at MDoystergardening@cbf.org.