Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Oyster Gardening

I went on a New York City adventure last week… not to see a show, visit a gallery or buy new shoes… but to collect oysters! Cliff Schneider, Beczak’s Executive Director, and I took Metro-North, the 1 train, and the South Ferry to Governors Island to participate in the NY Oyster Gardening Project in collaboration with the NY/NJ Baykeeper.

Katie Mosher-Smith, the NY Oyster Program Coordinator, greeted us as we stepped off the ferry onto Governors Island. She explained how oysters are vital to the wellbeing of the Hudson River Estuary, and how Baykeeper is encouraging the restoration of this keystone species. She distributed our cages and gear. The oyster counting was left to us. Cliff and I reached into our bucket of 2-year-old oysters and counted groups of 50 until we reached our total number of 600 oysters. “It’s like carrying a five pound bag of pistachios,” said Cliff as he hefted the bivalves and the cage back on to the South Ferry.

Cliff and I made a lot of new friends on Manhattan’s streets and subways as we answered questions about what we were carrying. We finally made it back to Beczak and placed the oysters into the tidal tank to hold them overnight.

The oysters are now hanging off a piling in the Hudson River. Beczak’s education department will measure 50 of the oysters once a month for Baykeeper’s sample study, and submit the data to Katie. I’m excited to see how these oysters will flourish in our brackish water. Stop by and see how the oyster project is going!

Education Program Manager
Vicky Garufi