Choctawhatchee Oyster Gardening
We are reviving the Choctawhatchee Oyster Gardening Program in hopes to enhance our oyster populations in Choctawhatchee Bay. Local citizen scientists and volunteers are welcomed to join our program and raise their own oyster gardens for restoration. With weekly maintenance amounting to one hour per week, it’s easy to add to your weekend morning routine. If you do not have your own dock, no need to worry. We also need oyster allies to help our monitoring team with data collection and garden maintenance for dock owners that may not have the ability to maintain their gardens as often as needed.
Our goal is to promote environmental awareness and facilitate hands-on learning for both our students and volunteers by restoring one acre of oyster habitat in Choctawhatchee Bay. Community stewards, students and CBA will construct two new oyster reefs eventually colonizing them with community-grown oysters.
Volunteers must sign up completeing the interactive volunteer form and contact one of the Program Coordinators.
Volunteers must be free of any Fish and Game violations within the past three years.
Volunteers must be able to lift 30 pounds.
Volunteers should be able to pick up (or arrange for pick up) cage and shells in July. Pick up locations will be at NWFSC South Walton Campus at 109 Greenway Trail, Santa Rosa Beach, FL 32459 during the month of June and July.
Volunteers should be able to spend roughly 60 minutes per week caring for their garden. A hose is helpful, but not required. Weekly maintenance involves washing away mud, algae and barnacles from gardens as well as removing predators such as blue crabs and oyster drills. Measuring is done on a monthly basis and should be submitted online.
Occasionally, CBA or AmeriCorps personnel associated with Oyster Gardening will make checks of garden sites to look at growth rates and take samples. Will you allow them to access your wharf to make these checks? Are you at the gardening location (or can make arrangements for the necessary maintenance) weekly from June through April?
Monitoring Data Form - Please follow the link provided to access the google form that will automatically upload your monitoring data to our CBA database.
Volunteer Hours Log - Please follow the link provided to access the google form that will automatically upload volunteer hours to our CBA database.