Frank Quevedo, Executive Director of the South Fork Natural History Museum (SoFo), is pleased to pass along that the not-for-profit 501(c)(3) Museum and Nature Center, whose mission is to “stimulate interest in, advance knowledge of, and foster appreciation for the natural environment, with special emphasis on the unique natural history of Long Island’s South Fork, and is dedicated to promoting nature education in the museum and in the field through hands-on study of the South Fork’s native flora, fauna, and ecosystems” is among the sponsors of a reception to be held at Bay Kitchen Bar, 39 Gann Road, in East Hampton on Sunday, May 27, from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. in support of the East Hampton Shellfish Education and Enhancement Directive (EHSEED).
Beer, wine, hors d’ouevres and oysters on the half shell, along with other light fare, will be served and a tour of the nearby nursery will be available. Other sponsors include Channing Daughters Winery, Greenport Harbor Brewing Co. and Veterinarians International.
According to the EHSEED website, their programs support the oyster garden initiative to educate the community about the importance of oysters to our ecosystem and as a sustainable food source. Formed by “a group of eco-conscious South Fork residents to collaborate and expand shellfish education and enhancement programs in East Hampton town waters, the growing community cooperative, or oyster gardening program” was established in 2016 in response to the threatened ecosystem that is part of the vital Peconic Estuary system by linking with the successful East Hampton Town Shellfish Hatchery (EHSH).
The program is “anchored by the scientific and educational expertise of the EHSH which spawns, rears and disseminates upwards of 15 million shellfish annually to East Hampton waters; monitors catches/recruitment to determine effectiveness of seeding; improves seed, larval and juvenile shellfish survival in the wild through grants and other funding sources; improves culture techniques in the hatchery and collaborates with educational institutions, including Cornell and Stony Brook Universities.”
“Since the Town of East Hampton opened the EHSH in the 1980’s in order to replenish shellfish stocks, and in 2006 began conducting a series of shellfish culture workshops to meet interest and demand for shellfish education whereby locals and visitors toured the facility as a part of a hands-on five part educational program, the oyster gardening program evolved into the next steps in both shellfish education and enhancement.” The EHSEED program is a natural step in the “evolution of public shellfish education and enhancement.”
Further, “Similar programs have been offered in other areas of eastern Long Island. On the North Fork, Suffolk Projects in Aquaculture Training (SPAT), part of Cornell Cooperative Extension, has operated successfully since 2002 and now has over 100 members. The Shinnecock Restoration Project (ShiRP) in Southampton Town is partnering with Stony Brook University’s School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences (SoMAS) to reseed the bay as part of their ongoing water quality research, and in May 2015 a Save the Bay shellfish restoration project was launched in Moriches Bay when 50,000 oysters were seeded.”
How does it work? “The start-up and growth phases are financed by a combination of individual and family memberships in the project. The EHSH staff implements the educational program and provides training. Lectures and workshop offerings take place at the EHSH’s facilities in Montauk and Springs, and SoFo provides a meeting venue and enhances awareness and membership in the program by disseminating information to its membership. Veterinarians International, a non-profit organization committed to enhancing the health of humans, animals and the environment, promotes the project to its affiliates and local residents.” There are membership costs involved to participate in the programs.
For more information on SoFo and EHSEED call 631-537-9735 or visit sofo.org.