Cornell Cooperative Extension of Suffolk County (CCE) will fête SPAT (Suffolk Project in Aquaculture Training) members during the annual SPAT Family Picnic taking place at Founder’s Landing Park in Southold on Saturday, September 14.
“The SPAT Picnic is an annual tradition exclusively for current Cornell Cooperative Extension Marine Program SPAT members who are part of our oyster growing community,” Kimberly Barbour, Cornell Cooperative Extension Marine Program Outreach Manager, explained.
“Spat,” miniscule larvae that navigate the waters until they encounter a permanent structure to attach to, is the tiniest form of shellfish. Cornell Cooperative Extension Marine Program established its SPAT program to champion East Enders to become stewards of our local waters and help restore shellfish to the bays. Participants assist the Marine Program produce shellfish to seed the bays by growing tiny, tiny shellfish (oyster, Crassostrea virginica) – in containment in either their own waterfront or SPAT community gardens. The shellfish are safeguarded until they reach an adult size when they release their spawn into local waters and stimulate wild settlement. An adult oyster can filter up to 50 gallons of water on a daily basis. SPAT presents monthly workshops and also supplies the shellfish seed and necessary tools and supplies. More than 1,000 volunteers have taken part in the program.
The SPAT Family Picnic is a ‘pot luck’ gathering, and attendees are asked to bring their favorite entree, appetizer, side dish or dessert. There will also be a raw bar, jazz band, and soft drinks, as well as Blue Point Brewing Co. beer. Party-goers may also bring their own beer and wine.
“It’s a great celebration that we hold at the end of every summer to bring together all of the great volunteers and participants that dedicate their time to growing shellfish to bolster local populations and help improve water quality,” Barbour added.
Tickets are limited to five per current 2019 SPAT member. Admission is $10, $5 for children ages 6 to 12, and free for children under 5-years-old. The SPAT Family Picnic will take place from 1 to 5 p.m.
Founder’s Landing Park is located at 725 Terry Lane in Southold. For more information on the SPAT Program, visit ccesuffolk.org. For tickets, visit ww.eventbrite.com.