Oyster Gardening

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Registration for this summer's seminars and roundups is now open.
Seminar Schedule |
Roundup Schedule

Did you know a single adult oyster can filter up to 50 gallons of water a day? Imagine how clear our waterways would be if we had more oysters! You can help us! By becoming an oyster gardener, you actually become a "foster parent" for a few hundred baby oysters. Plus it's a fun activity for all ages. Oysters are the easiest pets you'll ever own because everything they need to survive is in the water. Join a community of over 300 citizens in Virginia who are doing what they can to clean up the water.

What is it?

Oysters are the Chesapeake Bay's best natural filters. They also provide essential habitat for fish and other Bay creatures. Unfortunately today's oyster population is a small fraction of what it used to be. The Chesapeake Bay Foundation's Oyster Gardening Program gives citizens an opportunity to help bring back this vital species by growing oysters alongside their docks. Once grown, the adult oysters are returned to the Chesapeake Bay Foundation for planting on sanctuary reefs.

How is it done?

First time oyster gardeners are required to attend a short seminar in June to learn how to maintain their oyster garden over the coming year. At the end of the seminar, they will have the option to take home spat-on-shell oysters (baby oysters set on recycled shells) and two 18" x 10" cages to grow them in. Gardeners will grow and care for their oysters in the cages for about one year and will return the mature adult oysters to CBF at an Oyster Roundup the following June. All of the returned oysters are transplanted onto sanctuary (non-harvest) reefs in nearby waters. Each oyster gardener can then start over with a new batch of baby oysters to care for. 

Want to become an oyster gardener? Attend a new gardener seminar

Share Your Clean Water Story

What does the Bay, its rivers and streams mean to you? What impact have the Bay and its local waters had on your life? We'd like to know.

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Save the Bay

Founded in 1967, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) is the largest independent conservation organization dedicated solely to saving the Bay.

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