I’m Anjali Berdia Class of 2017 at Holton-Arms School, and this past summer I volunteered at CBF’s Oyster Restoration Center in Maryland. To help restore a diminished oyster population, CBF runs two Oyster Restoration Centers, one in Maryland and one in Virginia. These centers foster the oyster’s natural reproducing methods and then release new young oysters into the Chesapeake. Oysters help filter the Bay and their reefs create habitats for organisms, so their waning population a major problem.
I loved my experience at the center because the work is fun and the team is made up of interesting and amiable people. When I went, there were about five people working, everyone focused on a different part of the process. Dan, the team leader, was welcoming and he immediately paired me up with an intern to get started. First I got the gear, which included super-durable boots and a construction hat. I helped out by cleaning out some tanks, prepping them for the shells and then filling them up (the most difficult part of the day was trying to gracefully get in and out of the oyster tanks!). Once I was done with the work, the intern showed me around and explained the entire process to me. If you volunteer there, you can expect to generally help with the process: clean oyster shells, sort oyster shells, get oyster bins prepped, help distribute new oysters into the bay, and basically do anything and everything to make the process easier.
In the future I would like to bring my environmental club and a few people from my school, to show them firsthand the importance of oysters in the Chesapeake. The center is important because it brings a different idea to the restoration of the Chesapeake, the notion of saving the Bay through native organisms. Its innovative standpoint on the issue was the reason I decided to work there in the first place.
The Oyster Restoration Center in Maryland has a team of hardworking and passionate people. My day there was both physically and mentally rewarding; I ended up learning a lot about the Bay, and left with a feeling that I did something important. I would definitely recommend volunteering here to anyone looking to help out the Bay!
For more information about CBF's Oyster Restoration Centers and volunteering, visit www.cbf.org/oysters
-Anjali Berdia, Holton-Arms School
Photo by CBF Oyster Restoration Center