Students from Booker Elementary School arrived at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia to plant oysters June 3, 2019.

In a continuing initiative to help clean the Chesapeake Bay, the school partnered with JBLE to build an oyster reef on base in June 2017, and have been adding new oysters every year.

“We are planting them for oyster restoration,” said Karen Brace, Booker Elementary School science teacher. “The point is to hopefully increase the oyster population in the Chesapeake Bay and restore it to where it once was.”

One adult oyster can filter up to 50 gallons of water per day. In their former glory, the oysters in the bay could filter the entire bay, about 19 trillion gallons of water, in one week. Now, it would take the remaining oysters more than a year.

The Chesapeake Bay Foundation guided the school through much of the reef-building process and provides baby oysters, also known as spats, for them.

The students involved learn the role of the oysters in the ecosystem as well as the impact and importance of water quality.

“JBLE provides us a place to grow the oysters and bring the students to gain this experience,” Brace said. “It’s also very close to our school so the kids can connect [the experience] to where we live.”

Through this endeavor, the student monitor the oysters’ growth. Brace picks the cage up every month and brings it back to the school where the students measure the oysters and document the progression on charts.

“Our partnership with Booker Elementary School supports students in developing scientific reasoning and empowering them to use their skills and abilities to improve the environment around them,” said Dawn Christian, 633rd Civil Engineer Squadron water program manager. “We see the environment impacted all the time by human activity. Understanding their interactions with the environment will shape the way students think about their environment, ultimately, making it better.”

Stories should only end with quotes if they’re super impactful. Something that packs a bunch or something you’ve never heard before that leaves you with a lasting information. This quote is good, but it’s just informational so not strong enough to close the story out.

Individuals who wish to participate in future oyster growing at JBLE can sign up for a training opportunity scheduled for June 27 at Ft. Monroe. Details are provided here:

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