I grew up on Cape Cod and have been a lover of the sea for as long as I can remember. I spent most of my adult life living in New England, but moved to New Jersey in 2008 and started working at PSEG eight years ago. While living in New Jersey, my family has always taken regular, almost daily trips to Sandy Hook and that is how I learned about the American Littoral Society . The American Littoral Society promotes the study and conservation of marine life and habitat, protects the coast from harm and empowers others to do the same.
I quickly became a regular financial supporter of the American Littoral Society and attended fundraising events where I found out that they were looking for oyster wranglers to help with Operation Oyster 2019. Operation Oyster is an effort to grow oysters using natural materials that will be deployed to continue to help filter the water and, as a result, improve community resiliency and ecosystem services.
I was assigned to two private docks on the Navesink River in Monmouth County for the entire summer where I monitored spat, or baby oysters, on whelk shells tied to mats and reported back on how they were growing. Although some of the spat never grew, all the data we collected were important indicators of the health of the water and habitat restoration.
It is one thing to write a check to contribute with donations, but another to be able to get your hands dirty and help with the work being done in the community … and oyster wrangling can be dirty! Volunteering has always been important to me, as it gives my life a greater sense of purpose. I have always had such a deep love of the ocean and waterways, so being able to work with an organization focused on conservation of the water and marine life has been amazing. Operation Oyster was such a great learning experience, and I am excited to participate again next year.