The Groton-Mystic Shell Recycling Program

Development of the Groton-Mystic Shell Recycling Program is a 2-year grant-funded project (2021-2023) funded by the Long Island Sound Futures Fund (LISFF). Dr. Baumann of UConn is collaborating with the Town of Groton, Connecticut Department of Agriculture Bureau of Aquaculture (DABA), and the Connecticut Sea Grant (CTSG). This project aims to create a plan for the recycling of oyster and clam shells that are generated by restaurants in Groton. The program will follow the guidelines set forth by DABA. While working on the plan, we also communicate the significance of shell recycling in supporting oyster habitat restoration. We are reaching out to diverse audiences, such as the general public or K-12 students. For example, we participated in the 2022 Women in Marine Science Day at the Mystic Aquarium, where kids were invited to build their oyster reef using dry shells and crocheted oysters. We also visited the 5th graders at Catherine Kolnaski Magnet Elementary School in Groton, where students learned about the oyster life cycle and other facts. To help spread the word about our initiative, we collaborated with Thomas Rettig and Elaina Hancock from UConn Communications Department on a short video – you can access it on Youtube or just use this link here. As it is the case with anything new, the progress is slow, but we are learning a lot. We are recording the lessons learned. – We presented the progress of our shell recycling development during the most recent Milford Aquaculture Seminar, which took place in January 2023 in Shelton, CT. We also keep in touch with the local community in Groton communicating progress through the Baker Cove Watershed Committee. Our next update about the status of the planned shell recycling will be provided during the upcoming Coastal Perspectives Lecture, which will be held in the Auditorium of the Avery Point Campus of UConn (join in person or tune in online on April 4th, 2023, at 7:30 pm).

Check out MyShell, our crocheted oyster mascot. Designed and created by Irena Kosior-Turek, a brilliant artist from Szczecin, Poland.

p.s. Do you live in Connecticut and want to set up your own shell recycling program? Contact the State Shell Recycling Coordinator Michael Gilman